David Stern’s NBA deadline passes… and they are still talking


David Stern threw down an ultimatum last Saturday night (early Sunday morning, actually) — accept our deal by 5 p.m. Wednesday or we are going to replace it with a deal so bad for players we might as well cancel the season. Okay, he didn’t say anything about canceling the season, but he might as well have.

Well the deadline has come and gone…. and nothing.

The owners and players are still negotiating in New York through the deadline. They had met for more than four hours Wednesday as of this writing.  The reality is the deadline was artificial anyway, so long as the sides are talking and making some progress they will keep going at it. Consider it the Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett theory — It’s 5 O’ clock Somewhere.

If the talks blow up again maybe Stern will pull the current offer and put off the rollback offer out there, but for now nothing.

For now, we wait.

The players rejected the owners offer as is saying they would consider a 50/50 basketball related income split so long as the owners gave more on system issues such as the mid-level exception and luxury tax issues. Stern can make some tweaks to the offer, but not big ones.

We sit and wait to see if that is enough.

Whip count: Which owners are good with 50/50 deal?

Dan Gilbert
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We’ve heard for a couple days that the owners remain a divided group — if the players accepted David Stern’s offer (which they did not, but the sides are talking again) the owners vote would be 16-13 in favor of the deal. (There are 29 owners because the league had to buy back the Hornets.) Whatever the case, the ball is in the owners’ court and they will decide if there is a season now.

So which owners are where.

Bill Simmons — he of Grantland and ESPN — tweeted out the list of 13 nos as he heard it (thanks to Eye on Basketball for noticing):

Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Indiana, Memphis, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Utah, and Washington.

For you scoring at home, that makes your 16 franchises in support of the deal:

Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Dallas, Golden State, Houston, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey, New York, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio and Toronto.

A few quick thoughts:

• Yes, that means Dan Gilbert and Robert Sarver — the Cleveland and Phoenix owners respectively — have changed from hardliners to guys who want to see some hoops. We’d heard in recent days they might not be the hardliners we all thought, it appears they have seen the light.

• New Orleans, owned by the league, would vote with whatever Stern wants. With the majority.

• These lines are not hard and fast. For example, OKC is listed as a no but Royce Young of Daily Thunder said he has heard the Thunder will “go with the flow” because they are concerned that the lockout is damaging a new, young fanbase in a city known as football country, not basketball country.

• Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty asks a good question: Would the Maloof brothers vote against Stern? These are owners trying to hold on to the team in a very tough spot. As Ziller tweeted:

There is no chance that the Maloofs vote to oppose Stern right now. He is the only friend they have in the league.

Report: Stern has authority to “tweak” owners’ offer

David Stern, Adam Silver
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Apparently there is some wiggle room. It’s not going to be much, the question is will it be enough?

Tuesday the players rejected the owners take-it-or-leave it offer saying they wanted more talks and some changes on system issues.

NBA Commissioner David Stern can make some minor tweaks to the owners offer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

“There can be a few things tweaked along the edges, the periphery and this can be agreed upon,” one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m confident that would not be an issue if [Stern] did that.”

“It will be a very slight budge,” one high-ranking management source said.

The players have come down to a 50/50 revenue split if they get the system they want, kicking back more per season than the $300 million the owners claim to have lost last year. But as a trade-off, the players want more freedom of movement and a system more like what the league has had for more than a decade. Small market owners — your hardliners — have been pushing for a system that would rein in big-spending teams.

They are going to sit down and they are going to talk. We’ll see if it’s enough, or if it is Armageddon.

Winderman: Shorter CBA length could be key to labor deal

NBA Labor Basketball

The owners insist they only grudgingly are offering this deal that comes with an expiration hour.

The players are saying they are willing to work with the proposed revenue split, as long as a few remaining system issues are addressed.

In other words, neither side finds the currently proposal in place particularly palatable.

So why not do what the rest of the country, or for that matter, the world is doing at this stage, live through the tough times with hopes of better days ahead?

The NBA lockout solution from this precinct:

A shorter deal, one where the two sides can see how the proposed terms work, but one in which players who have one more contract in them still might yet get to experience greater riches.

This started with a 10-year proposal by the NBA. Then we got down to the six-, seven-year range.

The league, of course, wants terms locked in before securing new broadcast riches.

But look at it from the other side, from the owners who are crying poverty. With a shorter deal, they would be able to judge whether the terms meet their revenue needs, or, frankly, whether even more is needed. (Or whether they should get out.)

Similarly, from a union standpoint, a shorter deal would afford the players time for the next time around, but not too far down the line, to better prepare for potential decertification, be in a position to spring it at the expiration of the next collective-bargaining agreement, instead of four months into the process.

The reality is that with so many star players locked into long-term deals, the Big Three with the Heat, Carmelo and Amare with the Knicks, even Kobe and Gasol with the Lakers, this competitive-balance thing isn’t going to change overnight, anyway.

But with a shorter CBA, the owners (and union) can see if the new work rules would take the league in that direction of greater balance without corrupting television ratings.

Beyond that, since the rookie scale calls for a four-year lock-in, this year’s rookie class, one not even eligible to vote on a new CBA, would not be locked long-term into the potentially onerous provisions of the current proposal.

For weeks now, David Stern and Billy Hunter have stressed it is time to get back to work, to make a deal.

By shortening the length of a proposed new CBA, the two sides could find it more palatable to do just that.

The hard-line owners? They never will be happy. That’s what Stern is there for.

The decertification-minded agents? They certainly will grouse about four or five years of uncertainty. Enter Hunter.

This lockout has been neither short nor sweet.

But a shorter CBA length could remove some of the sour taste for all involved.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

NBA owners, players to meet Wednesday afternoon

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA

You knew — or at least hoped — the two sides would sit down one more time and talk before David Stern’s self-imposed deadline.

We’ll see if it does any good, but the two sides will meet around 1 p.m. Eastern in New York according to multiple reports (ESPN’s Chris Broussard broke it).

The league is working on getting some owners to fly in for the meeting, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo.

Heading into the meeting the owners have put an ultimatum on the table, a take-it-or-leave-it offer that Tuesday the players said they would leave. The players want a few more tweaks to the system side and they would meet the owners at a 50/50 split of revenues (which is not really 50/50 because the owners take $600 million plus off the top, but we’ll let that go for now).

The ball is in the owners’ court. They can give a little more on system issues and allow a little more player movement and room for teams that want to spend to spend, or they can scuttle these talks and try their rollback offer that will almost certainly cost the entire season if they stick to it. It’s time to make a deal.

We’ll see if it happens, but at least they are talking.