The players’ union has also rejected the NBA’s “cap smoothing” proposal that would pay players the same 51 percent of basketball-related income that they receive under the current CBA, which would have artificially lowered the salary cap to prevent the big spike and phase in the increase over several years. “I think we have a very fair deal right now,” Silver said Sunday during halftime of Game 5 of the Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena.
Ken Berger: Adam Silver says he’s spoken with Michele Roberts about beginning to negotiate a new CBA as early as this summer. #getchyapizzaready
Ron Klempner, NBPA general counsel: Coming out of the 1995 [CBA negotiations], the owners clearly did not get what they wanted, and they were looking for the first available opportunity to be able to go back in and get it. Garnett’s contract provided them with all of the ammunition that they needed.
That labor deal allows either side to opt out after the 2016-17 season, and new National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts has strongly implied, more than once, that the players intend to do so. “And if they do, we’ll deal with that,” Silver said on NBA Sunday Tip. “There were a lot of things we left on the table [in 2011]. We went into collective bargaining seeking—I don’t want to get into it now—but a number of things that we didn’t accomplish. And we compromised. And they compromised as well. “If there’s a feeling that we should reopen the collective bargaining agreement…hopefully, just as we have in the past, we’ll work through all those issues and there won’t be any disruptions in the season.”
Sources say that the league, though, has been careful to stress to its teams that these are not only mere projections but also contingent on the NBA and its players avoiding a work stoppage after the 2016-17 season. Both sides have the right to opt out of the current labor agreement by Dec. 15, 2016.
Knicks owner James Dolan has been dedicating more and more time to his band in recent years, but apparently has been using his music behind the scenes for years. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dolan was asked about a rumor that during a negotiation he got out a guitar and played a song called ‘Lockout Blues.’ Dolan replied: “That was during the NBA lockout. I was on the negotiating committee.”
The system isn’t supposed to allow high-revenue teams that can live off of their local TV deals and/or gate to pay their superstars. Talent is supposed to flow through all 30 teams, with the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunders of the world to be able to remain competitive with New York, L.A. and Chicago. In the interim, though, teams at least now have firm estimates for 2016 that they can use to decide how to attack free agency that year. “Teams will be more motivated to get quality players under contract as their salary on a percentage basis will decrease significantly in ’16,” one team executive said Friday.
There is the obvious issue of players who won’t be free agents in 2016 sitting on the sidelines while those fortunate enough to be free that summer line their pockets. And there are already murmurs of discontent that the jump in the cap will be primarily enjoyed by the game’s superstars, who’ll all get maximum slices of the pie if they are 2016 free agents — like LeBron James, the NBPA’s newly elected first vice president, who has made it clear he’ll sign a one-year deal with Cleveland this summer in order to be free again in ’16 — at the expense of the rank and file. “Either way, they were getting the short end of the stick,” texted one player, a prominent member of the NBPA, on Sunday. “I mean, you could say the same for ‘Melo (Carmelo Anthony, who signed a five-year deal to remain with the Knicks last summer).”
The NBA, meanwhile, has independently-audited financial records to show a number of teams are losing money. Moreover, the league’s sound business strategy on television and international growth—not to mention NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s adroit handling of the Donald Sterling crisis—appear to have benefited players as much as owners. Despite these achievements, tensions between the NBA and NBPA seem to be rising.
The league, however, had little incentive to make a deal. The collective bargaining agreement that was signed in 2011 cut the players’ portion of the revenue pie from 57 percent to 51 percent. The deal has functioned extremely well for the owners, who have seen operating margins and franchise values increase significantly. Now the players are prepare for the deal to function in their favor. Silver essentially admitted over All-Star Weekend this likely would be the outcome.
The new TV deal is going to flood teams with cash, but that doesn’t happen day one – many teams are not going to have the cash flow to meet a $75-$80 million salary without financing some of that. What they need is for tat first TV check to come through and then they have the cash to pay out bigger salaries. That’s why the NBA is pushing for smoothing to make it more seamless to the owners. So I spoke with someone involved in the last labor deal just to get a perspective is using this as leverage for a deal was possible and the stance the league takes in reaching a deal and how the players as a group approached the last two deals simply makes it unrealistic to think that just because NBPA leadership is changing that they will somehow gain the advantage in negotiation – being tougher simply means you lose more. I think there are things the NBA owners could concede to, given where things are financially, but to tip over the table as a negotiation stance seems foolish, but plays back to the concept of not knowing how much you don’t know.
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.”
