Attendance, Urgency Up At NBA Labor Talks

NEW YORK – With rank-and-file players beyond those on the National Basketball Players Association’s executive council attending, the negotiating session Tuesday of a new NBA collective bargaining agreement was living up to its billing as the most critical one yet.

In addition to the union officers – along with all the other owners, lawyers, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and staffers in the room at a midtown Manhattan hotel – at least four players attended the talks. Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Arron Afflalo of the Denver Nuggets and the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia showed up for the session.

Beginning at 11 a.m. EDT, this meeting has been portrayed by NBA commissioner David Stern as pivotal in the two sides’ ability to get a deal before the June 30 expiration of the current CBA. At their last meeting, on Friday, the owners made what they considered to be a significant concession by dropping their fight against guaranteed contracts. Stern said he and the owners expected a counterproposal from the union on par with that.

This is a hectic week for the NBA, with the annual June draft set for Thursday night in Newark, just across the Hudson River from labor talks that – if they aren’t fruitful – could delay those rookies’ debuts for an indefinite period of time. The league canceled the Las Vegas Summer League Friday and similar events and business could fall victim to the “rolling horizon” if talks drag on.

The two sides remain far apart on a variety of issues covering both the split of NBA revenues and the system under which they conduct business. The owners have been seeking a hard salary cap similar to that used in the NFL and the NHL, a reduction in contract lengths and a more favorable cut of revenues, currently a 57-to-43 percent split favoring the players.

The union has balked at demands that would slash total player compensation by about $750 million from its current $2.1 billion. It so far has refused the concept of a hard cap. And it feels that the owners’ financial problems – 22 of the league’s 30 teams allegedly are losing money – can be addressed in part by enhanced revenue sharing, lessening the burden on the players.

The best news for fans, under this mostly gloomy cloud, is that the sides seem committed to the face-to-face sessions. Stern indicated last week that talks might continue daily, with union reps scheduled to be in New York Thursday anyway. Come Friday, they’ll be one week away from a potential lockout, which could quicken the pace further.

“We’ve even been known to work weekends around here,” Stern had said. “It’s not called for yet, but everyone is flexible.”

31 Comments

  1. Hey people!.. Wake up!..
    The situation with the NBA have nothing to do with Players – Owners dispute!..
    Let me make it plan and simple!.
    The true fact to the matter is in regarding to a friend looking out for another friend…
    It so happens Mr. Bob Johnson previous owner BobCats-is not a close friend of Mr. David Stern.
    On the other hand-who owns the New Orlean Hornets?
    See the Kodak moment!
    When the NBA took ownership of New Orleans Hornet.
    Mr. Stern promise his friend he will have his team back.
    Mr. Stern says that the NBA is $350. Million broken.
    You get the Kodak moment yet?
    Tells MR. Johnson to find a buyer.
    The NBA will not bail Mr.Johnson BobCats out.
    Hello JUMPMA23!…
    He’s the man JUMPMAN23!… Pay off the debt over $300. Million and purchase the
    BobCats for over $200. Million. JUMPMAN23 is the man!…
    On the other hand- I can not say much about Mr.Stern…
    I don’t know Mr.Stern that well. I only spoken to him once in person on 5th Ave.
    That was just an acknowledgement out of respect.
    Lets just see how things will play out…
    Will the $350. Milion be unbroken?
    The previous owner New Orleans Hornet get his team back?
    Lets just see how it will play out!..
    By the way NBA players i am with you!.. All the way…
    P.S. Superstars go play for MJ and get him some ownership NBA championship rings.

  2. karibkween says:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/06/21/lebron-may-not-have-a-ring-but-he-made-heat-owners-a-lot-of-money/

    The greater the risk the greater the reward. Teams that spend money make money, why should the rest of the league be penalized because of slum-lords like Sterling. Does anyone see Blake Griffin staying in Clipperland? The NBA Draft is already an equalizer; after that it’s on the Owner. I bet most of those posting here in favor of a hard salary cap are Bible thumping, Republicans. Try reading the damn book, for a change.

  3. BoyWonder says:

    I agree with the players just wanting to fatten theyre pockets thing. Only player that really wants to win is LeBron James

  4. BlackMamba24 says:

    Its all Lebron James fault!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. BoyWonder says:

    I agree with the players just wanting to fatten there pockets, no one really cares about winning…..except LeBron lol

  6. BlackMamba24 says:

    cant agree more there russel.

  7. karibkween says:

    Quite honestly, if you can’t afford to field a competitive team, close up shop and go home. Its what most other businesses do when they cannot compete. Why is it that whenever Millionaires and Billionaires are involved, socialism is great business, but its never a good idea for the common man?

  8. John L says:

    haha nice going lebron james. AND you still couldn’t win a ring

  9. russel says:

    hard cap is a good one……….. the league must be a balance one… nba will be a boring one if all the stars are in the same team…..

