NBA AM: No Movement In Lockout Stalemate
The early stage of the ongoing lockout was marred by plenty of media posturing and a lack of negotiating sessions between league owners and the players association. However, with the labor dispute now past the 130-day mark, gathering both sides to meet hasn’t been the issue. Getting them to concede on core issues to end the lockout has proved to be the stumbling block.
Wednesday marked the latest marathon negotiating session between the owners and players; with talks ending around 1 a.m. Thursday morning, but the meeting also produced a similar result – a stalemate.
Players union president Derek Fisher emerged from the closed session singing a familiar tune; one filled with slim hope while admitting there are still large obstacles to overcome before a deal can be reached.
“The fact that we don’t have a deal obviously let’s you know that there’s still a lot of work to be done on the system,” said Derek Fisher. “We’re going to meet again tomorrow to give it our best effort, but we’re not sure if that will be enough.”
After labor talks collapsed over the weekend NBA commissioner David Stern issued a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline for the players to accept the owners’ latest proposal which called for a 50-50 basketball related income (BRI) split and several system changes which include banning luxury tax paying teams from making sign-and-trade deals and utilizing the full mid-level exception to acquire talent.
The choice for the players union was simple according to Stern – accept the latest owner proposal or be prepared to receive a much more restrictive one to be issued in the future. One that would cap the players’ BRI split at 47 percent.
While the positive is that the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline came and went without the league closing up shop on negotiations, the flip side was that Stern wasn’t entirely optimistic on the direction of the ongoing talks.
“I would not read into this optimism or pessimism,” Stern told the assembled media. “We just continue to negotiate as we continue to negotiate. We’re not failing, and we’re not succeeding.”
Under the expired CBA players were earning a 57-43 percent share of BRI. The union has offered to reduce their percentage cut to 51 percent in a new deal which would represent a $275 million annual reduction. This would represent nearly $3 billion in reductions over the course of a ten-year CBA agreement.
Stern has maintained from the beginning that over seventy percent of the league’s franchises are operating with losses, creating the need to inject more parity, both on and off the court, and better position teams to turn an annual profit.
In essence, the league wants significant BRI distribution changes and system revisions which aid in creating more parity acquiring talent according to deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
“The competitive issues are independent of the economic issues,” Silver said. “And our goal is to have a system in which all 30 teams are competing for championships; and, if well managed, they have an opportunity to break even or make a profit. We don’t see the ability to break even or make a profit as a tradeoff for the ability to field a competitive team.”
Fisher explained the union’s reasoning for offering to accept a reduced BRI, but reiterated the players’ stance on maintaining certain system rights as they stand currently.
“We believe once the dollars are set, the system is just a matter of working conditions for players and having choices and rights within the system,” Fisher said. “It’s not about getting more dollars for players once the economic split is resolved.”
The union’s fear is that a more punitive luxury tax would restrict larger market teams from being as active in the free agent market and would effectively act as a quasi hard salary cap.
Complicating matters for the players’ association, there is a growing segment of players, driven by powerful agents, who are collecting signatures in a measure which would dissolve the union and take the battle to the owners to the judicial system.
The league has already cancelled all November regular season games, costing players roughly $350 million in salaries. With no deal in sight, scheduled games for December are possibly in jeopardy if significant progress isn’t made in negotiations soon.
Talks are scheduled to resume Thursday.
Glen Davis Wants A Labor Deal, Now: Free agent forward Glen Davis is not hiding the fact he wants to return to the court.
Last week the veteran forward took to Twitter urging the NBPA to accept the owners’ 50-50 BRI split proposal and end the lockout.
Davis also recently reiterated those views in an interview with Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
Yeah, that (tweet) was true for how I felt. I want to play, but at the same time I want us all to be on the right track. I want something that is going to be fair for both the owners and the players. We should get what we’re worth, but we should also get back to playing.
A lot of guys feel the way I do, because this is your livelihood. You went to school with the idea of making the NBA, and now here you are. A lot of pressures are popping up. You have to change the way you live.
I’ve been traveling a lot. It seems like every time I’m in an airport I see an NBA player. We all want to stand strong, for a purpose, and also for five or six years down the line. I don’t know how many guys want to accept the owners’ offer, but I think a lot of guys are in the middle.Some guys are saying, ‘What are we doing? We have to get back.’ There’s the chance players will be out of jobs for a whole year, and that bothers everyone.
Davis, who established himself as a solid role player as a member of the Boston Celtics, is expected to be a coveted free agent once the lockout ends.
Quick NCAA Note: Prep standout Glenn “Tre” Robinson III signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Michigan next season.
Robinson is the son of Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson the No. 1 pick of the 1994 NBA draft who starred collegiately at Purdue.
Robinson III, a 6’6 185 pound forward, averaged 22 points and 6 rebounds last season for Lake Central High School in Indiana.
NBA Chats: There are two chats on the schedule today. Joel Brigham is set to run the point at 1:30PM EST. Joel covers the Chicago Bulls and Eastern Conference. Be sure to get your questions in early. Next, HOOPSWORLD’s publisher Steve Kyler will host his chat at 3:30PM EST. Steve has the latest news regarding the lockout, trade rumors and offseason buzz. Submit your question here.You can always find the upcoming chats here.