Blog Entry

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 11:10 pm
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NEW YORK -- Owners have indicated a willingness to drop their insistence on a hard team salary cap in exchange for adjustments to the luxury tax system and key spending exceptions, two people with knowledge of the negotiations told CBSSports.com Tuesday night.

The offer by league negotiators came Tuesday in a brief, two-hour bargaining session that set the stage for what one source described as "an important day" on Wednesday.

"It's put up or shut up time," said the person, who is connected to the talks but spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The flexibility in the owners' longstanding insistence on a hard team-by-team cap, first reported by Yahoo Sports, comes with significant strings attached. Among the many concepts league negotiators proposed Tuesday were a more punitive luxury tax and adjustments to two key spending exceptions that teams had under previous agreements: the Larry Bird exception and the mid-level exception. Both would have been eliminated under the owners' original proposal from two years ago, with many of those dramatic systemic changes living on in subsequent proposals until Tuesday.

There is a feeling among two people who have been briefed on the talks that the owners will come forward Wednesday with an enhanced version of the concepts proposed Tuesday. According to the sources, among the additions could be a proposed 50-50 revenue split, which to this point the league has not reached in terms of the players' average share over the life of a new CBA in its previous proposals.

As for the system changes the owners proposed Tuesday in exchange for relaxing their stance on the hard team salary cap, one of the people briefed on the talks said union officials regarded them as "alarming."

Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has often referred to a hard team salary cap as a "blood issue." Union president Derek Fisher scoffed at the owners' June proposal of a "flex cap" with a spending midpoint and a range as being, for all intents and purposes, a hard cap. Paramount in the players' opposition to a hard team cap is that the NBA already has a spending cap in the aggregate; under the previous CBA, the players were limited to 57 percent of basketball-related income (BRI), with an escrow system in place to guarantee they'd get no more and no less.

Even if the owners improved their economic proposal to 50-50 on Wednesday -- up from the 46 percent average share sources said they offered last week -- it seems unlikely that union officials would accept that without significant pushback on the system adjustments that are tied to it. And it is even less likely that Hunter and Fisher, under pressure from powerful agents pushing to dissolve the union through decertification or a disclaimer of interest, would be able to garner support for such a deal in the face of such opposition.

"We already have a hard salary cap," one person connected to the talks told CBSSports.com Tuesday night. "That train left the station in the last collective bargaining. If you accept that as an important victory point, then we've been bamboozled."

Whether viewed as a meaningful concession or not, the revelation from the owners Tuesday set the stage for an absolutely critical day of negotiating on Wednesday. With more preseason games on the chopping block next week and with an on-time start to the regular season unlikely if there's no deal, this is the moment of truth these negotiations began inching toward last week when league negotiators made a specific proposal on the BRI split for the first time since they offered a flat $2 billion-a-year over the first eight years of a 10-year deal back in June.

Though a person with knowledge of the talks said the union deemed the owners' 46 percent offer "unacceptable," Hunter and Fisher believed it was the starting point in the real negotiations to save the season. 

In another wrinkle that could be key to the talks, the NBPA's unfair labor practices charge against the league has been transferred from the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in New York to the general counsel in Washington, D.C., a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. The case file includes the regional director's recommendation about whether a complaint should be issued against the NBA, but the file is sealed, the person said.

After what is expected to be an exhaustive review of the case by the NLRB's Washington-based legal staff, a decision will be rendered on whether a complaint should be filed. Though Hunter is feeling pressure from agents who are pushing for the union to decertify -- a tactic that the NFLPA used, to little effect, in its bargaining talks with the NFL -- a person with knowledge of his thinking said Hunter is determined to keep the union together until the NLRB rules. A favorable ruling for the NBPA could result in a federal injunction lifting the lockout, thus shifting significant leverage to the players.

The NBA subsequently filed its own unfair labor practices charge against the NBPA, and it is possible that the NLRB may not rule on either case in time for the two sides to negotiate a settlement that would save the season.

Amid the divided opinions on decertification, Fisher sent a second letter to union members this week in which he again urged unity and tried to reassure players that he and Hunter would not sell them out just to get a deal. Fisher reiterated the union's resistance to a hard team salary cap and promised to fight for players to share fairly in the league's revenue growth -- which is expected to continue rising at a 4 percent-a-year clip, plus the possibility of massive gains in the NBA's broadcast rights deals when they expire after the 2015-16 season.

"We’ve been clear from Day 1 of this process that we cannot sign off on a deal that attempts in any way to include a hard salary cap for our teams. That has not changed,” Fisher said in the letter. “Unless you, the group we represent, tell us otherwise, we are prepared to hold the line for as long as it takes to preserve the system we’ve worked so hard to build.”

After Tuesday's meeting, Fisher emerged in a far more upbeat mood than he and commissioner David Stern had exhibited following last week's meeting. The two sides broke off talks about three hours shy of a typical session and said they needed to retreat to their own offices for private meetings before reconvening on Wednesday.

"We’ve talked extensively about ideas and concepts," Fisher said. "These are things that, if we could get into the range or get into the zone, maybe we can put a deal together."

