Tag: NBA hard salary cap

Dallas Mavericks Victory Parade

Don’t think for a second owners’ latest offer is what fans want


Let’s be honest about what you really like — trades and teams full of stars.

You like seeing basketball, too, which makes the new offer from NBA owners appealing to fans. Because it means 72 games and a full playoffs, basically a normal season. I want to see it in place for the same reasons.

You may get it (not that we have any say) but know that the owners offer — the parts the players are opposing of it particularly — goes against what fans have shown they want.

The owners have preached “competitive balance” and sold it sort of like the NFL’s parity. The NBA is never going to have the parity of the NFL (because the stars of the NBA control the game much more and are so much better than their peers). But that’s not really what is at the heart of all this. Small market owners watched LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony control the process, take all the power and force their way where they wanted to be. The owners want that power back.

I know what is coming in the comments — you say you want that, too. You’ll say that you want Grizzlies to be able to compete with the Lakers every year. You say you don’t want the Knicks to make all the big trades. You’ll say you want sanity in the system.

The numbers tell a different story. The numbers being every measure of fan interest we can find, whether it is television ratings or Internet traffic or ticket sales.

You love trades and free agency — there is a reason traffic on this and every other NBA web site peaks in July, not during the finals but during free agency. You love rumors. Love them. You love to read about and talk player movement. We all love to play armchair GM. There is a huge traffic and interest boost in February as the trading deadline nears for the same reason.

This new deal from the owners is designed to restrict the kind of big trades you clearly want to see (hence more restrictions on tax spending teams). Sure, there will be plenty of smaller trades and we can get excited about Sasha Vujacic getting moved for cash considerations. But the small market owners want to keep their stars. Those are the guys that sell tickets and bring in sponsors and boost local television ratings and they don’t want them all going to New York and Los Angeles and Miami.

Thing is, you love teams loaded with stars. You may say you hate the Miami Heat, but you watched them and bought their gear in record numbers. Ratings were up last season and the Heat and Knicks were the primary reasons. When you talk about the golden age of the NBA, you talk about the Jordan era when the Bulls dominated the league, or the 1980s when the Lakers or Celtics won eight out of nine titles. That’s when the ratings were highest.

What’s frustrating about the lockout is they figured out the money part of the lockout, mostly. That was supposed to be the hard part of getting a new NBA labor deal, but the players have gone all the way back to a 50/50 split of revenue, giving enough money back to cover what the owners said they lost (even if we don’t buy their math).

We’ll see what happens with the offer the owners made. We may get our wish and get basketball. But know that while David Stern and Adam Silver are selling this deal as good for the fans, it really isn’t. It’s just very good for the owners.

Details of owners’ latest offer emerge, just last offer tweaked

David Stern, Adam Silver

The real question is how the sides are going to handle it if — more likely when — the players reject the latest offer from David Stern and the owners.

We are starting to learn more about that offer, and basically it is minor changes from the offer the players rejected last weekend. It doesn’t sound like the players have any interest in accepting this one either, although if they think this is the best offer they are going to get it may change their minds.

Here is what we know.

• It calls for a 50/50 split of basketball related income. Technically it is the 49 percent to 51 percent band in place in the last owners offer. But the reality of how that band is structured is that the split is 50/50 with little variation.

• Teams paying the luxury tax would be able to use a “mini mid-level” of $3 million for three years (up from two years at $2.5), according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.

• There would be a sign-and-trade deal for teams paying the luxury tax, but it is restrictive (it was banned totally in the last league offer), Berger reports.

• There would be a salary floor for teams at 85 percent of the salary cap number, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

• The players would be able to opt out of the labor deal after six seasons, although it would be a 10-year deal.

Interestingly, the players are not going to get together and discuss this until Monday. That gives a full weekend for players and agents on both sides to try and rally support among the team representatives before the meeting. It gives time to Fisher to decide how he wants to sell the ideas to the reps.

What ultimately matters most is how both sides react when the players reject this offer next week. But now we’re starting to know what they are turning down.

Players, agents may begin union decertification Friday

NBPA Representatives Meet To Discuss NBA Lockout

They have the signatures. A band of agents has had the more than 130 signatures needed from players to request the decertification of the union for most of this week, but they sat on it out of respect for the ongoing negotiations.

After watching the outcome of another round of talks, those agents and players are ready to start the process to disband the union and take the entire NBA labor negotiations into the courtroom (by filing anti-trust lawsuits). It was expected, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo tweeted it (and it has been confirmed by others since).

Several agents tell Y! Sports they have 200-plus player signatures for union decertification petition and paperwork could be filed Friday.

This is fine with union director Billy Hunter and the rest of the union leadership.

Even if the group files the petition to decertify the union with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday (essentially trying to displace Hunter), it will take likely at least 45 days (meaning after Christmas) before there is a vote to actually decertify the union. And it could be a few weeks later than that. Which means there is time to negotiate. The union actually had started this process in 1995 but signed a new deal before it ever came to a vote, and that would be the likely scenario again.

