Blog Entry

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 7:11 pm
NEW YORK -- Negotiators for the NBA owners and players were meeting Black Friday for litigation settlement talks in the hopes of laying the groundwork for a collective bargaining agreement to save the 2011-12 season.

The starting point in the negotiations essentially is where the bargaining talks left off Nov. 10, when the players were left with an ultimatum from the league to accept the framework of a 50-50 revenue split or face a far worse offer. Instead of sending the proposal to the union membership for a vote, the National Basketball Players Association dissolved Nov. 14 and launched multiple antitrust lawsuits against the league's owners.

UPDATE: With those dynamics in mind, the talks take the form of a legal settlement as opposed to a collective bargaining resolution -- with many of the same participants still involved but some new faces, too. The players' lead attorney in the antitrust action, David Boies, has teamed with former NBPA lead outside counsel Jim Quinn in an effort to push the deal across the finish line. But neither Boies nor Quinn was present at Friday's negotiations. Kessler, stripped of his role as lead negotiator for the players, also was not present.

Representing the players Friday were former union officials Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher; executive committee member Maurice Evans; general counsel Ron Klempner; economist Kevin Murphy; and one of Quinn's law partners. For the league, it was commissioner David Stern; deputy commissioner Adam Silver; Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee; general counsel Rick Buchanan; and deputy general counsel Dan Rube.

So the so-called litigation settlement talks had very much the same dynamics as the bargaining talks that broke off Nov. 10, leading to the players' decision to dissolve the union and launch antitrust lawsuits against the owners on Nov. 14. This, with one exception: there were strong indications that Quinn, one of the key figures in ending he 1998-99 lockout, had laid important groundwork during secret discussions he brokered earlier in the week. Stern and other league officials were seen Tuesday at the same location where Friday's talks were taking place. 

Multiple people connected to the talks have told that the discussions could move quickly towards a deal after the momentum gained in the past week from back-channel talks spearheaded by Quinn. But one person in frequent contact with ownership cautioned that it may take the entire weekend to find common ground, adding that there "could be some anxiety" in the room Friday.

On the 148th day of the lockout, but the first since the labor impasse was transformed into a court battle, there seemed to be little effort to hide the appearance that the faces and issues hadn't changed. A key difference was the absence of Kessler, though the tempestuous attorney was still "very much involved" behind the scenes, according to a source.

The players are hopeful that the owners will be willing to offer substantial movement on a handful of system-related issues around which the talks crumbled two weeks ago, resulting in the unprecedented disclaimer of the NBPA and threatening that the season would be swallowed up by lengthy, costly and unpredictable antitrust litigation. To account for some of those concessions, which would result in a more flexible and opportunistic free-agent market than the owners last proposed, it is possible that the split of revenues could inch upward above 50 percent for the players -- with the remaining difference accounted for by an escrow system capped at 10 percent as teams and players adjust to a reset of player salaries and more restrictive system than the one that existed under the CBA that expired July 1.

The most difficult issues to resolve will be the availability of the mid-level exception for luxury tax-paying teams; sign-and-trade transactions for tax payers; and the definition of a tax payer. Coming out of the collapsed bargaining talks, these were the items that bothered the players the most in terms of restricting player movement -- especially the notion that a team would be considered a tax payer prior to use of an exception that pushed it over the tax line, as opposed to afterward.

But while league negotiators were not expected to fully move toward the players on all the outstanding system issues, there has been "positive movement" from the owners in recent days "to get a deal done," according to the person in contact with ownership. The biggest factor in the potential for a deal by the end of the weekend is not the players' lawsuits, but something much more predictable and relentless: the calendar.

Both sides understand that a season tipoff on Christmas, which would deliver a 66-game regular season with the NBA Finals pushed back only one week, would require an agreement by Monday at the latest. Even that would be pushing it; the league will need about 30 days to finalize the deal and hold an abbreviated free-agent period, training camps and preseason games.

As necessitated by the union's disclaimer, any legal settlement wouldn't be able to take the form of a CBA until the union reformed and was recognized by the owners.

Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: November 26, 2011 3:17 am

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

I live on the west coast. It's now officially Saturday. I see there is no deal....WTF?!!???!..Berger, you promised me there was to be a deal on Black Friday.
I'm pissed because I waited by my computer the whole day for the good news and then NOTHING!!!! Instead I could of waited in line with my girlfriend at Walmart for some sale on spam and beans, but probably their all sold out sucks sometimes, not really worth living.