Time, and new ideas, are running short.
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Comments

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: October 2, 2011 5:37 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

we can choose to stop watching on tv.
we can choose to stop buying tickets to games.
or jerseys. or hats.
or lebron's shoes. 
or the video games. 

revenues come from us. the fans.
but it doesn't have to. 



that's our vote.
As far as watching on TV, you pay your cable bill regardless of NBA games being televised or not, no need to buy over priced tickets, jerseys or shoes... video games, well there is basically only one NBA game being made every year.I can't see the players or owners getting rich of a video game. 

I do not buy shoes, jerseys, hats..and if I do I order them it's for cheap & online.If i want to watch games, I find free streams on the internet. I guess my point is you can still be fan of the game without spending all your hard earned money.



Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Game Over

Since your an idiot, the Heatles are the team that had nothing but arrogance since the trio joined up. The Heatles are the team naming themseleves after one of the best bands in music history, therefore proclaiming them as the best team ever the was I see it. The Heatles are the team who indeed had a big celebration when they joined up and yes they clearly said they would win 7 championships plus. The Heatles are the team who indeed did go to the finals. They are also the team who was making fun of a ill Dirk Nowitzki after he beat them with a temp. over 100. Then after that Dirk went on to beat them again, and then again to win the finals and left the arrogant a** Heatles crying in the locker room and on the court. They made all these ridiculous statements thinking it would be an easy road before they even made it to the finals. They thought it would be easy, but they forgot they have to actually play basketball to win it all. They may have made it but they didn't deliver what they had promised before the season even began and the series didn't even go 7 games!!! This is definately one of the biggest EPIC FAILURES!!! I have witnessed. I'm a Celtics fan yes and yes I was mad they got beat out by the Heat but when their trio joined up they didn't do all this trash talking and pre season celebrations and arrogant interviews. They sure as he** didn't name themselves after one of the best bands in history, they went out and played basketball, did work on the court and earned their rings the first season they got together.




Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:57 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Hard Cap = Parity Parity = More engaged fans More engaged fans = Good news for the NBA, and it owners and players. Example : See NFL
That doesn't work man, it's a different type of sport.  Football is 22 starters minimum on each team, add in special teams and substitutions and it's a total team concept.  But even so, it's the QBs that drive the league.  The Peyton Mannings, Tom Bradys and Michael Vicks of the NFL that sell the jerseys and bring in interest.  Nobody cared about Carolina until Newton showed up.  Nobody still cares about the Dolphins, Vikings or Jaguars.

In the NBA this effect is even more pronounced because it is essentially 5v5.  You need to have at least 2 superstars for your team to be interesting, preferably 3 these days.

If you look at the great NFL teams of the past you see a lot of TEAMs.  Most people can't name most of the players on the dynasty teams.  But ask somebody about the NBA dynasties in the past and they'll rattle off names.  People fondly remember Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic.  They were fans of those PLAYERS.  Football doesn't have a Michael Jordan, people root for the teams, the "laundry" and it gets passed down that way.



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:34 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Who are the "Heatles???"   Are you saying the Heat were an epic failure???  They made it to the NBA Finals.  There is no such thing as an epic failure that makes the NBA Finals.  In order to be an epic failure, you must at least lose in the First Round.
They held a press conference before the season started and promised 6 or 7 titles.When you put your foot in your mouth, when you predict something..basically guarantee a victory and you f__l (fill in the blanks kids).... guess what it is .......

EPIC FAILURE 




Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Hard Cap = Parity Parity = More engaged fans More engaged fans = Good news for the NBA, and it owners and players. Example : See NFL



Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

we can choose to stop watching on tv.
we can choose to stop buying tickets to games.
or jerseys. or hats.
or lebron's shoes.
or the video games. 

revenues come from us. the fans.
but it doesn't have to. 



that's our vote.
 



Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

A hard cap would be pretty bad since the NBA is so superstar driven and there is a lack of overall talent for this sport.  Strange since so many young people have been playing this sport for so long, and you'd think it would have such a large talent pool to draw from. 

What they really need to do is kick out the 10 worst teams in the league.  That would take care of the problems.  You can try a hard cap but you need revenue sharing for that like the NFL has.  And then all you'd manage to do is have the same watered down play that killed the league in the first place.  The NBA is only popular when a super team is formed and dominates.  In fact the NBA was getting a lot of momentum with the Heat Dream team saga.  This is what you call Plaxicoing yourself.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

If there's no hard cap, then this has just been a waste. Lock out the year if you have to, but get a hard cap.



Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

The owners need to hold firm and insist on a hard cap.  Let the players sit out all of next season and some of the next.  The current system doesn't work.  The hard cap would make the NBA more exciting overall, and still pay the players a lot of money.  The players would just need to make sure they get a decent percentage of revenues, and that the deal also includes a minimum cap figure too.



Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:21 pm
 

Sources: Owners drop insistence on hard cap

Who are the "Heatles???"   Are you saying the Heat were an epic failure???  They made it to the NBA Finals.  There is no such thing as an epic failure that makes the NBA Finals.  In order to be an epic failure, you must at least lose in the First Round.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com