Blog Entry

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

Posted on: June 28, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 10:20 pm

NEW YORK -- NBA owners and players will meet Thursday in Manhattan for perhaps their final bargaining session before a lockout is imposed, leaving little hope that an agreement can be reached before the 12:01 a.m. ET Friday expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

The bargaining session will be smaller than the full-blown negotiation that was attended by more than 30 players last Friday. The owners' full Board of Governors met in Dallas Tuesday, and commissioner David Stern told reporters there that it was the union that asked to scheduled bargaining for Thursday as opposed to Wednesday.

A formal procedural vote authorizing the owners' labor relations committee to impose a lockout was not conducted. However, the board authorized the committee to "act in whatever way they deem appropriate," deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in Dallas -- which, effectively, is the same thing. It's a moot point anyway; Stern said last week that such a vote was a mere formality, and owners clearly are galvanized to use a work stoppage as a means to achieve their goals of creating a new economic system that guarantees them profitability.

The owners and players remain hundreds of millions of dollars a year apart in their most recent proposals, with the players choosing last Friday not to counter the owners' most recent proposal in which league negotiators offered to guarantee players $2 billion a year in salary and benefits over the life of a 10-year deal.

The players want a much shorter CBA, proposing a five-year deal with $100 million per year in salary concessions. Aside from disagreeing over the most critical issue -- the split of the league's revenues (or basketball-related income, known as BRI) -- owners and players have taken irreconcilable positions on how the money will be distributed to the players. Owners have proposed what they called a "flex cap," with a midpoint of $62 million per team and an undetermined maximum and minimum payroll. The players have rejected the idea, calling it a hard cap in disguise.

While the key players in the negotiation continue plotting their end-game strategy with Thursday night's deadline looming, legal forces on both sides also were busy Tuesday weighing their options. If owners imposed a lockout, attorneys for the National Basketball Players Association would have to decide whether to follow the NFL players' strategy by decertifying the union and filing an antitrust lawsuit. This would be the nuclear option, and one both sides seem to want to avoid since it would turn the dispute over to the federal courts and waste valuable time. With a far longer season than the NFL, choosing the courts over bargaining would all but assure that games would be missed in the 2011-12 season.

Also, if the union decertified, owners and players would no longer be able to continue negotiating after the expiration of the CBA. If both sides decided Thursday that there was enough will to reach a deal, they could extend the deadline or continue negotiating even after the lockout was imposed. The latter would not be an option if there were no union.

It was not clear whether the players' tipped their hand regarding a reluctance to decertify by having more than 30 players show up at Friday's bargaining session with matching T-shirts with the word "STAND" printed on them. In any event, it is clear that each side has a legal option in its briefcase that it appears reluctant to use.

For the players, the union has thus far decided not to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a ruling on whether revenue sharing should be a "mandatory subject" of collective bargaining. While the league continues to assert that its $300 million in annual losses cannot be addressed through revenue sharing alone, union negotiators have been frustrated by owners' refusal to provide details of the league's revenue-sharing plans -- a position that has put the uncomfortable onus on players to accept significant salary concessions before the NBA addresses the competitive inadequacies created by the massive gap among high- and low-revenue teams.

Using league salary data obtained by for the 2010-11 season and accounting for luxury-tax payments estimated to be paid and received, the gap between the highest-paying team (the Lakers, at more than $112 million) and the lowest (the Kings, at just under $42 million) amounted to $70 million -- more than the average payroll in the league.

For the owners, sources say the NBA's legal team does not seem inclined to file a pre-emptive lawsuit -- known as a declaratory judgment -- asking a federal court to rule that the work rules it has proposed do not violate antitrust law. Such a move would strictly be made to assure the NBA a home-court advantage by putting the case in a court that historically has been pro-management in labor disputes. If the players decertify and file an antitrust lawsuit first, they could do so in any jurisdiction where the NBA does business or has a team -- thus strengthening their chances of getting a pro-labor court.

Given all that, the court of appears to be heavily tilted away from the possibility of a deal by Thursday night. So if you like lockouts, pull up a chair and get your popcorn. 

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:51 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

In difficult economic times, billionaire owners and millionaire players dare shut down the league and fight about money? If only they had to face some REAL challenges in life, like the average person.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:13 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

what are you guys all smoking? The NBA is a very popular sport.  I'm pretty pissed that both the nba and nfl are being bogged down by these negotiations.  I hope there are big changes in both CBAs.  Let's all just hope there aren't any or too many games missed in both sports.

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:42 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

Is the NBA going out of business.....sure appears that way...

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:25 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

Oh, I see what's going on here...
Dallas - those Mavericks -- were so superterrifical strong, amazing, talented, all coming together as champs that there is no way anyone can beat them.  So -- no season.  Let the 10-11 Champs soak it up more and keep that moniker going with a locked in freshness seal, for longer preservation. 

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:18 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

ha!! nba fans. welcome to how us nlf's fans feel.

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2011 12:38 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

Does anyone know how Cleveland reacted when LaBron to his playoff MVP and the championship trophy back to Cleveland??  Oh, that's right, he didn't win either!  My bad, I forgot it was not a forgone conclusion.

Since: Apr 8, 2009
Posted on: June 29, 2011 12:17 am

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

memo to the NBA:

Please feel free to contract the Sixers and distribute their players to the other teams.  I have a lot more great ideas to solve your problems, but I really don't care.   I hope you all never play again your product is so pathetic.

Since: Apr 27, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:35 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:10 pm

Next (and last?) CBA session Thursday

Memo to all associated with this professional circus--go on strike, lock them out, whatever--NOBODY CARES.  This league could go away for years before anybody really missed it--but at least the service at your nearby burger joint will improve.

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