Blog Entry

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:15 am
NEW YORK -- Citing an impasse with the players' association over matters that seemed trivial entering the home stretch of negotiations, David Stern announced Monday night the cancellation of regular season games for the second time in his more than a quarter century as commissioner.

Stern canceled the first two weeks of the regular season after more than 13 hours of bargaining over two days with the National Basketball Players Association left the two sides "very, very far apart on virtually all issues."

"I'm sorry to report, particularly for the thousands of people that depend on our industry for their livlihood, that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled," Stern said.

Asked if there was no chance of having an 82-game season, Stern said, "Yes, I think that's right. And every day that goes by, we need to look at further reductions in what's left in the season."

The biggest issue that separated the parties in negotiations that began in earnest with the owners' initial proposal in January 2010 -- the split of revenues -- was not the tipping point that led to the cancellation. It was system issues -- luxury tax, contract length, length of the CBA, annual raises, and the like -- meaning that both sides will miss games over details neither imagined they would.

"I'm convinced this was all just part of the plan," said Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.

Indeed, a person involved in the negotiations told that the cancellation seemed "pre-ordained."

"This could have been solved so easily, with any amount of effort," the person said.

Indeed, the two sides engaged in a flurry of lengthy talks over the past two weeks, culminating with six hours Sunday night and seven hours on Monday -- all dealing with system issues with no sunstantive discussion of the split of basketball-related income. Speaking on the sidewalk outside the Upper East Side hotel where negotiations took place, Stern delivered a laundry list of items that league negotiators found most objectionable about the players' proposals: contract length, length of the CBA, use of exceptions by tax-paying teams, the tax levels and what deputy commissioner Adam Silver described as the "frequency of the tax."

The latter point, according to a union source, apparently was in reference to the owners desire to punish teams that repeatedly spend over new luxury-tax thresholds in order to prevent "runaway teams" in big markets from maintaining an unfair competitive advantage over small-market teams.

Such negotiating points seemed minor heading into the final push to save regular season games, given that last Tuesday, the two sides had shaved about $1.6 billion off the economic gap that separated them. Few observers or participants in the talks expected games to be lost over technical deal points -- the likes of which could've been agreed upon and written up by low-level attorneys working at home on the weekend while players reported for training camps.

But Stern characterized the distance between the sides as "a gulf," and added, "We just can't get over the system hurdles."

"It makes no sense for us to operate under the current model, where taxpayers ... have a huge advantage over other teams," Silver said.

Unsurprisingly, each side had a different view of the others' vision of the system they were negotiating to achieve. According to a union source, the players agreed to concessions on contract length -- reducing them from five- and six-year deals in the previous CBA to five- and four-year deals -- and offered to lower the mid-level exception from its previous level of about $5.8 million to $5 million. The source said league negotiators were insisting on a reduction in the mid-level to $3 million a year.

Not mundane enough for you? Other aspects of the impasse included annual raises. The players offered to reduce them from 10.5 percent and 8 percent for "Larry Bird" free agents under the previous deal to 10.5 percent and 9 percent for Bird free agents and 8 percent and 7 percent for other players. Hunter said owners wanted to forbid tax-paying teams from using the Bird exception, meaning they would need to have cap space to retain one of their Bird free agents.

The totality of the owners' system offers -- including a more punitive luxury-tax model that would increase to as much as 4-1 and beyond for repeat offenders -- would have the same effects as a hard salary cap, Hunter said.

"My attitude is, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck and it looks like a duck, it's a duck," Hunter said. "... We came up with proposals to stiffen the tax, but we do not want a hard cap. You can't say, 'OK, we agree we're going to move away from a hard cap,' but then do everything else that brings about the same result."

Stern maintained that the owners' latest proposals did not include a hard team salary cap, and also would allow players to retain guaranteed contracts and would not roll back existing contracts.

"We tried awfully hard," Stern said. "We made, in our view, concession after concession."

Stern predicted that the economic loss from canceling games would cause the league's negotiating position to harden because "we have to account for the losses that we are incurring." He stopped short of saying the entire season is in jeopardy, but added that further cancellations would be dealt with in two-week increments.

"I don't know that the season is in jeopardy," Hunter said. "I think it would be foolish for them to kill the season. We're coming off the best season in the history of the NBA, and I'm not so sure in this kind of economy if there is a protracted lockout whether the league will recover."


Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 9:05 pm

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

NSaneNMaine, I appreciate your explanation.  It shows that you are not quick to judge and have thought before you spoke.  I do understand what you are saying.  While I am still not convinced that even an overwhelming number of players are even thugs by your definition even, the number would be higher than my definition.  And I agree, it would include many of the "superstars" that are in the game right now.  Good day to you sir.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:19 pm

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

I appreciate your position, B-Rod, but having used the term "thugish" myself, let me explain what I mean.  I'm okay with your definition, but when I say it I refer to that overwhelming element in the NBA that feels a need to overassert their masculinity.  Don't brush by them in the lane too hard or they feel "disrespected." Don't slam over them or they are "dissed."  All "disrespect" must be met with overexaggerated responsive "disrespect," more often than not of a physical nature. Talent isn't displayed without somebody's masculinity being threatened.

