NBA AM: Is It Time For A Deal?
Where Things Stand Today: This has become a common topic for my Friday AM report, however today it’s as important as anything going on in basketball.
So where do things stand with the NBA and its Players?
According to sources close to the situation just about where they were when the Players Association called it a day on Tuesday.
Sources close to the process say there has been informal communication by phone and e-mail, but that nothing substantive was completed yesterday and with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur set to begin at sundown today, there is almost no chance of a major meeting today or on Saturday, leaving Sunday as the lone day for the sides to meet and hammer out a deal before the NBA is forced to cancel the first two weeks of the NBA regular season.
Sources near this process have maintained for weeks that the framework of an agreeable deal is on the table, so it is not as if either side needs to create a miracle proposal in a single day. The work has been done. Both sides know the numbers back to front. It’s simply agreeing on a split.
There has been some talk that the Players Association may be deliberately stalling this process to force system compromises simply because of the limited time remaining before the NBA’s imposed Monday deadline.
The thought process is if there is only 24 hours to reach a deal, it is easier to say ‘let’s just use the old rules under a new economic revenue split’, and that does seem to be the path the process is on. It’s the path the Players have been pushing for throughout this process.
The lack of a formal face-to-face meeting is a bit alarming given what’s at stake; however, the truth of the matter is both sides have already hammered this issue to death, so it’s not like some huge change needs to occur, it is simply conceding to a middle ground which could happen quickly.
It is important to note that the NBA Players were prepared to lose paychecks to get the deal they want, so the NBA’s threat to cancel games is something the Players Association has been preparing for.
Now whether they will follow through is something else.
It has been well documented the amount of money that separates a deal on economics is far less than the amount of money both sides stand to lose if regular season games are cancelled – meaning a compromise by Sunday is smart business.
But as this process has shown, there is not a lot of smart business playing out and if games are indeed missed the process could and likely will derail quickly.
Sources close to the Owners side say if games are missed their stance on talks is going to change and change dramatically.
The best deal is on the table right now, it’s just a matter of both sides agreeing to a deal on Sunday.
The Agents: Earlier in the week seven of the more influential player agents sent letters to their clients urging them to be more active and involved in the labor process, specifically understanding and voting on the details of an eventual deal.
These letters did not sit well with some within the Players’ Association and the letters were characterized in the media as a negative move by agents that represent more than a fourth of the NBA, including some of the biggest names in the game.
The truth of the matter is the letter, which according to several players asked by text message was not read until after it became news in the press, was really more of an informational statement more than anything.
A common question asked is why are the agents getting involved and the simple answer is this… It’s not about contract commissions but protecting their guys now and their guys in the future.
An informed source joked yesterday that most players would go back to work for less than a 50/50 split of basketball related revenue. They want to play and in most cases they make more money than they can spend.
The agents know how antsy their clients are. They know that their clients would agree to a bad deal just to get back to work and get the gravy train flowing again.
NBA Players for the most part are short sighted. That is where the agents come in. It’s their job to make sure their clients are taken care of, even if it’s sometimes from themselves.
The agents are not trying to take over the labor process. Sure they’d love to have a louder voice in the process, but at the end of the day they are trying to look out for their current and future players.
The timing of the letter was odd for sure, but the intent was not to derail the process. It was to inform guys that are not involved and not paying attention that the details of this labor deal will impact their entire career.
Just as the fans are saying what’s 1% here or there, the Players for the most part are talking the same way.
Ask yourself this question… If you were giving your agent 3.5% of your earnings, and he let you screw yourself in a bad deal, would he be your agent anymore? That’s what the letter to the players was about.
Still Looking: When the Portland Trail Blazers released Rich Cho as their general manager after just 11 months on the job, the company line at the time was they would be extremely thorough in their quest to find a new GM.
Blazers’ president Larry Miller has been leading the charge to find a replacement GM, and after interviewing more than a half dozen candidates, Miller revealed this week he’d be expanding his search after notifying candidates they have already met with that they were not getting the job.
“I don’t want to get into specific details, but what I will say is that we are expanding our search,” Miller said to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. “We’re going to expand our candidate pool.”
Former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower and Philadelphia 76ers GM Ed Stefanski will be among the Blazers’ targets according to Freeman.
“We’re not the only team that’s taking the time to find the right GM candidate,” Miller said. “Other teams are going through a similar process; taking just as long as we are. Toronto and New York are going through this, too. It takes time. My hope is that we find the right person and I don’t have to go through this again anytime soon.”
With the possibility of the NBA’s 98-day Lockout coming to an end this weekend, the Blazers may have to begin free agency and training camp without a GM.
“Between (coach) Nate (McMillan) and Chad, the staff we have out there and myself, I think we will be able to navigate anything we need to navigate until we find a new GM,” Miller said.
The Blazers have tried to keep their GM search low key, however Oklahoma City assistant GM Troy Weaver, Cleveland Assistant GM David Griffin, former HEAT executive Randy Pfund are all believed to have interviewed for the job.
San Antonio’s Dennis Lindsey had been linked to the job at one point as did current Clippers’ executive Neil Olshey, neither is believed to have formally interviewed.
The Blazers fired Rich Cho on May 23rd and have had Chad Buchanan, the team’s director of college scouting, serving as acting general manager.
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