Tag: owners

derek Fisher

Fisher thinks there’s movement on BRI compromise if the owners back off the hard cap

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One of the best kept secrets in all the lockout talk is that the players are willing to compromise on how much money they get. For all the talk by your common commenter that the players are “all too greedy” despite it having been the owners who locked out the players and not the players on strike, there have been indications that the players are willing to move on the 57% BRI cut they currently get, even if they’re not willing to go as low as the 50% the owners are seeking. On Friday, Derek Fisher, as we posted,  talked about how Monday’s meeting will be about other issues creating the lockout. But there was another quote that I thought was more interesting than those mentioned in that post.

From ESPN:

“If, as players, we feel we can operate under a fair system, then we can maybe work towards a fair number,” Fisher said. “I think our counterparts feel a little bit differently, they want to get a number set and they’re not as concerned with the way the system looks if they get the right number. We don’t think that’s the best way to approach it. We want to make sure we keep a fair system in place for all players now and coming in later and I think the numbers will kind of take care of themselves.”

via NBPA prez Derek Fisher — Lockout’s ‘been weirdly quiet’ – ESPN Los Angeles.

Everyone is really big right now on talking about how the meeting Monday means nothing and there’s no point to it and we should all not even have the meeting and just drink hemlock or something. Honestly, everyone’s become so goth about the lockout I’m waiting for someone to put a Cure cover band concert together. There are a lot of bad signs, but note what Fisher says here. There’s movement to be had on BRI. They’re willing to talk about a 55% or 56% split. Which means that in reality, depending on how negotiations go, they might move all the way down to 53% or 54%. That’s a huge pickup for the owners. All they have to do is get off the hard cap line.

Considering that the cap is directly impacted by the decision-making of the teams, there’s no reason for some type of firmer, but not necessarily cold-hard cap can’t be agreed to. Take the “non-guaranteed contracts” gun off the players heads and they’re likely to become more amiable. Opt for a CBA agreement somewhere between the five-year agreement the players want and the ten-year agreement the owners want and you’ve got that settled. There’s movement to be made here.

But that’s the key. Both sides, players and owners, have to look at this as a business negotiation and not an ideological culture war. This is just about basketball and how it’s run. The owners want more money to cover the losses created from how they’ve run their business. The players are willing to give it to them. You can’t get everything you want in a negotiation. That’s why it’s a negotiation and not a coup. If the owners will simply keep their options open and see what they can get, they can get a great deal.

But, sadly, the Cure-listeners are right. The owners don’t want a great deal. They want total victory and to win the cultural war being waged, showing those lowly players who’s boss. Until the voices of their better angels are observed, there is little hope for a resolution for nearly a year.

Players rep Mo Evans: owners’ proposal is the worst in sports history

Maurice Evans

You have to love how both sides are making the lockout into some sort of battle of good and evil. Every time you turn around there’s some sort of hyper-dramatic talk about the other side, like they just started discussing euthanasia for puppies or how to steal from children. And today we’ve got an extra nice one from Mo Evans, a players’ rep for the union. From Hoopsworld.com:

“If we were to agree to their deal, it would be the worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history,” Evans told HOOPSWORLD. “We would be a laughing stock. What they proposed to us says nothing about a partnership. We want nothing more than to grow the game and reward these great fans that have shown support for us and the NBA, but their proposal doesn’t reflect that partnership at all. They proposed rollbacks, salary freezes and things that don’t promote any player growth or security. It was such a terrible system.”

via NBA Saturday: Players Won’t Back Down – Basketball News & NBA Rumors –.

Just so we’re clear on this: players will still be paid millions of dollars to play the game of basketball. I’m not trying to oversimplify this. I understand that this is about market value and their strength as the driving source of the league’s income. I am aware of the years, the literal years they spend devoted to getting themselves in a position to play at this level and to remain there. I’m aware of the pain of recovering from injury, the exhaustion, the intensity, the physical toll. I recognize that they are paid what they are worth in our society, and I don’t dispute the price being fair. But let’s not act like the owners are sending them to a coal mine. In the absolute worst case scenario, the average player only makes a couple million dollars.


The owners are taking an unnecessarily hard line. The owners are fabricating stories of how player salaries are the driving force behind losses when they’re actually not. The owners are sinking their own ship to justify building a new one. The owners are not “right” in this argument. But it’s just a business agreement between two extremely well-compensated sides. If the owners win, there’s no big change to the world, nor if the players stay strong. But depriving the fans of the game they love? That affects actual people in a meaningful way. But you won’t hear much of that during this process. Both sides are too busy painting the other as a force of darkness.

New Warrior owners offer fans a contract

Warriors Contract

The Golden State Warriors are under new management, and the new ownership team is looking to make a good impression with fans as quickly as possible. They recently sent out a contract to potential season-ticket holders, which makes the following promises:

1. The Warriors will make the 2012 playoffs. If they do not, ticket prices will not be increased for the 2012-13 season.

2. The Warriors will send a player to the 2012 All-Star Game. If they do not, all season-ticket holders will receive an autographed piece of All-Star merchandise, and be entered into a drawing for an all-expenses paid trip for two to the All-Star Game in Orlando.

