- HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors - http://www.hoopsworld.com -
NBA Saturday: Are the Owners Divided?
Posted By Alex Kennedy On October 22, 2011 @ 9:08 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Throughout the course of the NBA’s labor negotiations, many have wondered how long the players can remain united. At the end of the day, the number of players living from paycheck to paycheck on minimum contracts outnumbers the stars that warrant maximum deals.
JaVale McGee’s recent comments that some players are “ready to fold” showed that there are some individuals who would give in to the owners’ demands in order to get back on the court as soon as possible. The bench warmer has different opinions and needs than the superstar, which is why there will always be talk of division among the players.
With that said, the owners sitting across the table are just as, if not more, divided than the players. The small-market owners and large-market owners don’t see eye to eye and have very different goals and ideas when it comes to the next collective bargaining agreement.
“The likes of Jerry Buss, Jim Dolan, Mickey Arison and Mark Cuban, I think those are folks who want a deal,” Billy Hunter told reporters on Thursday. “They were open to all kinds of proposals and suggestions, anything that could move the ball. But I think there are a group of owners, the small markets in particular, who are dug in and carrying the day. There are more of them than there are big markets. The bigger market guys, the ones anxious to cut a deal, don’t have the votes.”
The owners have an even wider spectrum than the players when it comes to each individual’s net worth. Leslie Alexander and Peter Holt are each worth $80 million whereas Paul Allen and Mikhail Prokhorov are each worth over $13 billion.
Also, every owner sees the world in a different light. Holt in San Antonio won’t want the same collective bargaining agreement as Buss in Los Angeles. The system changes being proposed by the owners would even the playing field between the successful large-market teams and the struggling small-market teams.
Why would the deep pocketed owners in large markets want competitive balance, which is designed to take away the advantage they hold over their peers?
The small market versus large market battle has played out behind closed doors and it’s one of the biggest reasons that progress hasn’t been made despite all of the hours spent at the negotiating table. For every large-market owner, there are several small-market owners who aren’t willing to budge.
“Paul Allen, Peter Holt, Wyc Grousbeck, Robert Sarver and Dan Gilbert are all hard-liners,” said one NBPA source. “They are stopping the progress.”
While the predominant storyline has been about the players budging come November 16, when they miss their first check, there is just as much division among the owners. Unfortunately, the small-market owners are the majority, and the large-market owners likely won’t be able to sway their peers.
Minor Issues Resolved: After last week’s talks abruptly broke down, there was plenty of negativity to go around. The two sides had never seemed further apart, and both indicated that the next meeting could be weeks away given what transpired during the marathon negotiations.
However, there were some positives to take out of last week’s meetings. Progress was made on a number of fronts. While they were only minor issues, the two sides reached tentative agreements on three concepts. Howard Beck of The New York Times reports:
• There will be a one-time “amnesty” provision that will allow each team to waive a player (with pay) without his salary counting against the salary cap.
• There will be a “stretch” exception, available every year, allowing teams to waive players and stretch out their remaining salary over a number of seasons, thus reducing the annual salary-cap hit.
• The midlevel exception will be set around $5 million, a decrease of $800,000, but more than double what the owners were seeking.
Knowing that the two sides were making progress and finally gaining some momentum on system changes, it doesn’t make sense that the owners came to Thursday’s meeting with a “take it or leave it” ultimatum related to the 50-50 revenue split.
While those three issues are a start, there are still a number of hurdles for future bargaining sessions. The two sides have yet to agree on contract lengths or annual raises, and they remain far apart on the luxury-tax system as well.
Hickson Signs Abroad: J.J. Hickson is the latest player to sign overseas after inking a deal with Bnei Hasharon in Israel. For several weeks, Hickson was undecided about signing abroad, but decided to take the deal after last week’s bargaining sessions didn’t yield progress.
Hickson will join LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter on Bnei Hasharon, who both had excellent college basketball careers at Baylor University.
The power forward’s contract includes an NBA opt-out clause that would allow Hickson to return to the Sacramento Kings whenever the lockout comes to an end.
Hickson will be replacing Trevor Booker of the Washington Wizards, whose stint in Israel ended after he suffered a bruise thigh. Andy Miller is the agent for both Booker and Hickson.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There are no chats on today’s schedule. To view HOOPSWORLD”s upcoming chat schedule, click here.
Article printed from HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors: http://www.hoopsworld.com
URL to article: http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-saturday-are-the-owners-divided
Copyright © 2012 HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.