One Man’s Plan For Labor Peace

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Someone had to speak up and at least toss a solution out there, not that either side in the NBA’s labor dispute was asking for any outside help.

An alternate plan has been hatched anyway, though, courtesy of our main man Ken Berger of CBS Sports. And after reading Part 1 of the “Berger Plan” late last night and then giving it a second read this morning, we must admit that we not only appreciate the effort, we also like the premise of both sides bending to make sure we don’t have any interruptions this summer.

Now, we fully understand that the concept of a reasonable solution for such a complex issue could never be broached in simple column form, a fact the author makes clear repeatedly. But again, it’s the intent that swayed us.

Whether or not NBA Commissioner David Stern or NBA Players Union chief Billy Hunter are moved at all in what is to be their final meeting before the midnight deadline for the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement remains to be seen.

One can only hope.

In the meantime, take a gander at the first installment of the “Berger Plan” (excerpt below) and decide for yourself if there might not be a solution somewhere in the ramblings of a fellow scribe:

The first installment, without surprise, is the single most important issue in these negotiations: The split of revenues between owners and players.

Under the current deal, the players’ salaries and benefits total 57 percent of basketball-related income, and the players are guaranteed to receive this percentage regardless of negotiated salaries through an escrow system. Phooey on the escrow system; it’s complicated, convoluted, and doesn’t address any of the important issues at hand.

So for the just completed 2010-11 season, sources say league revenues (BRI) are expected to come in at $3.8 billion, and player salaries and benefits at $2.17 billion (or 57 percent). How can we get the owners on their way to addressing their stated annual losses of $300 million without forcing the players into a lose-lose negotiating position?

Actually, it’s fairly simple, though it requires patience on the owners’ side and sacrifice on the players’. Let’s work off how far each side has publicly acknowledged it is willing to go.

The owners have proposed a system that would guarantee the players no less than $2 billion a year in salary and benefits. The players have proposed reducing their share of BRI to 54.3 percent. As you will see, these two positions are not that far apart.

Let’s also use National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher‘s rationale for the players’ offer of a $100 million-a-year salary concession. Fisher’s explanation was that this amount roughly equates to the players taking responsibility for 57 percent of what he called the owners’ “true losses.” Fisher and the union deduct interest and depreciation to arrive at this figure.

For the purposes of getting a deal, we’re going to let the owners count those expenses. The players will be able to get something more valuable elsewhere in the negotiation to make up for it.

However, under my plan, the owners will not be adding any more expenses to those they already deduct from gross revenues before sharing with the players. That’s just being greedy, and deals aren’t driven by greed — they’re driven by compromise.

Like we said, it’s just one man’s theory.

And you really do need to read it in its entirety to get a good feel for just how reasonable an approach he is taking to what appears to be most to be a totally unreasonable situation.

The ambition, however, is admirable. The thorough examination of details in regards to the splitting of revenue between the owners and players is as good as we’ve seen.

There’s a deal to be made.

It’s only a matter of time now …


  1. Logan says:

    I hate to be that guy but lets face the facts. Obviously neither side really cares about anything but money if they drag it to a lockout. As great as it is for us to watch and as much as i love sports, the issues going on in the NBA and NFL are pathetic. The tag all sides take is that they want to get a deal done for the fans but that’s absolute crap. If that were true both sides wouldn’t be having such a hard time finding a deal that works. Its called sacrifice. I can think of a thousand more jobs that deserve higher salaries than athletics. Why cant they all just be grateful? Its pathetic actually. Why cant owners either take the deal presented to them or at least use the intelligent money handlers that your company has to figure out a solution?

  2. watcher says:

    The truly astonishing part is the owners are likely to lose any financial benefits they are seeking (apart from the hard cap and revenue sharing which I agree with) in the next years through the flow on effect of the lockout and the way it will be received by the fans and sponsors of the game. Just like in ’99 where it took years for the league to truly get back on its feet again. And the players are willing to stand firm and accept a stoppage to protect their status as the highest paid athletes on earth, all the while playing their part in ensuring that the fan backlash and resulting animus will judge them as greedy, arrogant primadonna’s. Lose lose.

  3. Zar The Knicks Fan says:

    i am piss off right now. both for players and owners. they made so much money and yet both side still want so much more. what about us fans? what about us who actually pay money to see the games. this is ridiculous. if NBA keep this up i might as well watch EPL cuz for as long as they been playing, they never had lockout (as far as i know)
    geeze NBA we the fans make you the best league in the world. don’t turn on us now, be flexible and actually think of us fans.

  4. robbay2 says:

    I think the NBA should make the players go on mandatory tours through Detroit and the auto-plants, California ghetto, Houston slums and finally into Ethiopia.

    Then, the owners should ask about a hard cap, and it will happen. gaurentee. If any player doesnt accept it they are a fraud greedy scumbag who has no morals.

    some people are happy to make 30,000.

    some NBA players are offended at 10,000,000.

  5. unbelievable. says:

    it is really sad to see this. Looking at our economy the players should understand that a hard cap is needed it is the only fair way. the players should be blessed to have this job and should listen to the owners. i mean they owners are being fair and reasonable. just shows how greedy these players are. not even playing to their potential and get over excessively paid. reading the other article about Durant and the players making a Stand is so idiotic and as a fan of durant i lost some respect SMH. Players should be thankful for this job and if they dont like it then go to the EURO league or somewhere else and make some room for the D-league people who actually work hard and dont complain about contracts but just worry about playing. sorry that a Hard cap is not enough for them to live their lives lavishly with their mansions.

