Blog Entry

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:09 am
NEW YORK -- After a marathon, 16-hour bargaining session supervised by federal mediator George Cohen, negotiators for the NBA and its players' association left a Manhattan hotel after 2 a.m. ET Wednesday with no comment -- but with another meeting scheduled hours later in an attempt to end the lockout.

The two sides will reconvene at 10 a.m. Cohen requested that both sides refrain from making public comments, and they obliged.

"Nothing has been agreed to," said a person who was briefed on the talks. "There was nothing to say."

Negotiators rehashed the issues they've been wrestling with for more than two years, with the difference being that Cohen, according to a source, "took the emotion out of it." No topics were excluded from the mediation session, including the biggest obstacles in the way of a deal -- the split of revenues and a revised luxury tax system that would replace the hard team salary cap owners long sought in their efforts to achieve parity and competitive balance.

Cohen, a presidential appointee and the top federal mediator in the country, was at least able to do something that the two sides had been unable to do during a recent flurry of negotiations: focus on bridging the gap between them as opposed to concentrating on their own, still widely divergent positions, a source said. 

At one point late into the night, it was decided that the two sides needed to come back later Wednesday -- a session that is expected to decide whether the change of format and removal of emotion will yield movement in each side's position. A person with knowledge of the talks described Tuesday's session as laying the "building blocks" for Wednesday. 

Both sides clearly realized it was time to make a deal, but neither was ready to do it in this -- by far the longest -- bargaining session of the 3 1-2 month lockout.

A meeting of the owners' labor relations committee previously scheduled for Wednesday morning will be replaced by that committee's bargaining session with the players, again under Cohen's supervision. The owners' full Board of Governors is scheduled to meet Wednesday night, and Thursday, the planning committee is scheduled to present to the full board its revenue sharing plan -- a key cog in the logjammed talks.

In addition to the lead negotiators and lawyers for both sides, the mediation session featured the owners' full, 12-member labor relations committee (plus Lakers owner Jerry Buss) and eight members of the players' executive committee (minus Keyon Dooling, who did not attend.)

The meeting began at 10 a.m. Tuesday and finally broke up at 2 a.m. Wednesday, when both sides decided to return to the bargaining table eight hours later.


Since: May 10, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:51 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

What should be amazing to us all is that this is even news.  It is the same story over and over.  Every time a professional sport Labor Contract expires you get two polarized factions that have to butt heads until some common sense seeps into the process.  That is the job of the mediator; lower the emotions and inspire each side to give a little.  Facilitate the proverbial win - win situation.  The fan meanwhile sits and waits for some indication that life as we know it will continue, be it baseball, hockey or whatever.   Each fan takes the side of their own value system.  Do these negotiations follow inflation or fuel inflation?  Arguments over these kind of situations get heated and sometimes physical.  Invariably there is always some bizarre behavior that makes the news, either by a player or managerial participant in the proceedings.  Finally things return to normal.  The price of a ticket in the third balcony goes up $10.00 a beer goes up 2 bucks and the official program another buck. Life goes on as usual.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:06 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

Don't forget, there are cities that pass bond issues for $150 million or more to build arenas that allow these men to play basketball, wear their gold earrings and diamond rings and drive their Porsches into the VIP lot, where the lovely ladies and bodyguards escort them to their thrones.

Yeah, there is an elephant in the room, folks.

Since: Dec 29, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:33 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

It 's  amazing to me all the money  the    pl
ayers   make  and they still want more.  I suggest  they quit playing and go  out and find another job.  I'm sure they can find one that  pays better...

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:09 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

If you were in a $50 million contract and took, say ... $2 million and stashed it under your mattress in case of hard times, do you really think you'd be on a limited budget?

Most of these guys don't live like you and I do.  I'm a 42 year old man, give me 2 million dollars just one time and not only will I not work for anybody else the rest of my life, my soon to be teen boys will never have a boss in their lives either.  The problem with athletes is a lot of them live way beyond their means.  Jamarcus Russell grossed 35 million dollars in the NFL playing for the Raiders. The guy defaulted on payments for I believe a 2 million dollar mortgage.  He fell behind so badly he let them take the house.  Supposedly the guy is living on fumes these days compared to what he should have.  Athletes declare bankruptcy after they retire quite often....

