Blog Entry

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 12:56 pm
While the National Basketball Players Association continued a whirlwind tour of regional meetings in New York on Wednesday, there was little indication any of those meetings could bring them face-to-face with their employers anytime soon.

After union officials briefed about 10 players on the dismal state of collective bargaining talks at the NBPA headquarters in Harlem, union vice president Mo Evans said there were no immediate plans for a full bargaining session until perhaps after Labor Day.

UPDATE: There will, however, be a secretive meeting of only the highest-level negotiators for both sides next week, a person familiar with the meeting told on Thursday. The session is expected to include only commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, union chief Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher. Also present could be Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the owners' labor relations committee. But no other players or owners are expected to be included, which could create an environment conducive to productive negotiation.

"We're looking forward to the owners re-engaging us after a couple of weeks of vacation," Evans told by phone after landing in Chicago, where the NBPA will hold another regional meeting Thursday. "We're ready to negotiate. We're ready and we're available."

Each side, however, is endeavoring to prove otherwise before the National Labor Relations Board. Earlier this month, the NBA filed its own charge accusing the players of failing to bargain in good faith after the union accused the owners of the same back in May. There has been only one bargaining session involving all the key players from both sides since the owners imposed the lockout July 1.

"Even in that meeting we had, they didn't engage," Evans said. "In the proposals we've given them, the players have compromised over $650 million into the owners' pockets over six years. You say you're losing money, and we've offered over $100 million a year to take out of our pockets and they say, 'That's all? That's all? Just a modest $100 million a year?' That's just not bargaining in good faith. It's hard to get anything done that way."

The players have been flustered by Stern's public characterization of the owners' position in recent media appearances, and Evans said the purpose of the regional meetings is to "inform the players" of how Stern has been untruthful and "very inaccurate" in his portrayal of what the owners have proposed.

The NBA contends that the players' $100 million-a-year concession would result in the average player salary rising from its current level of about $5 million to $7 million by the end of the NBPA's six-year proposal and says the players actually are proposing slowing the growth of salaries by $100 million a year. With every dollar sign and zero, the fans' eyes glaze over.

"We're not so much frustrated," Evans said. "We're just not being impatient. Nothing's lost, nothing's jeopardized as of now. But we are eager to get this back on track. We're coming off a lot of record highs in terms of ratings and BRI, and the game is in such a good place. The NFL gets a 10-year deal, and I've been to some NFL (preseason) games and the fans are so excited. We owe that to our fans as well."

In meeting with players throughout the country -- more than 70 in Los Angeles and about 35 in Las Vegas last week -- Evans has heard a gathering insistence among NBPA members that they are willing to lose the entire season if that's what it takes to get a "fair deal," he said.

"The guys are willing to suck it up as long as we have to in order to stand up for what's right and protect what all the great players who've come before us have fought for," Evans said. "The Bill Russells, Michael Jordans, Larry Birds and Magic Johnsons have done great things to allow us to make the salaries we have and wear these great uniforms. It'd be a shame to give up everything those guys have fought for."

Reality dictates that neither side will give up anything until forced to do so. The only forces bearing down on these labor talks that could result in a change of heart are the players' unfair labor practices charge against the owners, which could result in a federal injunction lifting the lockout if successful, and the calendar itself. Sources on both sides understand that once the calendar flips to October, the currently distant threat of games being canceled becomes harsh reality.

"In the more than two years I've been associated with this, we've been in entire sessions on ways to increase revenues and improve the game," Evans said. "We've suggested all kinds of awesome ways that will create even more competitive balance and increase profitability. But that's not what they're interested in. The only thing they're interested in is the players taking a cut and increasing the owners' profits."


Since: Mar 12, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2011 1:39 pm

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

"If you own a 200 million dollar franchise, you deserve to make a minimum of 10% per year on your investment."

Are you serious?  In what industry does just "owning" your company entitle you to a guaranteed profitable return on your investment.  You have to sell a product or a service that provides generates enough interest to warrant people spending their hard-earned money on whatever your service/product is.  Most of these teams losing money are poorly mananaged from a basketball operations standpoint, and from a general operations standpoint.  Despite the advantages of anti-trust exemptions, and public funds for their facilities etc., they still can't turn a profit.  This is the labor agreement that they signed, and if they couldn't turn a profit under those conditions, the blame is 100% at the hands of the owners and their business and basketball management teams themselves.

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: August 25, 2011 4:42 pm

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

Evidence to date indicates:

1. Players have already made concessions, are will to negotiate further concessions, and will ultimately have to accept some.

2. Owners have not budged (except to demand more from players) and will not budge.

It would be naive in the extreme to believe that people who invest in NBA teams acquired their billions by being fair, ethical, truthful and willing to compromise. They believe they can afford to wait it out longer than the players, and they're probably correct.

Those who are willing to compromise will be forced to do so — witness recent events in Washington DC.

Barring something entirely unexpected, the biggest b---heads win.

Fans lose.

