Blog Entry

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:10 am
NEW YORK -- Facing a deadline for the cancellation of regular season games, negotiators for the NBA and its players' association met for nearly 5 1-2 hours Sunday night and will reconvene Monday afternoon for more bargaining.

Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver emerged from the Upper East Side hotel where negotiations took place at 11:50 p.m. ET, and Stern issued a brief statement before walking away.

"We don't have any comment at all, other than we are breaking for the night and reconvening tomorrow afternoon," Stern said.

Stern has said he will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't agreed to by Monday. He did not address the cancellation deadline in his statement, and a person with knowledge of the talks said both sides agreed it would not be addressed with reporters.

"We're not necessarily any closer than we were going into tonight," union president Derek Fisher said. "But we'll back at it tomorrow and we'll keep putting time in."

According to a person briefed on the talks, the primary focus Sunday night was system issues -- salary cap, luxury tax, etc. -- leaving Monday to reconcile those complicated items with the most important point of all: the split of revenues between owners and players. Fisher characterized the meeting as "intense."

"We're going to come back at it tomorrow afternoon and continue to try and put the time in and see if we can get closer to getting a deal done," Fisher said.

The last-minute meeting was called after league and union officials originally couldn't agree on the parameters of one final bargaining session to save regular season games. On Friday, officials from the National Basketball Players Association requested a meeting, but were met with a precondition from the league that they agree to a 50-50 split of revenues that was offered in Tuesday's bargaining session. The union declined, and scheduled regional meetings for Miami on Saturday and Los Angeles on Monday.

NBPA executive director Billy Hunter did not travel to Miami, and an impromptu players' meeting was held after the All-Star charity game at Florida International University featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Paul and other stars. Fisher said the regional meeting for L.A. on Monday was postponed so union officials could concentrate on bargaining.

"Our guys would want our time to be used in meeting and trying to get closer to getting a deal done," Fisher said. "So instead of going forward with that (Los Angeles) meeting, we're going to put it off and then we'll reschedule it accordingly, depending on what happens tomorrow and into the week if we continue to meet."

Silver arrived at 5:10 p.m. ET, climbed out of a black sedan and greeted league security personnel with a smile and handshake. Union chief Hunter and general counsel Ron Klempner arrived at 5:30, followed closely by union VP Maurice Evans, who stepped out of a yellow taxi moments later. The three greeted Fisher, the union president, when he arrived in a black SUV at about 5:50, and the players' contingent stayed on the sidewalk and talked for about 25 minutes. NBPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler arrived, followed by Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, the chairman of the Board of Governors, and Spurs owner Peter Holt, chairman of the labor relations committee. The meeting started around 6:30 p.m.

Heading into the weekend, the players' were entrenched in their desire for 53 percent of basketball-related income (BRI), while the owners were stuck on offering the players 50 percent. The split under the six-year agreement that expired July 1 was 57 percent for the players and 43 percent for the owners.

From the standpoint of negotiating leverage, psychology and feeling the need to follow through on their threats, both sides seem willing to sacrifice the first two weeks of the regular season -- possibly more -- to get a deal. But from the standpoint of math and what's at stake economically by failing to reach an agreement by Monday, it is clear that a deal would be more advantageous to both sides than digging in.

The last movement of Tuesday's negotiations indicated that there was room on both sides to move beyond their respective positions on BRI. The league offered a 49-51 range for the players, who countered with a 51-53 range. Both offers occurred during informal side conferences involving Stern, Silver, Holt, Fisher, Kessler, and superstars Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

If you look at it from the midpoint of each side's range in their most recent offers -- 50 percent and 52 percent, respectively -- they are only $80 million apart in the first year of a new CBA. Each side would lose about $200 million by canceling the first two weeks of games. A rational split of 51.5 percent for the players and 48.5 percent for the owners -- with most of the system issues remaining the same, as the players want --would address most of the owners' stated annual losses of $300 million and preserve the flexibility the players wanted to maintain from the existing system.

By holding out for 1.5 percent of BRI -- the owners at 50 percent and the players at 53 -- each side would be drawing a line in the sand over less than $400 million -- $393 million, to be exact -- over six years. And each side would lose half that amount by canceling the first two weeks of games. In the simpler, shorter-term horizon of the first year of a new CBA, each side failing to move 1.5 percent to the 51.5-48.5 split would cost it $200 million compared to the $60 million that would be negotiated away by making the concession.

Since: Oct 4, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:58 pm

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

The problem with cancelling the whole season is the effect it has on the peripheral workers - ushers, parking lot security, food services, vendors, etc..  Clearly the owners and players (at least most of them) can absorb a year without income from basketball, but think of the thousands of "working stiffs" who get completely screwed.  I couldn't care less if LeBron doesn't get paid, or if Mark Cuban eats rent and payroll for a year, but I do feel for the thousands of out-of-work folks who get completely screwed by this obnoxious display of greed - on both sides!!

