Blog Entry

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Posted on: December 25, 2011 4:05 pm
DALLAS -- While admitting that he was "a little bit relieved" to be presiding over an opening day that almost didn't happen, NBA commisssioner David Stern vowed Sunday that the new labor agreement reached last month is "going to work over time" to create a competitively balanced league.

"We think we're going to come out of this pretty well," Stern said before his first opening-day stop, the NBA Finals rematch between the Heat and Mavericks. Afterward, Stern was set to make his way to Oklahoma City to watch the Magic and Thunder.

"We're beginning to see shorter contacts already under the collective bargaining agreement as teams cast a wary eye on two years from now, when the enhanced tax gets to be considerably higher and you have to be mindful of that," Stern said.

Of course, this being the NBA -- which has endured a rocky transition to the start of a 66-game season after a contentious, five-month labor fight -- some unresolved issues remain.

First, Stern addressed the fact that the owners of the two teams he was about to watch, Miami's Micky Arison and Dallas' Mark Cuban, were among the five who voted against the new labor deal. Arison has acknowledged that his no-vote was registered in protest, presumably over elements of the revenue-sharing plan that was a major sticking point for owners.

"That doesn't send any signal whatsoever," Stern said of the formal disapproval registered by Arison and Cuban, saying the revenue-sharing plan will amount to close to $200 million by the third year of the CBA -- giving "all teams the opportunity to compete," he said.

"The shorter contracts will make more free agents available on the market, and the enhanced tax system will make it more difficult for teams to use their resources simply to get a competitive advantage," Stern said.

But while Stern said the new agreement continues to embrace the concept of free agency, he solicited suggestions from the media audience as to how to address a more burning issue: the practice of players who are not yet free agents trying to force their way to the team of their choice, as Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have done, and as Dwight Howard is in the process of doing.

"I'm an avid reader of many of your rants ... so what would you suggest?" Stern said to me when I asked him about the topic

"For example, a franchise tag," I said.

Stern pointed to a new measure in the CBA that allows a team to extend a star player by paying him 30 percent of the salary cap, as the Bulls recently did to retain reigning MVP Derrick Rose.

"After that, when a player has played a number of years in the league -- seven or eight -- and says, 'I don't want to re-sign in this particular city, I have a different choice,' it doesnt concern us at all that he has that option," Stern said. "This league has embraced free agency ... and has for decades. And that's fine."

Stern also pointed out that if a team decides to call an impending free agent's bluff and "try to persuade him" to stay after the season, there is a "strong incentive" in the form of the five-year contract with 7.5 percent raises that the home team can offer as opposed to a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises that other suitors have available, he said.

"The difference at the max end is going to approach $30 million," Stern said. "So we'll be watching some interesting situations play out, whether players will forgo that difference."

Stern said the concept of players pushing to be traded to a team of his choice "goes back to Wilt (Chamberlain) and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). It's well-grounded in all sports, actually. And in fact, the NFL hasn't had to use its franchise player designation a lot. Either the player wants to stay or he doesn't want to stay, so I don't think we need it."

Among the other topics Stern addressed on opening day in Dallas before heading to Oklahoma City:

* On the trend set by the Heat with the formation of their Big Three last summer: "I don't think it's a slippery slope at all. I think the fact that players are able to move from team to team, having played under their contracts -- their rookie extension, whatever it is -- and find a team that is managed well enough so they are under the cap and they can acquire more than one player, we think that's fine. The ultimate for the league will be whether that's an interesting and fun team, and the Heat are an interesting and fun team."

* On the rising cost of stockpiling stars: "I don't think that free agency should be looked askance at because that's what players are entitled to do. It will get expensive over time for teams to acquire players with increasing contracts and the like, but it will have a way of working itself out. And I would say to you that this is going to be a system that is more likely than not to be here 10 years from now."

* On his role in the Chris Paul trade debacle: "I don't think it affected the integrity of the league. But I do think I could have done a better communications job."

* On the new CBA's impact on small-market teams: "A team that goes into the tax for a $20 million player in Year Three is going to pay $45M in tax money. We'll see who does that. And the way this is going to help the small team is that there will be more free agents available over time, playing out their four-year contracts and shorter -- because contracts are getting shorter. ... I hate to use the term 'small market,' because three of the smallest markets in our league are Oklahoma City, New Orleans and San Antonio. Don't cry for any of them, but they're small markets."

* On how and why the labor deal finally got done: "This process got speeded up because we sat down with the players and we agreed that Christmas Day was a wonderful magnet. If we were going to be able to play 66 games -- a 20 percent reduction, a 20 percent reduction in pay, etc. -- let's do it this weekend or we'll see you whenever. And whenever was going to be a very contentious whenever."

* On Cuban's criticism of Stern vetoing Paul's trade to the Lakers: "In the middle of this criticism of me throwing him under the bus, he managed to pick up Lamar Odom. Not bad."

