|NBA players face stark choices||11.11.11 at 10:50 am ET|
The NBA lockout has come to down to this, apparently: The owners have made a revised proposal that offers a 50-50 split of the revenues and included minor adjustments from their previous offer, and the union will meet with player reps early next week to consider its options.
If the answer from the union is yes, then the NBA will go ahead with a 72-game schedule beginning on Dec. 15. The start of the playoffs would be pushed back a week, but considering the league would have already lost six weeks, a 72-game season in that time frame would be roughly similar to the 50-game sprint marathon of 1999. The Celtics, for example, would have played 20 games by Dec. 15.
If the answer from the union is no, then NBA commissioner David Stern indicated that the league will once again pull back the offer and revert back to a hard-line offer of a 47 percent split of the revenue and a structure the league calls a “flex cap” but is really hard a hard cap, and that’s a position the players won’t accept.
The key word is “apparently,” because throughout the process the NBA keeps issuing ultimatums and then backing off, but this time (really) feels different. “We have made our revised proposal, and we’re not planning to make another one,” Stern said.
It was clear Thursday night that the union wanted to keep negotiating because the owners’ offer is not an easy sell to its members. The details are important, and Ken Berger of CBS Sports outlined them here.
“I understand from the union’s standpoint it’s a difficult pill to swallow right now,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. “But that, once again, over time, we’ll be proven right and this will be a better league for the players, the teams and the fans.”
Silver continues to try to frame the issue as one of competitive balance, even though it has been proven time and time again, that there is little, if any, correlation between payroll and success on the court. What it really comes down to is power and control. The balance of power shifted in recent years to the players, and the owners want it back.
|The NBA lockout is finally getting serious||09.07.11 at 6:19 pm ET|
For more than two months, the NBA has remained locked out and stagnant. In the interim, basketball heads have turned their attention to EuroBasket and salivated over highlights from the handful of barnstorming exhibitions and street-ball games. They have watched Kevin Durant become the breakout superstar of the summer, due to his appearances at summer-league hot spots like the Rucker in New York and the Goodman League in his native Washington, D.C. (Try and watch the highlights from the Goodman-Melo exhibition in Baltimore and tell me you don’t miss basketball).
The NBA, however, has remained in a deep freeze. For most of the summer, the only thing the two sides have agreed on is that they disagree on just about everything. David Stern went on Bill Simmons’ podcast and couldn’t help baring his sarcastic fangs. The union talked about a gap of $7.6 billion, which is at once true and also overstated.
Yet there are signs – even hopeful signs – that things are about to get serious. That doesn’t mean solved. The lockout has really only just begun and we are coming to the time when the days finally begin to mean something. Training camps are less than a month away and soon the players will start to miss paychecks, while owners will start to lose gate receipts. This is when everyone waits for someone to blink and the staredown is in full effect.
But they are talking. The two sides met last week and they did so again on Wednesday with a plan to meet Thursday and possibly Friday.
“We agreed that we’re going to stay here for as many days as we can to see if we’re going to make progress,” Stern told reporters after a five-plus hour session on Wednesday. Both Stern and Hunter said there was still time to come to an agreement and begin the season on time with Stern pegging the timeframe as “three weeks.”
In and of itself, that doesn’t constitute any progress and so far the only concession that has been made public is the tacit agreement to tone down the rhetoric. This was a good move, not only for civility, but also because neither side has done much to move the public opinion needle. If anything, the players have been seen in a slightly more favorable light than usual during a work stoppage – even one imposed by the owners – possibly due to the perceived staggering demands of management.
But that’s a pyrrhic victory at best. In this era of labor unrest, fans (and this is a sweeping generalization) don’t care about wrong and right when it comes to these matters. They simply want the games back. Public relations matter far less than action, and that’s where we stand. Waiting for action.
To that end, two different storylines have emerged. One, as articulated by veteran hoops writer Chris Sheridan, is that the two sides are closer than they have let on. The other, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! is that the agents are growing restless with the tactics of Hunter and the union and are pushing for decertification, much like the NFL union did in their labor situation.
The next few weeks — if not days — will be critical if the NBA is to emerge with a new collective bargaining agreement in time to start the season as scheduled.
|Player’s union plans legal challenge to techs||10.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET|
Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA player’s union, said in a statement that the union would mount a legal challenge against the league’s crackdown on technical fouls. Hunter added that the players were not consulted about the rule change before it was implemented.
Here’s the statement:
“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.””
The union’s move comes on the heels of Kevin Garnett’s ejection Wednesday during the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Garnett was issued two quick technical fouls just before the end of the first half.
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