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:54 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

I agree with you WarnertoHolt, I'm a huge Lakers fan and am, at this point, ready to kiss the season goodbye.  Same thing happened in '98, and we all survived.  I'm actually hoping the season doesn't happen, and these spoiled dirtballs (players AND owners) get NO money.  Let them fight over a BRI of $0 for a while.  They have so much money, they won't go hungry (too bad), but maybe they'll learn how to be more appreciative of the blessed lives they're able to live.  Let their arenas sit empty and nobody stroking their egos because they own an NBA franchise.  Let the players go overseas to find out the rest of the world doesn't care that they're NBA "stars" (how are those bumps and bruises feeling D-Will?).  Thnk about how much better college basketball will be when star players aren't bolting to the NBA for big paychecks.  I'm beginning to think the world would be a better place without the NBA.

Since: Nov 5, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:40 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

Fans take your money elsewhere support a local kids fund. Spend time with the family and improve yourself mentally or physically and forget about these rich punks. Your time isto valuable to waste on the ball carrying, walking, and touch foul league. If you want to watch Basie all college is much better and the kids show true effort.

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:02 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

Well, if the players reject the hard cap, and insist on guaranteed contracts, and wont give back any current salary, then the owners are not going to beyond a 50 50 split.  if the players want the majority of revenue, then, they will have to concede one of those three points.  Basic negotiation, you give to get.

Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:57 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

If the season is called------first of all cancelling the first 2 weeks of the season and the losses then start piling up ($200 million for first 2 weeks lost) and the NBAPA doesn't start to negotiate in earnest (so far they have been lazy and intransigent) you can bet millions to billions that the seaon may be cancelled altogether, the League size reduced and possibly the entire NBA season contracted in the future.  

Or the players can start to play the negotiation game in a business-like way, so far they have strutted like a bunch of peacocks and told the owners how "we are the game", "we deserve the lion's share".  Guess what, the NBA memorial graveyard is littered with big name players nobody remembers.  The League had been built from a loser in the 1970's when there were less than 2 dozen teams to 30 teams, international leagues,  a global sport ....not just by players....but by investors and League leadership.  The owners and Stern's vision and mangement and their money.

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:57 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

Millionaires vs. Billionaires...who cares!  The real losers will once again be the NBA fans.  Get ready for big ticket price increases.  I am a huge Laker fan and I am disgusted by the whole ordeal.  I am finding out that life is actually better without the NBA.

Since: Oct 4, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:32 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

There does not seem to be a real sense of urgency here. 5 hours of negotiaion and then they agree to meet Monday AFTERNOON? What's wrong with meeting Monday MORNING?  I've been to longer dentist appointments!!  Look, if both sides really wanted to get this done, they'd be meeing for 8-10 hours starting at 9:00 a.m.  Been through many mediations myself that have started at 9:00 a.m. and finished at 11:00 p.m. and we actually accomplished our goals.  This whole process is a joke, IMO.  As big of an  fan as I am of the game of basketball, I hope they cancel the season and everyone get's what they deserve.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 8:01 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

I think the players Union, and some owners are missing the biggest issue- The bottom line is the NBA can't go on with 75% of teams losing money. The NBA as a whole lost $300 milllion last year- so "revenue sharing" and "luxury tax" are meaningless in the greater scheme of things. Without a cap, the few owners that are making money, or willing to subsidize their franchises bleeding debt with private funds, have driven the elite player salaries and the expectations of the rank and file NBA players, beyond what the market can bear.

If a new CBA can't be agreed to that provides some kind of real profit for investors and owners of franchises, and defined cap to insure owners stay in the black, the NBA is going to just have to deal with the same, un-addressd issues again, or fold up like the old ABA. Many players can't balance their own checkbook-and are being led by agents and a union who's priority is protecting a couple of dozen elite players ability to draw enormous contracts, at the expense of the NBA itself. Common sense is obviously rare at these negotiations. This isn't the Federal Government, or the Banks...they can't just print more money or expect a bailout by taxpayers. 

Maybe a loss of a season would make it clearer to both sides what has to happen here. Players need to try to pay bills they can't pay for a while, and they may better understand that making millions playing basketball isn't that bad after all. The elite players and their agents, won't be in that situation for some time, so the union is going to have to consider what owners will- going forward without them.

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 5:24 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

I wouldnt hold on my breath on something happening anytime soon.  They're still both way off on the numbers and with so many players already overseas, i dont see anything happening anytime soon.  Oh well maybe they'll get in 40 games...but i doubt that also.  Chalk it up as a lost season.
Most of the guy's overseas are all replaceable, there are no superstars with the exception of Deron Williams over in Turkey playing over seas.You could probably the list the guys playing in foreign countries on your 10 fingers. 

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 5:22 am

NBA labor talks extend to Monday

If these players cared about there season they wouldnt be playing pick up games. I hope the season is called and these guys see they dont have so bad after all.
Guys need to stay in shape somehow. They can't just sit at home on the couch eating cheesburgers and fries for 6 months then hop on the court and be in game mode. I don't think they have said they have it "bad" The owners locked the players out, not the other way around. 

I really hope there is a season, whether shortened or not. I don't mind the NHL, but I don't want it to my only sports viewing option day in day out through out the winter. I will miss the NBA game I'll tell you that much. Be nice once college gets going, but it's not the same.

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