HoopsHype CBA rumors

November 15, 2014 Updates

Pablo Torre: The Collective Bargaining Agreement is a really long document. Have you read all of it? And, if so, what are your big takeaways? Michele Roberts: Initially it made my head explode. And I think it's still the kind of thing that you need to keep reading and reading and reading for it to make some sense. But the current CBA makes better sense now that I've read the preceding two. Because it appears to be an interesting narrative of what the league has been interested in having happen, in terms of its relationship with players, over a period of years. It wants, clearly, to do some things a) to protect itself, from itself; and b) to limit­ -- and it's almost the same thing -- to limit player salaries because it's unable to somehow get the owners to behave in a way that makes sense from an owner's perspective. In terms of some of the salary structures, it's a way to rein in the owners because they can't otherwise rein in themselves. ESPN.com

Michele Roberts: It doesn't make sense to me that you're suddenly eligible and ready to make money when you're 20, but not when you're 19, not when you're 18. In my opinion -- and we have yet to get official word from the players association -- but I suspect that the association will agree that this is not going to be one that they will agree to easily. There is no other profession, again, that says that you're old enough to die but not old enough to work. ESPN.com

PT: Does it strike you as strange that the suggestion that the players might request over 50 percent of basketball-related income, maybe materially more than 50 percent, sounds radical in this landscape? MR: Let's put it this way: I have never heard anyone complain about the amount of money George Clooney makes. No one says a peep about the fact that this guy makes probably more than the highest-paid player in the NBA. It's mind-boggling to me that people think that the players make too much given that this is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and they do not enjoy most of the money that's being made. It is insane to suggest that these men make more money than they deserve. It is insane. ESPN.com

November 13, 2014 Updates

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on Tuesday in response to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts' statements about the salary cap. From the press release: Adam Silver: “We couldn't disagree more with these statements. The NBA's success is based on the collective efforts and investments of all of the team owners, the thousands of employees at our teams and arenas, and our extraordinarily talented players. No single group could accomplish this on its own. Nor is there anything unusual or “un-American” in a unionized industry to have a collective system for paying employees -- in fact, that's the norm. CBSSports.com

Adam Silver: “The Salary Cap system, which splits revenues between team owners and players and has been agreed upon by the NBA and the Players Association since 1982, has served as a foundation for the growth of the league and has enabled NBA players to become the highest paid professional athletes in the world. We will address all of these topics and others with the Players Association at the appropriate time.” CBSSports.com

Roberts also would like to keep investigating the prospect of shortening the 82-game season, a desire already expressed by superstars such as LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki. "Every time a player gets hurt, I think, my God, they really are pushing their bodies," she said. "And back-to-backs, those are the ones I really find disturbing. ... So the answer, of course, is that everybody wants a shorter season. The tension is, Will that mean less money? And that's something we need to talk about and think about. ... I don't think it would hurt the game to shorten the season." NBA.com

In fact, Roberts doesn't think that teams are hurting for money, period -- even if she did recently hear Silver report that roughly one-third of NBA franchises are still unprofitable. "I initially just started laughing, to be honest with you," she said of her reaction to that statistic. "I know that as a result of the last CBA, at least 1.3 billion dollars in revenue that would have otherwise been on the players' side is now on the owners' side. I see the valuations of these teams going though the roof. ... How much more do you need to make money?" ESPN.com

So how has the NBA managed to successfully institute legislation that, in Roberts' view, is both opposed to this country's capitalistic principles and her players' best interests? "No one wants to say it out loud, but it's a monopoly," she said. "And were there alternatives, they wouldn't get away with it." "I'll give the league credit," she added. "They have done a great job controlling the narrative." ESPN.com

NBA union executive director Michele Roberts believes the NBA owners are expendable, that players deserve more than a 50-50 split in basketball-related income and that the salary cap needs to be abolished. "Why don't we have the owners play half the games?" Roberts said in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. "There would be no money if not for the players. "Let's call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money," Roberts said, adding emphasis after each word. "Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys go? The game will change. So let's stop pretending." FoxSports.com

"I don't know of any space other than the world of sports where there's this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone's able to make, just because," she said, talking about the league's salary cap, which limits a team's ability to spend on players. "It's incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it. "I can't understand why the [players' association] would be interested in suppressing salaries at the top if we know that as salaries at the top have grown, so have salaries at the bottom," she said. "If that's the case, I contend that there is no reason in the world why the union should embrace salary caps or any effort to place a barrier on the amount of money that marquee players can make." FoxSports.com