    • Nacho says:

      Well said man, altough i think owners are being greedy, players cant complain about their millionaire salaries which are excessive, they can afford mansions and cars and still have money.If they puttd in a 50/50, tht wd be the most fair thing, both players and management are needed for this bussines, this show, this SPORT, to work.

  6. Joex Lim of DC.PHILIPPINES says:

    Acquire more Asian players ,specially, some Filipino basketball players you can pay us less salary far better that American and Europian players..just a thought!! hahah

  7. lakersforever says:

    everyone needs to understand something owners of companies are always saying that they arent making money and times are hard so we cant pay our employees more we need to pay them less to this is the usual owners bs becuase they are mad that they made 500 million dollar investments and are only making back 50 million a year screw the owners i say players are making comprimises but I havent heard anything from the owners lets see them meet in the middle

  8. tata says:

    Great news for the Sacramento Kings. The city has one season to build a new arena for the team that WON’T be playing in it. WTG Stern

  9. gggffffffff says:

    great now i gotta watch baseball…..

  10. matt says:

    Why dont they just give the players less in total. If they could find another job which would pay them just as much then im a dutch astronaut

  11. Tyeo says:

    why!?!!!! no summer camp?!?! wdf?!?! is going on

  12. pablo says:

    a hard cap is needed for everybody involved- players, owners and fans. but $45 million??? that is crazy.

    if owners knew this was going to be a tough off-season, why was there such a spending spree last season? remember, Amare getting a max contract- despite knee issues? stop overspending if you know you’re losing money. come on. if you need to overspend to remain competitive (Lakers, Mavs, Celtics, and Magic) why set a hard cap at $45??? that is crazy. Lakers, Mavs, Magic, and Heat would exceed cap with 3-4 players.

    players are workers, not owners. yes they bring a lot to the table and generate revenue. however, it’s a business first and they need to understand that. they don’t set the demands. luckily for them they even have a voice. why? because of who buys the product….

    fans. if there is a lockout this sucks. as a Spurs fan i would hate to see a complete season lost, but if it happens that’s what you get when two intimately involved parties not able to compromise. not to that extent, but it’s like a marriage. and in our messed up culture couples too often end up getting divorce.

    so Billy Hunter (and Union) and David Stern (and Owners) need a big wake up call. both parties need to resolve the issue or both will end up losing a lot.

  13. BFOULDS says:


  14. basket bill says:

    This is just an idea, don’t know if it makes sense or not at all. How about just uniform salary divided into 2 or 3 groups. Group 1 salary players, team’s core group( superstars). Group 2 salary players, role players, Group 3 (optional) reserve players. Player”s performance is the identifier whether what group or salary bracket he will belong. Basically it’s just like salary grade for professionals that is based on evaluation of their performance.

  15. G says:

    This is what happens when you pay players too much, and then make them think that they deserve to earn more, they play a game for people to watch, without the fans, they are unemployed.

  16. BlackMamba24 says:

    david stern sucks…. no NBA next season for sure………. and im gonna start crying when that happens.


  17. Perspective Please says:

    This is what happens when there is too much money. These rich idiots need to wake up and realize that the NBA is a fan-friendly sport, go back to their ridiculous mansions and gain some perspective. The NBA had one of it’s most watched seasons this year and i for one was going to watch this upcoming season. these rich crybabies have made a mockery of this sport. I HATE IT.

    by the by I’m talking about both sides: Players and Management

  18. Rich says:

    I don’t get it. If the owners are the ones losing money, it should just be right for the players to give in at a certain level. It’s not like the players are losing money. In fact a lot of them are way over-paid. A great number of them are also not playing to their capabilities even after getting the contract they want, to avoid possible injuries – that’s why you see these players playing inconsistent and lazy. We as fans pay to see the players play. But at the same time you have to give it to the owners and the league that puts all these things together. Players may get the bigger piece of the pie but the owners should not lose money as well.

  19. mybloodissilverandblack says:

    And then the lockout ensues. Damn it all to hell.

  20. paw paw says:

    WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH AN EXTENTION OF THE CURRENT AGREEMENT? Are you not watching what the NFL is doing to the Fans!

    • James Naismith says:

      An extension does nothing, it just maintains the status quo on a broken system. New negotiations will go nowhere; this is a negotiating move so that now the owners have more leverage by not having to pay players. The league is dysfunctional and needs to fixed so it can function properly.

    • duddi1 says:

      get hard salary cap like in nhl i think is the best option for the league. and get more sposors who give the money for nba
      Lets do this dawid becouse year without nba ow i cant think about it !!!

  21. someguy says:

    2 billions for 450 players is still alot. The huge problem are players in the likes of Ben Gordon, Corey Magette and so on and GMs who offer those huge deals. In my opinion there should be performance-bound deals with a reasonable garantee and % for “stats”, which will be settled at signing day.

    • DontKillTheNBA says:

      As some players have already said – if you try and make salaries, sign on bonuses, etc based on stats then you are going to end up with players on the same team literally fighting over court time and the ball. Basketball is still a team effort (go Mavs!) and therefore paying individual players based directly on their stats is just asking for trouble.