The petition would give the union some leverage they could try to bring into the negotiating room — and try to force David Stern and the owners to negotiate more and not just use their “reset” proposal. Although, frankly, the threat is fairly empty. To get a legal ruling that could go against the owners (it’s a crapshoot) would mean the loss of a couple NBA seasons and at least $4 billion in players salaries, not to mention another estimated $100 million or so in attorney’s fees. You really think that is a fight the players want to push to the end?

But the uncertainty it creates is seen as leverage. And right now, as players feel they are getting the losing end of this deal, they will do just about anything for leverage.

Stern gives players new ultimatum offer for 72-game season

CORRECTED VERSION - NBA And Player's Association Meet To Negotiate CBA

One week later, after nearly 23 hours of talks over two days, we are back almost in the same place we were last weekend, save that the consequences seem more dire.

Thursday night David Stern and the owners presented a new take-it-or-leave-it proposal to the union (the details of which we have few of yet but is similar to where the owners thought talks stood late Thursday). That proposal, if accepted early next week, would make for a 72-game NBA season starting Dec. 15.

Union president Derek Fisher said the union would take the weekend to look at the proposal, consult with the 30 team representatives and then give a response.

And that’s where things get scary.

Stern said this is it, turn down this offer and the owners will pull out their “reset” proposal of 47 percent of the revenue to the players and a hard salary cap. And although he said the same thing last weekend, this time he said he means it:

“If this offer is not accepted, then we will revert to our 47 percent proposal…” Stern said after the meetings broke off. “We’ve made our revised proposal and we’re not going to make another one “

Fisher sounded like a guy who wanted to use this offer as a jumping off point for more talks, which is what happened with last week’s ultimatum.

“At this point we’ve decided to take a step back, we’ll confer with our executive committee…,” Fisher said. “We still would like to continue to negotiate and try to get a deal done but right now, it’s not that time.”

Union director Billy Hunter said there are six or seven key issues to be resolved but another 30 or so “B-list” issues to be discussed yet. Those B-listers things like the age limit for the draft among others that will not hold up a deal but still need to be worked out.

What are the issues that the union doesn’t like? Here are a few we know of, but they all basically revolve around the league trying to rein in big-market teams from spending into the luxury tax (which last season was set at $70 million):

• Saying tax-paying teams cannot use the full $5 million mid-level exception, instead giving them a “mini” mid-level exception at $2.5 million.

• Having more restrictive trade rules for teams paying the tax so they cannot bring in more salary.

• Increasing the tax levels for teams that are in the tax three out of five years. (The players had agreed to lesser increases and only on the first $10 million over the tax, the owners want something more punitive.)

• Saying tax-paying teams cannot use a sign-and-trade to bring in a new player (this has happened five times in the last six years in the NBA, the most significant one was Shawn Marion to the Mavs, no sure why this is a sticking point).

• Hitting teams that pay the tax more than three times in any five-season span with a harsh set of extra penalties.

One development that came up over the night was players chiming in not happy with where the offers stood, as if some were finally realizing how much they were giving up from the old deal. There are still plenty that would approve Sterns offer to get back on the court.

Stern said he thought it was a fair offer.

“We don’t expect them to like every aspect of our revised proposal, there are many teams that do not like every aspect of the revised proposal,” Stern said.

It doesn’t look promising, yet deals neither side likes usually is where compromise is found. If you look for them, there are some signs of optimism. Take this quote from union director Billy Hunter

“It’s been a long haul man, but we’re near the end of it. We want to get this thing done,” Hunter said.


Report: If no deal by end of Friday, things could get really ugly


NBA owners and players are back at it, more than four hours into a Thursday meeting (as of this writing) following a 12-hour session on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the deadline day of David Stern’s “reset” offer — one that would almost certainly kill the season if the owners really stuck with it — but he said after the talks ended Wednesday that due to progress “we’ve stopped the clock

It may start again Friday, reports the USA Today.

Progress must continue to be made Thursday so that the sides can end by saying they are confident of being able to bring an offer to the respective memberships — owners and players — by close of business Friday, said a person familiar with negotiations who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to go public.

If that does not happen, Stern will announce the owners’ offer has dropped to the 53-47 split and a hard salary cap — and that likely would trigger a domino effect that could end any chance for a season.

Some players and agents are sitting on the sideline right now with the signatures to start the process to decertify the union. If Stern goes to his reset offer, the players will start to try to decertify.

Through all that, the players will do their best JFK impression and ignore Stern’s new offer and deadline and keep negotiating. We’ll see then how the owners react to that.

But it comes down to this — if there is not a handshake deal by the end of business Friday things are going to get very ugly. Much worse than they have been. And they haven’t been good.