HoopsHype CBA rumors


January 28, 2014 Updates

A distant third behind the NFL and baseball through the 1980s, the NBA is now a behemoth. With the owners slicing the players’ 58-42 share of revenue to 50-50 in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, profits and franchise values are ramping up. In an eye-popping bequest to his successor, Adam Silver’s first major piece of business will be to negotiate new network TV deals amid projections that rights fees could double from the current $930 million a season. Forbes.com

The 2011 labor talks were a masterpiece for Stern, despite the fact he was no longer the absolute ruler he had been for 20 years, when Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, a force behind the scenes in baseball, didn’t attend NBA meetings, saying everything was already decided. Two sources in the room described an exchange between Stern and the Clippers' Donald Sterling at an owners meeting in Las Vegas in the run-up to the lockout. Pressed by Stern for his opinion, Sterling demurred, then blurted, “I would fire you. You're great at marketing but you're not tough enough with the union.” Forbes.com

...There was real pressure from new breed owners like Dallas’ Mark Cuban and an insurgent small market coalition. Stern adeptly made their draconian demands his and delivered, staying well away from a January drop-dead date by sheer sleight of hand. With the players looking at seven weeks of lost paychecks, counting start-up time, Stern offered to make three of them up if they settled in time to start on Christmas. They did. Forbes.com

With the economy struggling and ad budgets slashed in 2001, the NBA was in the wrong place at the wrong time when talks began for a post-MJ TV deal. NBC’s Bob Ebersol, who had walked away from the NFL four years before, offered a 33% cut from $1.8 billion to $1.2 billion--going that high only because Stern had invited the Walt Disney Co. into the process. Noting Disney's losses from televising NFL games at sky-high rates, media analyst Brian Schecter told the New York Times, “If David Stern pulls this out of his hat, he's a true magician of TV rights negotiations.” Stern pulled a six-year deal averaging $767 million out of his hat--with Disney paying $485 million of it, 50% more than NBC offered--taking the bulk of his package to (gasp) cable with ABC airing fewer games and only two rounds of the playoffs and the rest on ESPN and Turner. Daring as it seemed at the time ("Cable is said to muscle out NBC for NBA rights," said the New York Times headline), it carried the league to the brink of a better day. Forbes.com

January 4, 2014 Updates
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March 8, 2013 Updates

First, let's examine why this is happening now. The answer is because the lack of an HGH test has finally become embarrassing to the league and union. HGH is a substance with undeniable potential to help NBA players. It's widely discussed and available from any number of doctors and clinics. And Olympians have been tested for it since 2004. And yet the powers that be in the major North American leagues clung to the theory that the test was not reliable. That argument was always weak. The chief science officer at the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Larry Bowers, testified before Congress recently that HGH tests are so good that “the chances of an athlete who has not used synthetic growth hormone testing positive are comparable to the chance of that same athlete being struck by lightning during his or her lifetime.” He added that those questioning the tests were “lawyers, not scientists.” ESPN.com

During collective bargaining, the topic of biological passports was never broached, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. So it came as news to the union that the HGH blood test was viewed by the commissioner as a "precursor" to biological passports, since that aspect of drug policy was never negotiated. So it isn't necessarily that the players object to biological passports, which are baseline measurements from which departures can indicate the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The subject was never negotiated, and in order for it to happen, the players would have to agree to it. CBSSports.com


The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are close to an agreement to test players' blood for human growth hormone (HGH), according to sources with direct knowledge of the talks. Testing could begin as soon as the 2013-14 season. The NBA has long had HGH on its list of banned substances, but has never tested for it, because doing so means collecting players' blood, which the union has never allowed, and because there was little agreement about the test's reliability. ESPN.com


Terms of the 2011 NBA collective bargaining agreement created a committee to hash out the particulars of HGH testing. Progress had been slow, until recently. There has also been pressure from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which chided the NBA for "gaps" in their testing program last fall, as well as the U.S. Congress. In late 2012, Rep. Elijah Cummings called delaying HGH testing over concerns about the test "incredibly ridiculous." ESPN.com

March 4, 2013 Updates

"It's my business," Iguodala said. "That was part of the whole reason why so much of what happened, happened. Where we come from, guys aren't used to having what we have, and having access to it. So something like the union, it may not be as important to guys as it should be. But it's kind of like, we have to wake the guys up. They've got to have awareness. "I think guys have concerns and questions, but as long as those checks are coming in, they can get full. They can get satisfied. There's something that's bigger than just us. We've got to move forward for the guys coming in, and the next collective bargaining, and the one after that, and the one after that. "You have to set an environment of, this is how we handle business. We're going to get, the stereotypes are going to be, a bunch of African- American men, as long as they're getting paid, they're going to be fine with that. But we want to make it known where it's common that we care about our business, and we're involved. I think I can help in that area." NBA.com

There are a number of issues yet to be resolved from the lockout, including the "B List" non-economic issues. The league is hoping to get an agreement with the union on a new drug test for Human Growth Hormone. Commissioner David Stern said last month that he believes a deal will be worked out with the union on a blood test for HGH by next season. The NBPA has balked at making an agreement on HGH, but with the National Football Players Association and the Major League Baseball Players Association well down the road toward agreements for new HGH tests, the handwriting seems on the wall for the basketball union. NBA.com

March 3, 2013 Updates

But the dramatic drop from 11 first-round picks traded two years ago to just one this year illustrates the impact of the escalating luxury taxes that will take effect next year. Players making less are suddenly worth more. Much more. “Teams right now are scared of money,” one league executive said recently. Akron Beacon Journal

February 22, 2013 Updates

What Stern, Hunter, Adam Silver and the rest accomplished two summers ago became as clear as daylight Thursday. They turned the NBA into the NFL -- the No Fun League -- when it comes to the trades and in-season player movement. No more stars forcing trades to the markets of their choosing with the reward of max dollars forming the cherry on top. "This is a pure CBA deadline," one general manager said Thursday after the dust settled. "If you can't get a first for J.J. Redick, this is a different world. That guy is a surefire lock to garner a first round pick in the past." CBSSports.com

February 21, 2013 Updates

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