November 4, 2014 Updates

There will be a massive jump for the 2016-17 season, kicking in right when Durant enters free agency. No one knows how high the cap will go that summer. If left unchecked, it could blow past $90 million. The league and players’ union are discussing plans that would artificially deflate the 2016-17 cap and introduce new TV money into the system more smoothly. The league has pitched several versions of such a plan, including some that set the 2016-17 cap anywhere from $78 million to $82 million, per multiple league sources. Grantland

October 31, 2014 Updates

"I can say that I was more than surprised," Roberts told Yahoo Sports in an interview. "I am not suggesting that Adam is telling a lie. I am sure that the owners told him that. But it's difficult for me to believe that, especially after looking at the 2011 CBA negotiations and seeing all the money the players don't have now. There's $1.1 billion that the players would've been otherwise entitled. "I find it very difficult to appreciate how any owners could suggest they're still losing money. It defies common sense. We know what the franchise values are. I don't have to say '$2 billion' again and again, do I? "The gate receipts, the media deals. What else do you need to make money? We are not going to reengage in a process where this happens again. The NBA's cries of poverty will not fly this time." Yahoo! Sports

October 29, 2014 Updates
October 22, 2014 Updates
October 20, 2014 Updates

But she also was brought in to try and clean up the mess and dysfunction left behind in the wake of the players forcing Billy Hunter out in 2013 “I do agree that, on one level, I was hired to be a fighter,” Roberts told The Post in a lengthy and candid interview inside the union’s Harlem headquarters last week. “Any executive director needs to understand that’s a part of what he or she is going to be expected to do. “But I think what is equally important, for me, is to repair what has been a foundation that has been subjected to some injury by, unfortunately, my predecessor. What we don’t have, and what we will have, is a management structure that is both able to interact with our counterparties with the league and elsewhere, but a structure that allows the players to do unequivocally what they want to do, and that’s run their own union…. They didn’t hire me, and they were not interested in hiring, someone to run things for them, to simply let them know what’s going on.” New York Post

October 19, 2014 Updates

“Things change so rapidly in business that you can’t predict two years from now,” Cuban said. “I think I read it [the salary cap] could go to $91 [million], but I haven’t done the math.” Asked what he thinks about the players wanting to do away with maximum contracts, opening the door for monster deals for monster players, Cuban said: “If you give up guarantees, it’s a trade-off. It was discussed during the lockout [in 2011] among owners but never got anywhere. So it was just one of those trial balloons. I’m not suggesting it. All I’m saying is that was something we discussed before, and max contracts are always a big question, guarantees are always a big question. But we have two years before that’s even an issue.” Dallas Morning News

October 9, 2014 Updates

The other part is while smoothing, by way of a lump sum payment is a neat and clean way for the NBA to deal with a new influx of cash with a huge jump in the salary cap, how the Player’s Association would distribute those funds becomes unclear as well. They could simply issue an equal installment to every player, or devise some sort of formula to issue monies based on some criteria like percentage of cap. One league source suggested that a lump sum payment could be, at least in part, held back as a war chest of sorts for what’s expected to be a labor fight in 2017, when the players are expected to opt out of the current CBA. Basketball Insiders

With new leadership in place on the player’s side it will be interesting to see if new Executive Director Michele Roberts uses this opportunity to buy some good will among the rank and file, by way of a nice lump sum check to every player, rather than fighting a smoothing plan and letting the 140 or so players headed to free agency absorb the gains from the new TV deal. This is issue is far from decided, so there will clearly be more to know in the coming weeks, however team sources say they are not planning for a massive cap increase in 2016, so that’s at least one indicator that something on the smoothing front could be agreed to. Basketball Insiders

October 7, 2014 Updates

Owners claiming losses in the next negotiations "will not fly with us," he said. The CBA expires after the 2020-21 season but either players or owners can opt out of the deal after 2016-17. "The owners were telling us they were losing money. There's no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now," James said. USA Today Sports

The league right now projects a jump to $66.5 million for 2015-16, a modest rise pegged to the final year of that modest $930 million TV deal. If the new TV deal kicks in for the 2016-17 season just shy of $2 billion, the cap could exceed that same $14 million leap, all the way to around $80-plus million, in a single year. If for some reason the new TV deal starts north of $2 billion in the first year — meaning it would include smaller year-over-year jumps — the cap for 2016-17 could leap even higher. If it started at that exact $2.68 billion figure, it would break $90 million, according to my own math and some bleary-eyed late-Sunday projections from cap gurus around the league. The plans as of now are to start at $2.1 billion in 2016-17, the first year of the deal, and escalate in even year-over-year increments to a peak of $3.1 billion in the final year, per sources who have reviewed a memo the league sent to teams today. Grantland

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