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February 28, 2015 Updates
February 23, 2015 Updates

"I'm my own guy," he said. "I understand how important the business of basketball is. The National Basketball Association is the National Business Association. I understand that. For me, I want to make sure that I'm protected, and the players are protected, and the league. You know, both sides want to continue to build this beautiful league that we have. The All-Star Game was (televised) in more than 200 countries in the world, and we want to continue that. We want to continue the drive what we have. Hopefully both sides can come to an agreement that fits both sides." NBA.com

It's not likely that owners would go after the max-salaried guys. But the game's stars have long been frustrated by what they believe is an artificial limitation placed on what they can earn, especially compared to players in baseball that make tens of millions more. That will be one of the issues about which James has to get up to speed. "It takes about a year," Jones said. "You really have to go to the summer meetings to get a full grasp of what the union is about, and then have some time to look at the CBA, look at the issues, look at the areas for improvement and look beyond those things. Because as we see with this new CBA, every deadline, every two months something unfolds that is an unintended consequence of this deal being struck." NBA.com

February 18, 2015 Updates

Following the 2010-11 season, owners were able to negotiate a CBA that was more in their favor, cutting the players' share of basketball-related income from 57 percent to roughly 50, costing them millions in annual salaries. That contract runs through 2021, but with the economic boost — $2.6 billion per year — coming from the TV contract, players will fight harder for a larger portion of the pie. "We want to negotiate a little better than we did last time," said Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver. "We're going to be well-equipped to stand toe-to-toe with the NBA and negotiate a fair deal. That's what we want — just a fair deal." USA Today Sports

Silver is concerned with keeping the game relevant amid stiff competition from other sports. It's vital to stay affordable and attractive to an aging population as well as the next generation of hoop fans. It's entertainment, after all, and Silver wants to keep the NBA in the center of the spotlight. "I realize we have to earn the fans' support every day," he told The AP. "Over the course of my business career I've seen a lot of great businesses seemingly disappear. We don't take anything for granted and we realize that especially when it comes to the changing world of television that we have to focus on what's happening on tablets and smartphones and how young people are consuming media." USA Today Sports

February 15, 2015 Updates

The Roberts-Silver relationship has, of course, just gotten underway — Roberts was only hired over the summer, and Silver took over for Stern a year ago. They’ll keep talking about some mechanism that can reduce the shock to the NBA’s system as the new money comes in, but it’s difficult to see a compromise there. “I haven’t had a chance to negotiate with the unions directly since they had that meeting (Friday) night,” Silver said. “My sense is there will be additional discussions, but ultimately that is what our system is under the current collective bargaining agreement. It’s like a lot of things in business and in sports, you deal with the situation as it is presented to you. I don’t want to act like it is a terrible problem to have — we’re thrilled that based on the interest in the NBA, we are able to command these big increases in the television market.” Sporting News

What if the Knicks suddenly had the opportunity to sign up two max-contract players? Or if the Lakers could sign three? Or if the already-stocked Bulls could add another All-Star? Where does that leave, say, Milwaukee or Minnesota or New Orleans? “It’s what our system is,” Silver said on Saturday. “The players receive, on a sliding scale, it ranges from 49 to 51 percent, and because of the revenue targets we hit, the players will receive 51 percent of the new television money. At the time we were negotiating the deal, we were not projecting that our television increases would be as large as they are. … (Smoothing) is something we presented to the union, ultimately it is up to them to decide what is in the interest of the players association. I have a feeling there will be additional discussions.” Sporting News

February 14, 2015 Updates

The National Basketball Players Association on Saturday rejected the NBA's proposal for "smoothing in" billions of dollars from the new TV/media deal into the salary cap. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said the union hired two forensic economic teams to evaluate the league's proposal and both economic teams recommended the union not accept the league's proposal. USA Today Sports

Regardless, players will still get 51% of basketball-related income (BRI). Under the CBA, when player salaries don't reach 51%, the league cuts a check to players for the difference. The union is opposed to artificially suppressing the salary cap, but it appeared Roberts is willing to read other proposals. USA Today Sports

February 2, 2015 Updates

Silver also touched on the potential for a labor issue in 2017. “I want to be a realist,” he said. “I understand that it’s become a part of sports. I don’t want to tell fans that they should disregard the things that the head of our Players Association is saying. I take her at her word. Having said that, I think that when we get into full-out negotiating — which won’t be for a long time — and we continue to share our financials as we have historically and everyone takes into account, meaning both the teams and the players, how well this league is operating … I’d like to think that calmer heads will prevail and we’ll all realize that we have a great system here and that we shouldn’t screw it up.” Basketball Insiders

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

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