I believe it was Marbury if I remember correctly playing overseas in China for peanuts, he's broke as hell.  The guy grossed over 150 million dollars in the NBA.... I could go on and on and on but I won't...

Trust me. These fools need the NBA a lot more then owners need them.... 

Since: May 20, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:52 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

I don't understand how there can be an agreement on the revenue split before or separate from the cap issue. If the league continues with a soft cap there are a number of problems and uncertainties. The soft cap permits the large market teams (or teams with multi-billionaire owners) to dominate and create a permanent competitive imbalance. A hard cap solves that problem and also should simplify the revenue split between owners and players. If the hard cap was seventy million and owners should be able to anticipate a 15% profit on bri, then it is simple math to determine what the percentage split should be. The problem obviously comes with the disparity in gross revenue between the large market teams and the smaller ones. Baseball alleviated this problem with revenue sharing and it is possible that is the only solution for the NBA. The failure to address this issue is Stern's greatest failing as a commissioner. The players' refusal to consider a hard cap is due to the same short sightedness mixed in with greed. 

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:47 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

How can you possibly talk for 16 hours and still not come to a conclusion?  That sounds like the worst day of your life.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:01 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

There is still college basketball... which is better than the NBA anyway.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:49 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

Personally I hope the talks fall through. Then all the millionaires both players and owners can sit out a season and see how it feels to live on a limited budget. They will all be real happy to make an agreement in the future at all costs and hopefully more appreciative of how lucky they are.

If you were in a $50 million contract and took, say ... $2 million and stashed it under your mattress in case of hard times, do you really think you'd be on a limited budget?

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:39 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

There isn't going to be a season in my opinion, not a chance.  All this "marathon" mediation and bargaining is for show and for legal purposes, nothing more and nothing less.   Both sides have no choice but to go through the mediation process and make it look like they are trying to reach a settlement.  Why? Because neither side wants to look like the bad guy to the public and neither side wants to lose a court case when the other sues for not negotiating in good faith.  

The bottom line is the owners are demanding and need 50 percent of the pie or there is no season.  The players are drawing the line at 53 percent with some rumours out there saying they would move to 52 but not a chance any lower then that.    And the owners want and need a hard cap, the union says not a chance, they'll never agree to a hard cap.

Two weeks of games have already been cancelled and by the end of the week or beginning of next week I'm willing to bet more games will be cancelled.   The only way anything changes is if the players are willing to do as they are told..... if not, the season is over.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:13 pm

Marathon mediation leads to another meeting

This all boils down to the NBA losing $300 million dollars last year due to a system that paid players $2.2 Billion dollars in salary, and the NBPA union's refusal to intelligently address THAT issue. 

The NBPA union's obvious priority is in protecting the 2 dozen highest paid players ability to continue overpriced&nb
sp;max contracts without a salary cap, above keeping the NBA solvent, or putting the rest of the players back to work making an average of $5 million a year.  It isn't rocket science, but it appears to be over the players heads...This can be accomplished in only one of a few ways- reducing max contracts and/or having a cap, or reducing ALL salaries in the NBA.

Owners proposals of sharing future after-expense profits with players were flatly rejected- players want guaranteed money regardless of franchise losses. It's unrealistic.  

The most ridiculous part is, the few players that would be effected by a lowered max or cap, can make more money in endorsements than in salary anyway, and advertisers aren't going to pay for endorsements for players that refuse to play, very long.

Arguments over percentage of BRI, or revenue sharing are secondary issues that only distract both sides from dealing with THE major problem-the elite players want more than there is.

Owners are doing what they have to, to correct previous mistakes made by giving too much to players. Unfortunately, players are being led by a union that  truly only represents 5% of them, and are drawing a hard line in the sand, about $100 million a year beyond what the market will bear....that means the NBA needs a little less than $4 million per TEAM back from players to turn a loss into break even. Is it worth keeping the NBA off the floor so Lebron, Kobe and a few others can stay above $15 mil a year ? 

If I were Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and 95% of the players, I would tell max contract players to agree to take a 25% cut or go elsewhere, so everyone else can get back to making one hell of a living...instead of taking a 100% cut by not getting paid at all.

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