Tag: Players Association

Maurice Evans

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


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.

David Stern says it would be “challenge” to avoid lockout

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game One
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Wednesday, representatives of the NBA owners and the Players Association will sit down in a room together and talk about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They’ll do the same thing a couple times when the NBA finals series shifts to Dallas next week.

So, at least they are talking.

But even David Stern admitted that avoiding any lockout at this point is going to be “a challenge.” The current deal expires at the end of June, the lockout would start July 1 (and teams have already gotten detailed instructions from the league on what that would entail). Stern expounded upon his thoughts in a generally positive press conference, as reported by Howard Beck of the New York Times.

“I know both sides will make their best offers before” July 1, Stern said, “because if they don’t, then there’s going to be a lockout that would be destructive of our business from the owners’ perspective, and the players’ perspective.”

Last week, the union delivered what Silver called “some new ideas” to league officials. It was not a full-blown new proposal, but it built on the offer the union made last summer, which the owners generally rejected. Stern said the new ideas addressed at least some of the larger financial concerns.

“And we’ll be suggesting some new ideas to them tomorrow,” he said.

The fact is the two sides remain far, far apart. The owners continue to suggest radical changes to the NBA’s financial system — including a hard salary cap and rollbacks in player salaries — that the players simply will not give in on easily. The negotiations have gone so poorly the players submitted charges against the owners to the National Labor Relations Board (charges the owners deny).

The owners say the league is losing money, to the tune of $300 million or more a season this season and that big changes are needed. The players union says that the owners need to do a better job of revenue sharing and they point to the recent sale of franchises at record prices to suggest things are not as dire as the owners make it out to be.

For all the at-least-we’re-talking comments out of both sides, there are quotes like this one from NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the league’s lead negotiator, that point to the kind of radical changes the owners are seeking and why it will be hard to get a deal (as reported by Ken Berger at CBSSports).

“Costs have risen much faster than revenues over the course of this deal,” Silver said. “… At the same time, non-player costs are growing at a much higher percentage, and the built-in increases of our contracts are much higher than inflation and the growth of our business. For example, the three key players on the Heat all have 10.5 percent per year increases built into their deals for next year, at a point when revenues in our business are growing somewhere around 3 percent. It’s a broken system.”

There will be a lockout this summer. The next real question — the most important question — is will it cost games?

Latest CBA posturing move: NBA players voting to decertify the union


It sounds ominous, but it’s no more ominous than all the other bad signs out there. This is really more about posturing and having your ducks in a row before heading back to the negotiating table.

Players from at least two NBA teams have unanimously voted to decertify the NBA Players Association, the players union, according to the Dallas Business Journal. They also explain why the players would vote to blow up the body that is negotiating for them.

If the NBPA were to decertify, it would, in effect, operate as a trade organization but cease to be a union. If the league then tried to lock out players, the NBPA could sue the NBA under U.S. antitrust laws and contend that the league was conducting a group boycott, which is illegal. It could not sue the NBA if it remained a union with collective-bargaining authority for its members, under the labor exemption to antitrust laws.

“If the owners are going to lock the players out, the players want to have the option of decertifying the union and asserting their antitrust rights to stop the lockout,” said a source close to the NBPA. “This would keep the game going, not just for the fans but for the players and everyone else.”

Of course it’s not that simple, it’s never that simple. For one, to decertify the union means saying (and proving if challenged) that the union has failed in its duties. Good luck with that. Know that this is a fairly common move in negotiations. But in the public relations game the players could say, “we want to come back to work, it’s those grumpy old owners that won’t let us.” Whether they take that step to decertify the union is another question all together, but it’s out there.

Just to reiterate — a lockout is coming in July. Accept it, become at one with it. The real question is does a deal get worked out before games would start in late October.

CBA talks include “frank and direct dialogue.” That’s swell.

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We have no idea what really happened in the negotiation session between the NBA owners and the Players Association. And trusting any crafted public statements from them is about like trusting one from your congressman.

Still, here is the report out of today’s session, according to Art Garcia at NBA.com.

“We held another bargaining meeting today that included frank and direct dialogue that allowed us to discuss some key issues. We still have much work ahead of us and we agreed to meet again in December.”

We know that on hand was NBA Commissioner David Stern, his right hand man and lead negotiator Adam Silver, NBA Players Association President Derek Fisher, and NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter. So, all the big guns.

We can only hope it was frank and direct, because the two sides are a long way apart. Both sides have said the All-Star weekend negotiations probably will give us a much better indication of where everything stands. But at least they are talking at a conference table over their Diet Cokes and turkey sandwiches. And they will again. It’s all we can really ask.

Players union to file legal challenge to new technical crackdown

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Well done NBA League office.

You issue an edict on players complaining aimed in part to stop making referees the focus of games — and you take it so far you put the focus back on the referees.

In the wake of players complaints about referees being told to hand out technicals to any player at any time who overtly question a call (such as punching the air) or discuss a call too long, the Players Association released this statement Thursday night.

The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf. We have not seen any increase in the level of “complaining” to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials.

Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge.

It’s not just players who are complaining, this is what Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said prior to Thursday night’s Clipper game (via Ben Maller’s twitter).

“Its gonna be difficult, will probably effect the outcome of games, I want my players to play with emotion.”

“The rules are the riules, you better follow them, I try to control my Italian temper.”

The league said it instituted the crackdown after focus groups and market research said people were tired of players complaining after every call. League officials have gone to every team and explained the new line in the sand on what will and will not lead to a technical.

But so far that line has been enforced about as consistently as block/charge calls. Wednesday night Boston’s Jermaine O’Neal got a technical for calmly trying to discuss a call with a referee. Then as New York was shooting that technical Kevin Garnett got two in quick succession for questioning that technical call (and likely using special language). Overall that game had four techs called in 16 seconds, one to the Knicks Timofey Mozgov for mumbling something in his native Russian.

The night before, a technical on San Antonio’s George Hill on a call with less than 30 second remaining in a two-point game almost changed the outcome of that contest. Hill was demonstrative but walked away from the referee.

The NBA’s problem is where they drew the initial line. If you want to eject KG when he gets up in a referees face for a call, to ahead. If you want to hit Kobe with a T when he goes off — as he is prone to do — then nobody will complain. Rasheed Wallace, Dwight Howard and others earned their technicals the last few seasons and the line could be moved a little and most fans would welcome it.

But when you move the line so far in the other direction that a player calmly trying to discuss a call gets a technical, you’ve gone too far. When players get technicals for being emotional with the game on the line, you’ve gone too far. Maybe David Stern and the league expected that the referees would drift back to a saner spot on these calls as the season moved on, but why not just draw a hard line in the sand there in the first place?

Instead, you’ve made the referees the focus of fan and player wrath again. Well done.