  10. Bulls rule says:

    Anything but a a lockout! why don’t players just take less money! I mean seriously even if you take 2 million your set for life

  11. paul says:

    i know $750 mil in player cuts sounds like a lot and yes i do think that it is a bit high. but i think the players should make some concessions on this end. lets face it. i think we all agree that the players get a ridiculous amount of compensation for what they do. so if they are negotiating how about $450 mil in player cuts. i know that still seems high but with 30 teams, that is only $15 mil a team. A team generally carries 15 players. $1 mil per player isn’t that much. now i know the minimum contracts are only $1 million, but i think the highest earners on the team could make some sacrifices. after all those guys are usually paid $15 mil+ or so per season and they could still earn over $10 mil per season, which quite frankly i consider to be still quite generous.

  12. -__- says:

    first of all, tony allen is a scumbag. 2nd, that idea is stupid. Simply paying players less will not work, because there will always be a team that is willing to pay top dollar for the player; as teams are trying to outbid each other. And guess what happens when they do that? the current situation. Let’s just say Tony Allen is no thinker, more like a donkey.

  13. grant says:

    tony allen had a great idea — instead of installing a hard salary cap, just don’t pay the players as much. 2ez

  14. Silver says:

    players are too selfish. even the ones who make 20 mil a year. lmao

  15. possum says:

    A hard cap would be devastating to fans. The current luxury tax system is ingenious, don’t touch it! If some teams want to spend more, their penalty gets sent to the poorest teams. Brilliant system. Getting rid of some of the goofy exceptions can only help though. Its nice to have the big market teams like the knicks and clippers always being a championship favorite, while the small market teams like the spurs and thunder always stink. Oh wait, its not like that is it. Dont fix what aint broke. We dont want all 30 teams equal, its nice that there are some dynasties (hello Lakers, Celtics) while at the same time each year a few good teams slide off the radar (hello Jazz, Suns) and a few formerly bad teams enter the conversation going forward (hello Heat, Grizzlies). Really a perfect mix in my opinion. So the owners need to drop that stupid idea of a hard cap, and if people want to sign a guy to a 5 year garaunteed contract, thats between the owner and the player, so don’t touch garauntees or length either. What the players need to conceed to make this happen is the unequal revenue split. It needs to be 50-50. Obviously you can’t move it there instantly without screwing up too many existing contracts, but set it to 55/45 next year, 53/47 the year after, and 50/50 after that and going forward from there. No need to renegotiate anything that way. The players can sign slightly smaller contracts in the future, and the owners can stop trying to mess with a system that creates the perfect fan experience. Everyone will be happy: more money for the owners, flexibility for the players, and no systemic shocks to kill the truly brilliant combo of dynasties+opportunities that exists today.

    • Rich says:

      nice one, sounds perfectly simple.

    • James Naismith says:

      An extreme harder cap at the minimum is necessary. An example is one with penalties starting at 100% and rising by an additional 100% after each $5 more million to a max overcap of $20 million resulting in a $50 million luxury tax, then it might work. Also loss of draft picks at $10 million over. It has to be a very hard stop to the exceeding or it won’t work. It would be hard to distribute the money to the losing owners since some may just use it as a ploy to get more revenue while having a weaker team. Instead, give the luxury tax to the league and the player’s retirement and medical fund instead. Any lost draft picks could also be “purchased” starting with the lowest team and then working up (max one per team) so that the weaker teams would end up with two first round picks while the teams exceeding have no draft picks. Dynasties do not need to exist, rotating winners is fine.

    • R4 says:

      You sound like your from a city where your team is winning all the time. The NFL has a hard cap and does very well with there system. When running a business you need to find new ways to make thing work. Hard Cap in the nfl has made the NFL north american number 1 grossing sport. We need a hard cap to bring balance to the nba. Maybe your one of those dudes that live a city and cheer for another but paid your taxes in the city you live. What is the sense of cheer for a team not in your city, why not cheer for a team in your city but because the current system is build to make people living in charlotte cheer for lakers becaseu they are always winning sucks. where I paid my taxes in toronto and want to see the raptors in my life team. I sorry that I’m a true fans to where I live until I live in LA then I cheer for the lakers but until then I support where I’m from…

  16. DubbleJoe I Am says:

    Would it make such a big difference for the players personally if their salaries were lowered? Of course, it’s less than they’re used to, but it’s not that they would become poor or something.. Or am I missing something here?

    I hope they come to a decision soon, there’s nothing like a good game of basketball.