I refer to that "street tough" persona so many players adopt, even those whose upper middle class parents drove them regularly to expensive basketball camps in $40,000 SUVs in Belair.  Nothing "street" about privilege, and it is foolish to assume that this is a rarity in the personal histories of the present NBA players!  I'm referring to the need to take their millions into the bars and clubs and play "street king."  I'm referring to the rampant gun culture embedded deeply into the mentality of far too many players.  I am, indeed, referring to the crushing attempt to bring the most questionable of values of the urban street into the lockerroom, onto the court, and into a team sport that has become so cripplingly ego- and individual-driven that it barely reflects its roots anymore.

Speaking for nobody but myself, that is what I mean when I say "thug."  It is not entirely inconsistent with your own definition.  I would note that this element is not limited by race or even, unfortunately, by gender , or even by sport.  There are thugs in the NBA and MLB, but nothing in proportion to those in the NBA.

And that is why I would applaud watching this entire association crumble.  I prefer to watch basketball, instead.  But I invite you, B, to survey all NBA players to see who among them own unregistered guns, frequent the beds of "'hos," and spend more money on "representin'" than on the children they father out of wedlock.  I'm sure they'll all be happy to oblige you.  Then we can speak from data. 


Since: May 28, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:55 pm

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

Who cares.  I dont need an NBA season to get by.  NFL , NHL, College Football, College basketball, then its baseball season again.  We dont need them.  Good riddance.

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:21 am

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

Thugs Thugs thugs Thugs Thugs thugs.....Needs to clean up its act.  Sends wrong message to children, especially when grown men think they are watching quality basketball.

What makes them thugs?  Who are the thugs?  Are all of them thugs?  A thug is a "rough, brutal, violent person".  Explain to me, with the exception of a few, what makes you clarify all NBA players, or even a large percentage of them, thugs?

Since knowledge is power, show me your evidence and data to back this up.  Furthermore, what makes it "bad" basketball?  There is less finesse than the NBA used to be for the most part, but even people like MJ played for the highlight reels and he made sure he stuck his tongue out while doing it.

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:09 am

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

Are you serious with that statement?

Dead serious.  If it keeps them off the street and out of trouble, then who cares if their idols are greedy, etc.  All you hear about on the news are gangs, robberies, and murders.  If they stay away from that to be part of a team of athletes, with good coaches and leaders, that means they are NOT involved in all that trouble.  Yes, I am all for it.  Are you serious?  You would rather see them on the street because you don't want them to strive to be like these greedy people?

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:44 am

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

I'm on board with you. I find it comical how LeBron is tweeting John Clayton implying he is interested in playing football. Apparently this whole thing is a joke to the owners and players who can wipe their cracks with 100 dollar bills. 

Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:31 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:18 am

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

Let the whole year go down the drain!  As a fan I just do not care anymore.  The sad part the only players that will feel the pinch will be the rookies and roll players.  The owners and stars have mucho cash and won't bat an eye!

Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:55 am

Stern cancels two weeks over labor impasse

No one is going to miss the NBA until  MLB, the NFL & March Madness have run their course.
The problem for the NBA is that one of these sports are always in season at one point or another and can easily fill the void left by the NBA. The National Football League season culmminates with the Super Bowl in February. NCAA basketball really gains a serious head of steam as far as interest goes in the middle to end of February as Conference play intensifies and Automatic Bids to the Tournament are started to be handed out. Then the Tournament itself culminates in the first week of April. From April to October you have Major League Baseball with interest developing in the National Football League in August with the pres-season and to a lesser extent fantasy football drafts. The NBA is either too arrogant or too stupid to realize that they have a major problem on their hands. I believe that unlike the last lockout the fans will not be as quick to forgive them (the NBA collectively) this time around because this economy is worse than the economy during the last lockout. Multi-millionaires vs. Multi-billionaires: sorry I just can't relate to either of your "economic woes".

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:09 am

You have got to be kidding right?

From B-Rob Rocks "Wow, there are a lot of ignorant a$$holes on here.  Thugs, n**gers?  What a bunch of racist, classist pigs.  Many kids get into basketball in order to stay out of trouble.  And why?  Because they have the hopes of going to the NBA and saving their lives and the lives of their families.  Even though few actually make it, they still believe and keep trying.  This teaches perseverance, hard work, dedication and more" Are you serious with that statement? So it's good to teach kids that knowledge isn't power but being a skilled jock is the answer and they can grow up to become self-centered, greedy, rich, slimes that don't give a dam about the fans and have no sense of reality. That's why most of them blow all their money after there career's are over and during their career's have a sense of entitlement that makes me want to puke. What a great thing for those underpriviledged kids to stay out of trouble by emulating these greedy egomaniacs.

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