Players union may now seek collusion charge

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David Stern announced good news for teams and players today — that the salary cap next year is probably going to be $56.1 million, several million higher than expected. That’s more money to spend this summer.

But the players union sees nefarious deeds afloat. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo was first with the news.

After the NBA released a memo last July that warned teams the salary cap for the 2010-11 season could drop as far as $50.6 million, the union countered the projection could be a mechanism to scare teams from signing free agents.

“A memo of this nature can have a chilling effect on the market for free agent and rookie signings,” Hunter said last July. “If it later turns out that the league did not have a good faith basis for making these projections, the NBPA will pursue all available legal remedies, including a treble damages claim for collusion.”

Welcome to another skirmish in the war that is the Collective Bargaining Agreement coming in 2011.

The salary cap is going down next year by a little over $1 million from this year’s figure. But that’s a sign that the economy has rebounded some, that the doom and gloom of a year ago didn’t quite come to pass.

Isn’t that what we all thought last year? That things sucked but were going to get worse? Were the dire salary cap projections really about keeping salaries down or was it prudent planning in the midst of a recession where nobody knew how deep it would go? It doesn’t seem unrealistic.

But everything is a battle in the upcoming war.

His name is David Stern and this is his collective bargaining boomstick


The owners want to take a far greater percentage of the basketball-related income. They want to pay millions less for maximum deals and shorten contracts. Most of all, they want a hard salary cap and assurances that protect themselves against a diminished economy and, well, themselves. Everything is hurtling toward a 2011 lockout, a negotiation that’ll likely feel far more like a standoff.

Via Yahoo! Sports’ Andrian Wojnarowski

The Owners are out for blood in 2011. The economic recession was thought to be a reasonable cause for the players to accept a certain number of compromises in return for a few things on their wish list being cleared in return. Instead, the owners have decided to use the economy as a tool to attempt not just significant alterations to the existing structure, but a drastic realignment of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

A hard cap brings with it a leveling of the playing field for smaller market teams, which would stem the tide of losses for certain teams. However, it’s hard to find a scenario where the union agrees to mimic the NFL agreement, which means non-guaranteed contracts, bloated rookie contracts for players who have done nothing in the league, and would result in the elimination of exemptions like the Mid-Level Exception.

This kind of a hard line is obviously just the starting point of one end of the spectrum, but judging from Adonal Foyle’s response on behalf of the union, this one’s going to get ugly, fast, and stay ugly, long.