Kobe Bryant: Another thing was that I would go to him in confidence and talk about certain things, and he would then use those things to manipulate the media against me. And from that standpoint, I finally said, “No way. I’m not gonna deal with that anymore.” This was during our first run, during those first three championships. So when he’d come out in the press and say those things about me, I was finally like, “Fuck it. I’m done with this guy. I’ll play for him and win championships, but I will have no interaction with him.” Yet at the same time, it drove me at a maniacal pace. Because either consciously or unconsciously, he put a tremendous amount of pressure on me to be efficient, and to be great, and to be great now.
Why do you think Jackson would write such negative things about you? Was he trying to psychologically motivate you, or is he just kind of a weird, arrogant person? Kobe Bryant: Well, most successful people are a little arrogant…. I was very stubborn. I was like a wild horse that had the potential to become Secretariat, but who was just too fucking wild. So part of that was him trying to tame me. He’s also very intelligent, and he understood the dynamic he had to deal with between me and Shaq. So he would take shots at me in the press, and I understood he was doing that in order to ingratiate himself to Shaq. And since I knew what he was doing, I felt like that was an insult to my intelligence. I mean, I knew what he was doing. Why not just come to me and tell me that?
Kobe Bryant: Even with those restrictions, the Lakers pulled off a trade [for Chris Paul] that immediately set us up for a championship, a run of championships later, and which saved money. Now, the NBA vetoed that trade. But the Lakers pulled that shit off, and no one would have thought it was even possible. The trade got vetoed, because they’d just staged the whole lockout to restrict the Lakers. Mitch got penalized for being smart. But if we could do that...
But how could that possibly be done? Doesn’t the league’s financial system dictate certain limitations? Kobe Bryant: Well, okay: Look at the  lockout. That lockout was made to restrict the Lakers. It was. I don’t care what any other owner says. It was designed to restrict the Lakers and our marketability.
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.”
“I wanted to make them sure they understood I wasn’t advocating for a strike or a lockout, but I was preparing for it,” Roberts said. “They should be mindful of that as players. Part of preparing for any negotiation is to be prepared for the work stoppage. It is part of your leverage to be able to say with certainty that we are prepared for a long lockout.” “But of course I think it’s avoidable. Does anyone really expect Adam and I will sing kumbaya every day? We’re grown ups. He has a constituency, and I do. We disagree. But that’s the world. You know what we do agree on? We don’t want a work stoppage. Neither one of us wants to see that happen. We have said it to each other. We have said it out loud. Our teams are all smart, we all have the same goals and we should be able to sit down and avoid it. I’d be surprised, frankly, if we had one, but I’m ready if we do.”
Hill said the Knicks and Celtics wanted to bring Swift in for a workout when he returned to the States and then the league lockout occurred, wiping out the NBA summer leagues and postponing league activity for six months. “I guarantee he would have made one of those teams,” Hill said. “He was blocking shots and running the floor and rebounding, getting to the foul line. He was having fun playing basketball again. It was fun to watch. That’s a sad story. The whole story is really sad.”
“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.”
Stern, who oversaw work stoppages that resulted in missed games in 1999 and 2011, said he’s unconcerned about that perspective among players. “The league’s not going to be losing money,” he told CBSSports.com. “That’s great. And the players get 50 percent of it. … As a league we were losing money [during the 2011 lockout] and my guess is, as a league, when the new TV deal kicks in, they’re going to be making money. That’s a guess; I don’t have the numbers. Some teams lose money voluntarily.”
Despite ominous statements from prominent players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant about how the NBA’s new TV deal will affect collective bargaining, former commissioner David Stern said Wednesday night he believes the league will avoid a work stoppage in 2017. “I think that our players are very smart and successful and they have hired what seems to be a smart and successful litigator,” Stern told CBSSports.com. “Our owners are smart and successful and have got Adam Silver, an accomplished litigator, too. And I have no doubt that they’re going to work it out.” Asked if they’ll be able to do that without a work stoppage, Stern said, “I hope so. There’s too much at stake now.”
Stern, who oversaw work stoppages that resulted in missed games in 1999 and 2011, said he’s unconcerned about that perspective among players. “The league’s not going to be losing money,” Stern told CBSSports.com. “That’s great. And the players get 50 percent of it. … As a league we were losing money [during the 2011 lockout] and my guess is, as a league, when the new TV deal kicks in, they’re going to be making money. That’s a guess; I don’t have the numbers. Some teams lose money voluntarily.”
Despite ominous statements from prominent players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant about how the NBA’s new TV deal will affect collective bargaining, former commissioner David Stern said Wednesday night he believes the league will avoid a work stoppage in 2017. “I think that our players are very smart and successful and they have hired what seems to be a smart and successful litigator,” Stern told CBSSports.com. “Our owners are smart and successful and have got Adam Silver, an accomplished litigator, too. And I have no doubt that they’re going to work it out.”
09 Oct 14