NBA PM: Issues With the Latest Offer
The NBA’s latest offer of a 50-50 split of basketball-related income initially sounded promising. Commissioner David Stern discussed the possibility of a 72-game season beginning Dec. 15 and former Knicks president Dave Checketts prematurely declared a deal had been struck.
But sources who have been involved with the negotiations since the onset of the lockout told HOOPSWORLD that most changes to the system in the Players’ favor were negated by another system change in the Owners’ favor. Now there’s a sense that the Owners’ latest offer will not be approved by the 30 player representatives early next week, which means the Players might not get a chance to vote on it as a whole.
Specifically, the union executive committee isn’t pleased with, among other things, the changes to the mid-level exception. Yes, the owners moved the mini, bi-annual mid-level exception from two years to three years while pushing its yearly salary from $2.5 million to $3 million. However teams on the cusp of falling into the luxury tax would be prevented from using the mid-level exception because the latest offer largely prevents teams from spending themselves beyond the luxury tax threshold. In other words, teams would be allowed to go into the luxury tax if its current players’ yearly raises push the team past the luxury tax threshold, but teams would be prevented from using the mid-level exception to do so.
Such systematic changes don’t sound unpalatable from the Players’ perspective, but it’s becoming apparent that the Players care more about the system than their cut of BRI (see Bill Ingram’s section below for more) because they want freedom to play where they choose.
There was a sense that the 30 player representatives would approve a deal from the Owners on Tuesday, but sources told HOOPSWORLD that executive director Billy Hunter systematically went around the room explaining to each representative why that offer would be bad for them personally and bad for their respective teams. And if the 30 player reps remain unsold on the latest deal, there isn’t much of a chance that they’ll turn it over to their constituents for a vote. Interestingly enough, sources have told HOOPSWORLD that most players and agents would be satisfied with the deal that is on the table, but that doesn’t matter unless the player reps approve it for a vote.
The other issue is Stern’s latest ultimatum (which sounds like an oxymoron). The commissioner said that if the Players don’t accept this offer then all subsequent offers will roll back the Players’ cut of BRI to 47% and install many systematic changes in the Owners’ favor. The Players largely aren’t buying this latest threat, according to sources, which suggests they’d try to continue negotiating.
Player representatives will convene early next week (probably Tuesday) to decide their next move, but don’t expect the lockout to end so quickly. Even if the Players are in favor of this deal as a whole, there is still the chance that the player reps prevent a vote from taking place because they’re more familiar with the details of the offer.
The Only Issue That Matters To Players
This section was written and reported by HOOPSWORLD Senior NBA Editor Bill Ingram
Over the last few months we’ve heard a lot of legalese and plenty of heated arguments thrown back and forth as the NBA Players and Owners fight it out over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. About the only thing that has changed over that time is that terms have become more defined, though there is still no real path to a compromise in sight.
Today HOOPSWORLD spoke with a key member of the 30-player team that is representing the rest of their peers in the latest round of discussions with the owners, and he made the entire thing really simple.
We’ve heard everyone talking about the BRI split, the existence and use of the Mid-Level Exception, and other issues, but the only issue that matters to the Players at this point is “freedom of movement.”
That’s it. When you hear the players talk about “system issues,” what they mean is, quite simply, the freedom a player has to choose where he wants to play.
The owners have been working hard to level the playing field from a competitive standpoint, trying to help small market teams compete with the bigger markets by proposing limits on sign-and-trade deals, the use of salary cap exceptions and other restrictions for teams that are over the luxury tax threshold.
Very simply, the Players see that as a way that the Owners are looking to limit their options, and they find that to be completely unacceptable. They are unwilling to sign and deal that they feel limits a player’s ability to sign with any team that is willing to sign him.
We have also heard some talk of decertification starting up again, with some players seeing decertification of the union as a path to returning to the NBA hardwoods. Our source was adamant in saying “that’s the worst decision we could possibly make. The NBA has more money, better attorneys, and the best of everything. If we attempt to decertify, we will fail.”
The other issue that is sabotaging the Players’ efforts at putting forth a unified front is, according to our source, “uninformed players tweeting out bad information or reacting to bad information.” Players who are using Twitter to say it’s time to take the NBA’s offer are, according to our source, hurting the overall cause.
To the players who think it’s time to make a deal, our source offered the following advice: “Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher are standing by waiting for your call, no matter what time of day or night. You need to stay informed, and the only way to do that is to make sure you’re getting the best information right from the guys at the top. Before you tweet something, make sure you’ve talked to Hunter or Fisher.”
Despite the premature optimism we heard from New York yesterday, the NBA lockout is still in full force, and it seems there really has been little or no progress through the latest round of talks. The Players are unwilling to agree to anything that limits their ability to play wherever they choose, and as long as the Owners insist on measures that cause such limitation, we will not have a 2011-12 NBA season. Frankly, our source suggests, the Players are almost resigned to the possibility that two or three seasons may be lost if the Owners continue their hardline stance.
Not Lockout News
Stealing stuff from Shawn Bradley is pretty stupid when you think about it, but that didn’t stop someone in Murray, Utah from taking the 7-6 former NBA center’s bike, according to the Associated Press.
“There was no way they could have ridden it,” Bradley told the reporter prior the recovery of the vehicle. “It’s kind of baffling. I think it will turn up.”
Bradley, who had a lean, lanky frame during his playing days, ballooned up to 330 pounds following his retirement and so he decided to take up biking. Obviously a normal bike wouldn’t do much for Bradley, so he had one made with an 80-centimeter carbon fiber-aluminum frame.
“It’s a stolen bike, not the end of the world,” Bradley said before its return. “It’s just kind of a weird story. It’s not like I can go down to the bike shop and buy a new bike. It’d be the same if my clothes were stolen.”
The suspected thief is 34-year-old Joshua, who stands 6-0. Bradley has a gate around his house, so it’s not clear how the bike—valued between $6,000 and $10,000—was taken, but the burglar neglected to grab any of the other, normal-sized bikes or a $200 pair of Oakley sunglasses.
Bradley assumed that the bike was stolen to be sold.
In any case, Bradley is healthier once again. He’s dropped around 30 pounds, according to the article, and even rode from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyo. in the past year, which is about a 190-mile jaunt.
“It’s changed my body and when I ride the bike in the morning, I want to eat healthy the rest of the day,” he said. “It’s a mental game I play with myself.”
Bradley wasn’t the greatest NBA player, but it’s nice to see that he’s healthier and that he’s gotten his bicycle back.
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