Since: Aug 8, 2007
Posted on: August 25, 2011 12:17 pm

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

im4KSU, at least your comments made sense.  Most of what I'm reading is ignorance with some racial overtunes.  Bottomline is that the owners are not losing money to the degree, if at all, that they're saying.  These billionaires didn't become such by throwing away money.  It has been proven that the owners have used "creative book-keeping" to be able to claim losses.  NBA popularity has been very high and the owners and players are making money hand-over-fist.  The players offer to give back $100M per year is very generous and a good starting point for negotiations.  In my opinion, if players are willing to take less guaranteed money, I think the owners should be willing to soften their stance on a hard salary cap. 

It's frustrating to see folks spew ignorance and stupidity.  Grow up!!!  It's not the players fault that your life and job sucks.  They are getting paid what the market dictates.  If you were in their position, you'd be fighting for every crumb as well.  Also, don't forget that Stern made over $20M last year.  Maybe he should give back some of his salary too. 

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:58 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

I agree with you. When 2/3 of the teams losing money they want to give back 3 million per team per year. That is insulting. If you own a 200 million dollar franchise, you deserve to make a minimum of 10% per year on your investment. The nba players are bbeing selfish. Ticket prices have left a middle class family out in the cold. Many players are making 250 k per game? Come on...

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:47 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

"back from a couple weeks of vacation"...there has been no sense of urgency from either side.  They practically wasted the entire summer because of personal agendas & trips.  The NBA needs it's fans far more than the fans need the NBA.  I hope they don't think otherwise.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:26 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

Two schools of thought for me from reading previous posts.

1) I do think that the NBA needs to realize that it is not NFL and it might suffer considerably as the MLB did after their strike. So it might be in the best interest of both sides to realize what could potentially be at stake now and for possibly years to come.

2) I understand that everyone has an opinion on how they feel about negotiation and what have you, but can people PLEASE stop comparing sports players income to their own. It's all relative. If your employer asks your staff to take a 50% pay cut would you just say, "sure fine, here you go". And some of you might. But what if your job's "fair salary" is $10/hr, but your employer starts paying people 50/hr for the same $10/hr job? Would you not look at the owner as the imbicile that overpaid in the first place for getting themselves into debt for idiotic business practices that they put themselves in? NBA, or other pro athletes salaries are dictated by the market. Suck it up. I'm sure if ANY of you had the skill set to play pro ball (in any sport) making millions, you would still want to be compensated for what the market says you should make. I'm not saying that some, hell, many pro athletes are treated live divas, but since probably the age of 12, they have been told over and over what they deserve and we as sports fan have encouraged it. Again, I'm not saying that that's right or wrong, but we the fans pay for overpriced tickets set by owners because they overpaid on players in the first place. Maybe if you can't afford, or correctly run an NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB franchise, then maybe you shouldn't have bought it to begin with.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: August 25, 2011 8:11 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

please owners.. hold out and force a lock out for next year ..  these players will fold and give up i guarantee it.   if the owners are losing money overall and i think they are.. the players need to concede here..   they are employees they dont pay for the stadiums, for all the employees,  for the insurance for everything..    
;  this isnt the NFL where u have the body punishment

i side with the owners and i can wait a year before watching another game 

Since: Aug 25, 2011
Posted on: August 25, 2011 7:58 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

I feel sorry for these kids who feel it is their "rite" to make millions of dollars while the rest of us work for a living - for QUITE a number of years at that !!!     Good luck to the players who shall have to earn a living at Home Depot, etc. !!      I am anxiously awaiting the start of the High School season because THESE players play for the fun of the game and the enjoyent of the fans in the stands.

Which is another issue:  as we, the fan, ultimately pay for everything, how come we are not at the bargaining table.......

Since: Aug 1, 2009
Posted on: August 25, 2011 3:47 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

The sooner the players realize that a pay cut still has them making millions of dollars, the sooner we can get the show on the road. It's simple, you don't want to play for the money the owners offer so that they can make a profit, then you don't need to play. It really is that simple. If there isn't a season this year they should let struggling families live in the empty rooms these overpaid monkeys have in their houses, then we'll see how quickly they come begging to settle. NBA is a joke, NFL knew they couldn't let 1 single snap slip away, but on the heels of a successful season ratings wise the NBA decides to self inflict a setback?

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:18 am

NBPA's Evans says players 'ready to negotiate'

The league is losing $300 million a year, and the players respond by offering $100 million a year "out of their pockets".  And they wonder why the owners don't treat them seriously.

It's time for the players to realize that the business model of today's NBA teams has changed. As opposed to the owners they were negotiating with during the last lockout, many of whom bought their teams for less than $100 million and could offset a loss in operating revenues with an increase in team valuations, most of the new owners paid $300 million or more for their teams, and in the current economy are not seeing an increase in team valuation.  The owners are no longer willing to absorb annual revenue losses.  Many of these new owners are treating their teams as businesses, not toys.  And like good businessmen they want the chance to make a profit.

It's time for the union to recognize that it needs to start making real concessions in order to get meaningful discussions going.  I really think that the union is doing a disservice to its players by not recognizing these changes in the business model and taking them into account as they negotiate with the owners.

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