Since: Jul 6, 2007
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:47 am

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

The NBA is a joke. A large one at that. A Larger Joke then the mlb, the wnba and soccer combined. (i like the mlb but its a joke). Now why do i think its a joke? Well some may say it is because i love the NHL and that im bias. Yea. One could say that has something to do with it but theres another thing. Ill give you a hint: it has something to do with the extreme boredom i feel when i have to be around a bunch of loser nba fans watching the same mothertruckin dunk on ESPNs top plays then they bring in someone to tell me how the 7 foot player hopped a foot and dunked the ball. Its brutal. The nba is terrible. I love sports , not gunna lie. I pay attention to all of them and out of all the plays deemed "great" by "experts" like cheese berger who wont stfu about the cba getting laid one day (or raped since it is the nba), only about 20-30 were even number 10 quality. Im not saying hockey is the jugs and deserves all the attention cuz there are other great sports out there (football, college basketball/football/hockey, roger federer, t woods) but the nba is not a sport. Its a civilized (as civilized as a buncha gang members can be together) area for thugs to toss around balls and jump high, the only thing that the NBA seems to be able to produce. Keep the players locked out. Let the nba become lost in its own dream of becoming a real sport. Wont be surprised when the day comes that kim kabashian is the face of the National Butthole Attraction or nba. Same difference

Since: Oct 23, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:42 am

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

For you knuckleheads that wants the NBA to disappear for life; THE NBA WILL EVENTUALLY REACH AND AGREEMENT AND COME BACK

When that happens, then you all need to disappear for life and never watch another basketball game again and in fact you shouldn't be allowed to watch another game because you are not fans and your opinions are worthless.

No please go away

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2011 12:11 am

Looking for a deal? Its on the table

- The sad truth is that neither the owners or the players care much about what they look like. In the end if we get basketball all this is largely forgotten. The owners need to bring costs into line to have the opportunity to make profit. The players want to keep what they had last time. The leverage is mostly to the owners for they can ride this bronco far longer than the players. The challenge has been for the owners to get the players to take them seriously. The so called (by the media and players but not the owners) ultimatum may have been seen as needed to get the next step. It succeeded as the players dissolved the union. Both parties understand that the court process is uncertain and any result can happen. Even so the leverage is on the owners' side.

Berger's point about these being settlement talks and not labor negotiations is right. This allows the owners to say they would have started lower in any labor talks and the players likely agreed because they dissolved instead. This allows the players to concede issues they did not agree to before because the for all the uncertainty of the courts they already lost the first round by not getting the Oakland Judge they wanted (the 9th Circuit Court on the West Coast is by far the most liberal in the country whereas the Minnesota case goes to the same 8th Circuit Court that ruled the NFL decertification a sham. Finally the owners already had established nexus in New York where they were even more likely to win. At this point the season is lost to both sides if they continue the litigation. Settlement therefore saves the season and both sides have had two weeks to inch back from the edge. It still may not come together and if it does there is no way the economic terms get better for the players (they can choose between 49-51 sliding scale or 50-50.) That result loses ~$34 million for the owners so they may not ratify it either.

Since: Mar 30, 2010
Posted on: November 26, 2011 12:07 am

Please don't

Let's please not have an NBA...ever again. Let it fade away like a bad case of crotch rot or athletes foot.

Since: Feb 18, 2007
Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:24 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Nobody cares except the peeps that work in the arenas...let it go...the players don't care and the owners must not either 

Since: Oct 16, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:11 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Jesus Fucking Christ, start the season, or stop writing about it!

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:53 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Excllent comment.  This clown has been trying to justify his job by blogging it's about to happen, to the point where nothing he writes is meaningful.  He needs a job and hopefully it won't be writing about NBA games anytime soon.

Since: Oct 1, 2010
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:39 pm

Baseball is almost as boring as your comment

Ant sport that Fat guys can be stars ain't a sport.

Hoops owns you 

Since: Mar 31, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:22 pm

Looking for a deal on Black Friday

Never ever ever will the NHL be bigger than the NBA!

NBA is watched and loved all around the world! 

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