Tag: NBA lockout

David Stern, Adam Silver

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


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.


If they do get a deal, how many NBA games will there be?

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From the day that we see Billy Hunter and David Stern shake hands, it’s going to take at least 30 days to get the NBA regular season started. Which means solve it soon and we can still have hoops on Christmas.

But how many games in the regular season would we see?

The NBA will condense the schedule, they will shrink the playoffs, they will go later — although due to the Team USA Olympic training camp scheduled for a July 5 start they can only go so far — and with all of that they can squeeze in more games.

But how many? Zach Lowe (ever the optimist on these matters) takes a shot at it over at Sports Illustrated.

If the amazing happened and the two sides struck a handshake deal Thursday night and started the season in a month, the league could fit (by my math) about 68 games into a reduced regular-season schedule while playing at normal rest intervals. It could not fit 76 games without committing the sort of serious compression that helped torpedo quality of play in the 1998-99 season.

After this disaster of a lockout, make no mistake that the owners will sacrifice quality of play to get in more revenue — they are going to pack the games in. Every last one they can. Tired legs be damned. They might go for 72 or more games.

At this point, I’d be happy to have the problem of figuring how many games can be fit in and the quality of play issues.

Reports of labor deal being struck premature, talks continue

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Former NBA executive Dave Checketts — the former GM of the Jazz and a guy once up the corporate ladder at Madison Square Garden — went on ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City and said that he has heard the NBA owners and players have reached framework deal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That lit up twitter with a frenzy that we finally will have hoop.

But before you pop that champagne, everyone on the ground at the lockout hotel says they have been told that is not the case. Multiple reports out of the negotiating room say no deal yet. The sides are still talking going into their fifth hour Wednesday.

A tweet from Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated sums up the sentiment of many:

Source says a deal hasn’t been reached between NBA and @TheNBPA, but reasons 4 optimism continue. And I haven’t been the optimistic type.

However, there are other reports saying there has been no real progress toward a deal since Wednesday night.

Checketts is no longer in the NBA — he is the owner or Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. While he certainly has NBA contacts you want to take anything he says with more than a few grains of salt. He is not in the loop.

That said, he’s not a guy that has a reputation for leaking wild stories or being a loudmouth. There is a lot of optimism that a deal is close.

But it’s not that yet.

UPDATE 6:14 pm: Here is exactly what Checketts said in his radio interview (via Eye on Basketball):

“The rumblings coming out of both the players side and the owners side are suggesting that there is a deal,” Checketts said. “They were together for 11 hours yesterday, they met again this afternoon, I think that they are trying to finish this up.  I think this changed pretty dramatically when the owners set a deadline.”

“I’ve received a couple of phone calls from friends who are very close to the process who say, ‘We have a deal and it’s now a matter of getting everything straightened out.’ If that is the case, this will be a very big story.”