NBA Saturday: Threat of Decertification
On Thursday, the NBA presented a revised proposal to the NBPA and extended their ultimatum to Tuesday afternoon. If the union rejects this offer after meeting with their executive committee and team representatives on Monday, the league’s next proposal will be significantly worse for the players since it’ll include a 53-47 split in favor of the owners and a flex cap among other restrictive elements.
Multiple sources close to the NBPA insist that they won’t accept the offer, which leaves the players with limited options going forward. They could try to call Stern’s bluff, as they did last week, but how many times will that work? Rather than continuing this stare off, there are a growing number of players who are interested in exploring the possibility of dissolving the union.
Yesterday, a dozen players were on a conference call that focused primarily on decertification. Agents are now working together to organize these calls and collect signatures for a decertification petition. Players have received the form by mail in recent weeks and have been encouraged to send the signed document back to their agent.
The agents need about 130 signatures to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board, which would force a vote to dissolve the union within 45 days. Agents have reportedly received over 200 signatures so decertification is looming if the NBA and NBPA continue to experience setbacks.
Even if the players don’t ultimately vote for decertification, expect the paperwork to be filed in the near future. That’s because the players hope the threat of decertification will make the owners change their proposal during that 45-day waiting period. Do the owners really want to enter an ugly legal battle over these relatively minor system issues? The players hope that decertification can be avoided and the threat alone will affect the NBA’s next proposal.
There is some star power behind the decertification movement. Paul Pierce has organized calls and players such as Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard are reportedly on board. Deron Williams has also shown his support, tweeting that he’s supported decertification since July.
But are the owners really scared of the possibility of decertification? Last night, Stern did a nationally-televised interview with ESPN and threatened that all guaranteed contracts could be voided if players decide to dissolve the union.
“[Decertification] is actually calculated to, one, [serve] as a tactic to improve their bargaining position and, two, making it even more likely that there won’t be a season,” Stern said. “If the union is not in existence, then neither are $4 billion worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into under condition that there’s a union. So if the agents insist on playing with fire, my guess is that they would get themselves burned.”
“I refuse to contemplate the loss of a season,” he continued. “It’s going to be too painful for the players and the owners alike. But we’ll still be here, we’ll pick up the pieces and do the best we can under the circumstances. That’s not an eventuality that I anticipate or look forward to. It’s all in the hands of the players.”
If Stern does yield all guaranteed contracts nonexistent, he can expect many more legal battles in his near future. Several agents insist that they’ll file lawsuits if contracts are voided as a result of decertification.
The players are going to lose this game, just take a look at all of the concessions they’ve made throughout this process. But the owners don’t want a win, they want a blowout. They want the basketball-related income split in their favor and the system issues more restrictive than in recent years. The threat of decertification may be the only way that the players can walk away from this with some of the system revisions they’ve asked the NBA to consider. Whether or not the owners will budge remains to be seen. There’s no mercy rule in labor negotiations.
Hall of Fame Nominees Announced: The NBA has announced this year’s nominees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. New nominees include Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Jerry Krause and Vlade Divac, who will join returning headliner Reggie Miller as candidates for the Class of 2012.
Nominations are the first official step in the Hall of Fame voting process. Next, a candidate must receive at least seven of nine votes from a screening committee during voting in late-January or early-February to become a finalist. The finalists will be announced at NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Anyone who makes that cut will be judged by a separate committee in late-February or early-March and need at least 18 of 24 votes to be inducted. The winners will be announced at the NCAA’s Final Four in New Orleans.
Miller was eligible last year, but didn’t receive enough votes to become a finalist. He’ll try to follow in the footsteps of Dennis Rodman, who wasn’t even a finalist in his first year of eligibility but went on to be elected in year two.
Al Attles, John Bach, Dick Bavetta, Maurice Cheeks, Lefty Driesell, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Curt Gowdy (contributor category), Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Mark Jackson, Bernard King, Jerry Krause, Reggie Miller, Dick Motta, Don Nelson, Billy Packer (contributor), Rick Pitino, Paul Silas (as a player), George Raveling (contributor), Mitch Richmond, Ralph Sampson, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gene Shue, Jim Valvano (contributor), Donnie Walsh (contributor), Gary Williams, Paul Westphal (as a player) and Jamaal Wilkes make up the North American section of the ballot.
NBA Releases Proposal Details: Twitter has been an excellent tool for following the NBA’s labor talks. Reporters are constantly tweeting updates, players share their opinions on the negotiations and both sides have been able to get their message out directly to fans.
Last night, the NBA’s account released some of the details of their revised proposal:
Over last CBA, only 4 sign-and-trades by taxpayers that new rule would have prohibited
NBA Proposal: Repeat tax rates apply only when team is taxpayer 4 out of 5 yrs (not 3 out of 5)
NBA Proposal: Players retain full Bird rights
NBA Proposal: Ability to stretch waived player’s salary frees up more money for teams to spend on FAs
NBA Proposal: Plyr-friendly changes 4 restricted FAs: qualifying offers higher & 100% guaranteed, shorter match period 4 offer sheets
NBA Proposal: Increased minimum team salary – from 75% of cap to 90%
NBA Proposal: Projected max salaries range from $13M to $19M and growing
NBA Proposal: New trade rules to promote more player movement
NBA Proposal: Projected tax level ranges from $70M-$85M over next 6 years; more than enough money to keep teams together
NBA Proposal: More cap exceptions for teams who are not taxpayers…
Fact: Under prior CBA, only 3 players per season received more than $5M salary using mid-level exception
NBA Proposal: More mid-levels than 2005 CBA: $5M for non-taxpayers, $3M for taxpayers, $2.5M for room team
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There’s only one chat on today’s schedule. Susan Bible’s weekly chat will get underway at 11 p.m. ET. Submit your questions early because this chat fills up fast. To view HOOPSWORLD’s upcoming chat schedule, click here.