    Cheers

  17. mike says:

    I cant understand how they complain about their pay when they get paid to play a game they love….. basketball is my life, I would play 365 days a year for a couple grand. they play with a ball and get paid unreal amounts of money

    • Dirty D says:

      Yea but its not just guys playing ball. These guys are in the nba. Most of them have worked their whole lives just to get here. Not to mention the mind numbing work it takes to make it to the top of this leauge! It’s not just walk on and play. It’s work your whole life for this chance. It’s giving everything to just play on this level. It’s leaving your family behind, getting on the road, and working your tail off just to ride the bench here. It’s dealing with the media game, ppl wanting you money, your job and position. All while forcing you into a role model position most of them never asked for, and judging your every move. Basketball is life some ppl get paid more than their worth. Some don’t get as much as they are worth and some are just right. Thats life. If they want to fix it they should go from dollar amounts on contracts to percentages. Thats profit sharing, and berdon sharing as well. Give a player a percentage of the profit instead of a dollar amount. That will intrest players into winning. when you win there will be more people there fore more money to be made. Every one would go hard if the check depend on it. But on the flip side players together could go out fuel their fan base and fill those arenas up and make as much money as they wanted no limits.

  18. hasibm says:

    They should agree to a 50-50 split, and implement a “harder” cap but not a hard cap like David Aldridge suggested in his article yesterday. Quite honestly if the NBA goes into lockdown and we miss a summer month I’ll be very disappointed, let alone actual games.

  19. Nick Osborne says:

    I think its flat out ridiculous that the players union is refusing to be cooperative in the labor disputes. This really shows that the illusive self-worth of NBA players is at an all-time high. Albeit amazing athletes, they need to consider the dilemma that the majority of owners in the league are faced with. They no longer care about winning it seems, but strictly fattening there pockets… Winning is starting to become a side note (although you’ll never hear any players confirm that) and, quite frankly, its sickening. Not only is this lockout selfish, its not fair to the true fans who have supported the players through thick and thin. I really hope the labor talks will make some ground, but with the selfish incentive harbored by various individuals on both sides, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing any players suit up any time soon.

    • hasibm says:

      It’s not totally the players fault. It’s the owners who were dumb enough to sign huge contracts in desperate attempts to improve, and now they’re paying for their mistakes. It’s true the league is competetive, but like I said if every team would offer 5m/yr for a player who is owrht 5m/yr there wouldn’t be much of a problem.

      Anyway, putting that aside I do agree that the players need to take a cut.

      One suggestion is only allow a maximum of 3-4 year signings. This is unfair to a team which wants to keep someone long-term, but it’s better for the league. Guys like Gilber got huge multi-year deals and after 1-2 years they’re no longer worth it. The idea to be able to cancell out 1 contract per 2 years is also a really good one which will help teams who’ve made terrible mistakes.

      it’s true players are only going after cash these days, so DA’s suggestion to make it so that players can significantly less money signing with a new team vs staying with their old team is a good one (of course sign and trades will be used more often).

      nba owners these days just want a return for their investment they are no longer teams which care about what city they respresent but only the amount of money they can make. The owners are at fault for the situation but the players will be at fault for not fixing it.

      • R4 says:

        Facts are facts. In today society everyone want to be a winner. No one remember second place. If ask you to name all the team that lose to the Jordan I bet you can name about five of them. Name all five teams that lose to lakers during their run, I bet you will have a harder time with that one. Dynasty is not what makes the nba anymore. If miami had drafted there big three I couldn’t complain but when you can start to buy a team now we have a problem which needs to be fix. I told all my friend in Toronto that bosh will be trade next year because of hard cap. And I know I will be right… NBA is not a competitive product. If you go to wikipedia you will see that in almost 30 years plus only 8 team got a ring. If I ask you to come to work and work for me and I tell you that because the system I have build will not allow you earn a rise would you stay? It’s simple fix the currect system and open the doors to everyone to compete or just cut teams so that the talent level is equal.

  20. John says:

    God forbid multi-millionaires have to work on weekends

    • R4 says:

      Truth be told I would love to Hard cap in basketball because it seem to me that the same teams win every year, other than this year. I would love to see how Toronto, Utah, Golden State, and Charlotte look after winning a ring. Maybe with a Hard cap these dream can come to reality. Players need to understand that there are too many empty games being show on television and only when big television teams roll into town that when actually those clubs make money. U can’t play the heat or lakers every game. If players don’t want to play in small market team then remove them from the nba so you can play in the market of your picking. But remember with doing that there are less spot for players to go to with this decision. I feel the players in today game can pick there teams and other teams must suffer and this isn’t fair so i rather see the less team in the nba so players can get what they want. But be careful what you ask for, it may just hurt the players at the end.

      • hasibm says:

        that said, having a new champion every year ruins the whole point in dynasties

        Honestly I dont think hard cap is the solution, but that doesn’t mean they leave the cap the same. A lot of the exceptions could be cut, and reduced greatly making it similar to a hard cap but not totally breachable.

      • Rich says:

        The problem with hard capping is that some owners are stingy to pay for talents. Now they’re pulling everybody down with them. The capping is only a minor issue here and should not be show stopper. Owners should be able to spend what they are willing to spend.

    • HA says:

      HAHAAHAHA good one