NBA players are now prohibited from holding an ownership stake in a player-management firm or from acting as National Basketball Players Association-certified agents under a provision in the league’s new collective-bargaining agreement.
The provision was something NBA owners asked for and players agreed to as one of the so-called B-list items, terms that were collectively bargained after the NBPA re-formed as a union, according to a union source.
This is very directly aimed at LeBron James and his marketing arm LRMR, the marketing firm he and his buddies founded, which last year merged with the Fenway Sports Group. Neither LRMR nor Fenway represent any players in terms of negotiations — they are marketing arms, not agents — but that line is kind of blurred for players now (agents help set up marketing deals all the time) so the owners decided to try and rein it in.
And we have a “LeBron James rule” that tries to limit players power and potential income, something that comes at the request of the owners. Sounds about right.
NBA league offices, union to meet Friday to seal deal
For once, there is no reason to dread the NBA owners and players getting together for a negotiation.
Friday in New York the two sides will sit down to hammer out the details remaining on a labor deal that is expected to be finished and presented to both the owners and players for separate votes next Thursday, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. If approved as expected by those votes, training camps would open the next day, Dec. 9.
The now reconstituted union and league have a lot of “B-list” issues to hammer out, such as details on drug testing, D-League assigments and the authority of David Stern to discipline players, among a host of other smaller issues. None of these are considered deal breakers and both sides will horse trade a little on these to get a deal done. That said, it’s a long list and could be a long day.
Maybe the biggest issue is NBA draft age, but that is not one that will be resolved Friday. This year’s draft will remain as-is (meaning age 19 and up, allowing for one-and-dones) and it likely will be that way for a couple years. The two sides will form a committee to study how to deal with it going forward. The owners would like it to be higher, the players say it should be age 18, and a host of options will be considered including one where guys can enter the draft but if they are not chosen they have to spend two or three years in college. Smart money says when all is said and done it remains at age 19.
The good news is there is almost no chance that Billy Hunter storms out of the room and the two sides hold separate press conferences to say the deal is off. The issues are not worth it any more, they figured out the money and other big ones. But don’t worry, the lawyers are still getting paid a lot of money for the next week or so to finalize this (I know you were concerned about them).
It’s official — there is an NBA players’ union again
The union dissolved as the players’ negotiating body Nov. 14 when it filed a disclaimer of interest. The union needed to reform to negotiate the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. (What David Stern and Billy Hunter agreed to as a framework of the deal was technically the settlement of the antitrust lawsuits players filed against the league.)
The unionized players are expected to ratify the new CBA next week, in time for training camps to open Dec. 9.
There can be no basketball until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is approved and in place, and there can be no CBA vote until the NBA union is reformed (remember the “disclaimer of interest”), and that can’t happen until the antitrust lawsuits against the league are settled.
Well, we’ve got the first domino to fall — an agreement to settle the lawsuits was reached Tuesday night, reports Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. The players are already getting cards to vote to reform the union, which will come soon.
After that, the union needs to get 260 signatures to reform the union, something they expect by Thursday, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
The formal vote on the CBA by the players is expected next week, in times for training camps to open on Friday as planned. Basically the dismissal of the lawsuits is tied to all of this, but the settlement had to come first.
I know what you said when you woke up this morning: I wish some Taiwanese animators would explain the lockout to me in a minute and a half.
Well, here you go. This is a pretty spot on breakdown — small market owners were struggling to make money during the recession and they got everything they claimed to have lost out of the players. The owners win. Although be fair, they didn’t really chainsaw anybody like happens in this video. And like only half of them went to a strip club to celebrate their win.