* On what would've happened if the league had not taken over the Hornets: "We thought the team was gone. That would've been it. We wanted to give the team a chance in New Orleans, and we thought they could succeed there."

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:08 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

A balanced league is better for the NBA as a whole. The goal is to fill all stadiums up with fans, not just some of them. The players shouldnt have as much power as they do. There is a lot more to the NBA than just the player. We just don't see it. All we see is the player, so we think they ARE the NBA. But the NBA is what has marketed the player and made them the GODS that we see. Its like MCDonalds. We only see the girls working behind the , so we think they are doing all the work to prepare our food. We don't understand the whole marketing business. The league will fail if the players have the power.

The owners ultimately have all the power, the problem is there are always at least 5 or 6 stupid owners that only care about their bottom line and not the health of the league.  This is why as long as there is no hard cap in the NBA nothing will ever change, and the players will get what they want most of the time.  What did the players lose, about 20 percent of their pay for the regular season? That's not good enough, not at all.  The owners should have let the players sit for an entire season and let this play out through the courts if necessary.  This league desperately needs a hard cap and anything less then that is a complete joke.  Small to medium size markets aren't going to win anything in the NBA, and if they do it'll be so rare it's not even funny.

Stern might be right when he says the new CBA encourages a player to stay with his current team or potentially lose up to 30 million dollars to go somewhere else.  The problem Stern is only right on paper, that's about it.  Why? Because the owners won't call a player's bluff, I don't think that'll happen even once.  I think every single owner with a superstar about to leave is going to agree to trade that star player which means he'll get every nickel the CBA allows him to and he won't lose a penny.  If the owners would hold their ground and actually let a player leave on his own but lose 10's of millions doing it, other stars that follow down the road would think twice before making such demands.  To NBA players it's all about the money, not winning.  Yeah they want to win, but money rules and always will rule.  But hey, if I'm a player and I can have my cake and eat it too, why wouldn't I?  

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:47 pm

Thunder Pummel Wolves

Berger must have wrote this Headline prior to the the Thunder "pummeling" the Wolves by four points.  And they needed a "no foul call" from the refs with seconds to go to keep Beasley from tying the game.

Since: Sep 17, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 4:25 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

I believe Stern and the league accomplished some things inn the new collective bargaining agreement. These include shorter contracts for players and a more balanceds sharing of basketball related income. But we are still left with the one-and-done plan and players poorly prepared coming into the league. Eventually the NBA will have to return to a time when it produced "real heroes." These would include players who considered the game more important than the size of their contract--players like John Havlicek and Julius Erving. But serious problems remain today including money, lack of proper coaching and preparation, and most important public perceptions of the game. These problems are manageable, but until the league has the will to face these problems headon the NBA will be something far less than "golden."

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:27 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Is the NBA season over yet?

Since: Nov 12, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 1:57 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

<blockquote class="QuoteMessage">You want to help promote <strong>World Peace, grab a weapon</strong>, put on a military uniform, like that NFL Player formerly of the Arizona Cardinals, and stand a post along with our other men and women in uniform.  I wore that uniform myself for over 23 years.</blockquote>

Not to be a douche, but that might be the most contradictory statement I've ever read in my life.<br /><br />Aside from that however, good post.  I agree entirely.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2011 12:10 pm

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

If this works as intended it should help even put thje league overall. But you will always have the big spenders who will spend and try and get their player.

Since: Jan 14, 2009
Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:14 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Stern is a pig. Whyb should we be relieved by shorter contracts? Or by the whole Chris Paul fiasco? If anything, what we are seeing is that the players are going to end up suing the league for collusion if this garbage keeps trending as it has.....Stern's meddling has become an incurable problem. He needs to step aside and let someone else take a fresh look at things. He is a shameless shill for ownership who is a good interview, but a poor steward of his resource. He has largely squandered the Bird-Magic-Jordan bump the league received, and while Lebron and Durant can bring it back, they'd be better served doing it under different leadership that truly prizes the health of the game and not the bottom line of the Memphi Grizzlies.

Since: Nov 23, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:04 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

Are you saying I don't know how to make hamburgers?

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:52 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

David Stern and Gary Bettman  should have a mma match to see who is the worst commish in profesional sports. Now that is an event people might watch. They are both so bad that i cant decide whos the biggest Jack----s.

Since: Nov 15, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:44 am

'Relieved' Stern vows new CBA will work

A balanced league is better for the NBA as a whole. The goal is to fill all stadiums up with fans, not just some of them. The players shouldnt have as much power as they do. There is a lot more to the NBA than just the player. We just don't see it. All we see is the player, so we think they ARE the NBA. But the NBA is what has marketed the player and made them the GODS that we see. Its like MCDonalds. We only see the girls working behind the register, so we think they are doing all the work to prepare our food. We don't understand the whole marketing business. The league will fail if the players have the power.

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