Posts Tagged ‘Labor talks’

Is There Really Time For 72 Games?

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — We don’t know all the details of the NBA’s proposal, but we know that the players have a decision to make early next week. And if they choose to accept the deal, we’ll have a 72-game schedule beginning on Dec. 15.

In the league’s news conference on Thursday night, Adam Silver said that the playoffs would be pushed back “roughly a week.” The original schedule ends on April 18, so the revised one would end on or about April 25. That gives the league 132 days to play 1,080 games.

Last week, we noted that a 72-game schedule that started on Dec. 1 and ended on April 30 would have the same pace as a standard, 82-game schedule that begins around Nov. 1. But when you remove 19 calendar days from that hypothetical 72-game schedule, you get a pace about equal to the 50-game, post-lockout schedule that was played in 1999.

And when you take away four days for All-Star Weekend (which was canceled in ’99), you have teams playing slightly more games per week than they did in ’99, when they played some back-to-back-to-backs.

Schedule pace

Season G/Team Total G Days G/Day Team G/Week
Normal 82 1,230 *166 7.4 3.46
1998-99 50 725 90 8.1 3.89
2011-12 72 1,080 *128 8.4 3.94

* Subtracting four days for All-Star Weekend.

As we laid it out last week, a 72-game schedule allows every team to play in every arena at least once. Each team would play the 15 teams in the other conference two times and the 14 teams in their own conference three times.

There are obvious reasons for maximizing the number of games played in the available timeframe. With 72 games, the players would only be losing out on 12 percent (10/82) of their salary, and owners would only be losing five home games of revenue.

But if the players approve this deal, get ready for a schedule with very little time for practice or recovery from aches and pains.

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.”

Stern bullish on NBA being profitable

CHICAGO – The NBA owners contend that they will suffer an estimated $300 million in combined losses for this 2011-12 season. The players’ union believes that number is significantly smaller, owning to alternative accounting methods. Both sides remain far apart overall in negotiations of a new collective bargaining agreement, fanning fears of an extended labor lockout after the current pact expires June 30.

So, NBA commissioner David Stern was asked Wednesday, what level of financial losses would the league find acceptable? The question got a swift rebuke from Stern.

“We’re not going to lose any money,” Stern said. “I’m not going to be commissioner of a league that is comfortable [losing money]. Because I don’t have a group of owners who find it acceptable for me to have that conversation with them.

“You don’t have $4 billion worth of revenue and pay out over $2 billion in salary and benefits to lose money. It’s something that we have sort of gotten used to as the revenues have gone up … but the world has changed about the prospect for all franchises, the world has changed for a lot of reasons – and economically – and now people who make investments in buildings and things expect not to lose money.”

Stern was in town to formally present the NBA Most Valuable Player Award to Chicago’s Derrick Rose before tipoff of Game 2 of the Bulls-Hawks playoff series at United Center. In meeting with reporters, Stern declined to respond to reports that the union was unhappy with the owners’ latest proposal, delivered last week.

He did expound more freely on Rose and one reporter’s mention in the same sentence of Rose and Michael Jordan. Not that Stern was in a comparing mood.

“I do know that he is the youngest MVP, that he deserves the award that he’s getting tonight, he had a heckuva season and he’s a heckuva teammate,” the commissioner said. “So you can check it all off – he’s a heck of a player.

“If we can keep him healthy, he’s going to have some career. And there are a lot of players who would like him not have this trophy next year.”

Blogtable: Second half stories

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Which under-the-radar story will you be looking out for in the second half of the season?

Steve Aschburner:Wish it weren’t so, but the labor talks between the owners and the players – or the lack of such talks – will pound louder and louder and dominate most NBA-insider conversations as this season goes on. April, May and June are the happiest times of the year in the NBA – except when July looms so ominously.

Fran Blinebury: Despite the fact that they used a coordinated push from the business community to draw two large crowds against San Antonio and Oklahoma City to reach the attendance goal specified in their lease, it will be important to watch the support the Hornets receive at home the rest of the way.  If the team stays in the thick of the Western Conference playoff and attendance doesn’t increase without artificial stimulus, then the future of the NBA in New Orleans will remain an issue bubbling beneath the surface.

Art Garcia: I’m wondering if this season just drives George Karl out of his mind and he either retires or resigns. He’s been honest yet reserved when asked about all the turmoil surrounding his Nuggets, at least on the record. Not sure if any other coach out there can deal with a circus better than George, though he has contributed to the craziness in the past. In this case, he’s been around too long and is too good to basically have to babysit this group. (more…)