3. The Warriors will win 25 or more home games. If they do not, all season-ticket holders will be invited to an exclusive two-hour autograph session at Oracle Arena with the entire team.

4. The Warriors will honor a risk-free renewal, with a 5% interest guarantee option for the 2011-12 season. That policy will be guaranteed with a 25% deposit payment.

Obviously, what fans want to see most from any ownership group is the ability to put together a winning team, but gestures like this should certainly endear the Warriors’ new owners to one of the best fanbases in the league.

Does reducing the size of a max contract mean more player movement?

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There are not many things we can say for sure about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the players and owners are hammering out. Or will hammer out, right now they are just posturing. No actual work has taken place.

But we know two things are pretty much certain.

The owners will want less money and fewer years on max contracts. Why? Because they often give them to the wrong people and end up regretting it. They want to reduce the pain on their mistakes.

Secondly, the owners want to find a way to limit the movement of superstar players. The recent moves by LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami, followed by Carmelo Anthony determining where he wanted to play and forcing his way out of a smaller market to the biggest one scares the owners. They want to find a way to take that power from the players, to find a way for teams to hold on to their stars — their real meal tickets — so that there are not more Utah’s trading Deron Williams out of fear of what night be.

However, reducing max salary size may give the players even more power.

Your true superstar players — LeBron, Kobe and a handful of others — are vastly underpaid for what they generate in terms of revenue for the teams. On a true open market, LeBron would have made upwards of $40 million last season one respected agent told PBT at Summer League. But because LeBron made less he got to dictate a lot of the terms.

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop broke this down very well yesterday.

Think about it this way. Let’s say LeBron James was limited, by some upcoming CBA provision, to earning one dollar a season. In that world, every team in the NBA would be crazy not to sign him up. He’d be beyond valuable. He’d be a winning lottery ticket, that you can purchase for a dollar after they reveal the winning numbers.

With a salary like that, James really does have 30 owners at his feet. As he can’t ask to be paid what he’s actually worth, he can instead ask for … whatever he wants. Get me this teammate! Hire my buddy! Let me out of practice! Fire the coach! Stock this champagne on the team plane! It’s all worth it to the team, for a player who would be, effectively, contributing $50 million or so to the bottom line every year of his prime.

On the other hand, let’s say there were no limits at all on player salaries. Let’s say teams were allowed to pay James the $47 million (the New York Times’ Nate) Silver suggests his play is worth. Or maybe some owners make their own calculations about James’ value, and somebody offers James $75 or $100 million per season.

Well, now James is a guy with a fatter salary, for sure. But he’s also a guy whose return on investment has diminished. Now instead of 30 owners lining up, he might have one or two eager to employ him. Now instead of making a long list of demands to a team, a team would make a long list of demands to him. Now instead of telling the team how things were going to be, the team would be telling him how he can best make good on the enormous sums they are paying for his services.

In other words, to determine what happened to make superstars so powerful, you need to understand what made them so valuable. And a big part of the answer lies with a CBA that leaves superstars woefully underpaid.

It’s not going to go that way because the owners want to control costs and they see the bad max deals out there as one of their biggest expenses. The owners want to be protected from themselves and the deals they hand out. But that could just increase this clustering of stars in big markets.

Carmelo Anthony drama has owners thinking franchise tag

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

What do NBA owners want out of the collective bargaining agreement? More money. Remember, it is always about the money.

Who generates that money? Don’t say “the players” because it’s much more narrow than that. While there are 12 to 15 guys on an NBA roster, only a couple of those players directly generate more income than they take in. There are only a handful of players who can sell tickets, who people buy the jerseys of, who people turn on their televisions to watch and who sponsors line up to be next to be associated with. Balk at how much money Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire make if you want, they generate far more money for the franchise than they are paid.

What owners really want is to be able to keep those guys.

And they are worried about that moreso in the face of the trend we are seeing with Carmelo Anthony — a guy with a year left on his deal who has told the team he is not coming back and is forcing their hand to trade him (or risk the consequences).

This has owners thinking more about really pushing for a “franchise tag” in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Marc Stein. It makes a lot of sense. Owners see Anthony, hear rumblings about Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and they wonder about keeping their own stars.

The franchise tag would allow them to keep their best player and take the negotiations out of it. In the NFL system a franchise tag allows a team to tie an unrestricted free agent to them for a one-year deal worth 120 percent of what he made the year before or the average of the top five players at that position in the league, whichever is higher.

In the NBA, it would have allowed Cleveland to keep LeBron James for one more year. Same with Chris Bosh in Toronto. How long the team can keep slapping the tag on a guy depends on how the CBA is written.

The franchise tag is flat out un-American and the antithesis of an open capitalism — if you fulfill the terms of your contract to a team why should they be able to force you to stay? The NBA’s current system already gave teams advantages to sign their own players — they can offer larger raises and one more year than other teams. If a player is willing to take less money for better working conditions (or whatever his reason for leaving) why shouldn’t he be able to do what he wants?

The players’ union would fight a franchise tag. But this is a negotiation, they give in on the franchise tag and they get a concession — in this case a major concession — on something else.

A year ago the idea of a franchise tag seemed impossible in the NBA. With what has transpired around Carmelo Anthony, it seems much more likely now. But it’s not coming without a serious fight. Which is why this lockout could be a real mess.