Sirius XM NBA: "I think we have great leadership with Michele Roberts" Chris Paul on his leadership with Michele Roberts #NBAAllStarTO
Encouraging signs exist – even if there is a lockout – that regular-season games won’t be lost, as was the case in 2011. The two sides are meeting regularly, building relationships and trust. The league is dealing with new leadership on the union’s side: Michele Roberts, the NBPA executive director, has been on the job about 17 months and NBPA general counsel Gary Kohlman was hired at the start of the 2014-15 season. “My cause for optimism is based on to me the spirit of the discussions and the directness in which we’ve been dealing with each other,” Silver said.
The NBA Players Association has the option of ending the collective bargaining agreement following the 2016-17 season, but executive director Michele Roberts has said she would like to strike a new agreement. But that is quite optimistic. “There is an opt-out window in this current collective bargaining agreement, slightly less than a year from now,” said Silver. “I am encouraged by the fact that we have already begun direct discussions with the Players Association, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. Both of us, both sides, both our ownership and the executives of the Players Association, have stressed a strong interest in working things out at the table behind closed doors and avoiding any possible loss of games. So I remain optimistic that we will do that.”
Adam Silver was asked if he remains optimistic about the possibility of the owners agreeing to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. "I remain optimistic, yes. There is an opt‑out window in this current collective bargaining agreement, slightly less than a year from now," said Silver. "I am encouraged by the fact that we have already begun direct discussions with the Players Association, and where there's a will, there's a way. Both of us, both sides, both our ownership and the executives of the Players Association, have stressed a strong interest in working things out at the table behind closed doors and avoiding any possible loss of games. So I remain optimistic that we will do that."
Rick Bonnell: NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking in London at Magic-Raptors game, expresses optimism league and union can avoid a future lockout.
The CBA runs through June 30, 2021, but either side could opt out on June 30, 2017. To do so, it would have to notify the other side of its intent by Dec. 15, 2016. "We're at roughly a $70 million cap now, and we're anticipating going to $90 million, which is a dramatic increase," Silver said. "So I think we're going get an opportunity to look at free agent behavior -- how teams may react in terms of trades, how they may look at the draft differently, really at this summer for the first time."
In short: How could either side possibly consider opting out and stopping this gravy train? "It would seem disruptive to interrupt it," said Michael McCann, the director of the University of New Hampshire's Sports and Entertainment Law Institute, and a legal analyst for Sports Illustrated. (If you want someone to make sense of sports legalese, McCann's your guy.)
"That said, it seems like the NBA and NBPA remain in disagreement about whether teams are profitable or losing money, and to me it's unclear whether some owners believe players would, after a lockout, give up an additional portion of BRI in a new CBA," McCann said. "So I agree it would seem strange to interrupt what has been a great era for the NBA, but I think there are financial considerations that could be more significant than they appear at this time."
“I’m not going to rank the relationship, as compared to other times,” Silver said. “I would only say that the relationship, from my standpoint, is very healthy right now between the league and the players’ association.” That sentiment was echoed by Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association. “The lines of communication have been really good,” Paul said. “Adam has asked for our input, and we appreciate that.”
Only four years into the agreement, each side is carefully weighing whether to exercise its right to opt out of the agreement and do this all over again. Tuesday marks the start of a 12-month countdown to the CBA's opt-out deadline, as either side must notify the other by Dec. 15, 2016 of its intention to walk away and negotiate a new deal -- or, at least, make changes to the existing one.
There are significant risks associated with either side taking that bold step, which is why commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and their bargaining staffs met last week in New York to set the stage for the next 12 months. Only four years into the 10-year labor deal, league sources tell CBS Sports that the focus isn't for each side to persuade the other to stay the course. Rather, the mutual goal is to make significant progress on an entirely new labor deal by the time the opt-out deadline arrives. “The goal is to make that opt-out obsolete,” a person familiar with the process told CBS Sports. “… The goal is reaching a new long-term CBA.”
“All I know is, we've got a great game going right now,” NBPA president Chris Paul of the Clippers told CBS Sports. “A lot of stars, a lot of excitement. We're not who we are without our fans. So as much as possible, we want to try to do everything so that we can to continue to play the game that we love and continue to grow the game like it's been growing.”
The rhetoric from Silver about the risks for the players in opting out has centered around the idea that the owners would bring back to the table two key provisions they were unable to achieve in the last negotiation: a hard salary cap and limits on guaranteed salaries. In October 2014, in the same news conference in which he revealed that one-third of the league's 30 teams still weren't profitable, Silver said, “My preference would be to have a harder cap.”
The ongoing internal dispute is fitting, since some of the biggest issues in the NBA's labor dynamic are not one side vs. the other, but within each camp. Some small- and mid-market teams still feel they are at a disadvantage when it comes to regional broadcast revenues that boost the larger markets' tolerance for paying luxury tax, league sources say. On the players' side, one of the unintended consequences of the agreement has been rampant spending on middle-of-the-road players, while the salaries of the league's biggest stars and revenue drivers are capped well below their true value.
Vincent Ellis: FYI: I gather owners are looking to Arn Tellem to provide insight during negotiations with the players on next labor deal. At latest Board of Governors meeting, Tellem briefed owners on his thoughts on the players' perspectives. Long-time agent, as you know. Tellem is one of the Pistons' reps on board of governors. Tellem could eventually play a role in the actual negotiations with the players.
The NBPA and the NBA have an option to terminate their Collective Bargaining Agreement on or before Dec. 15, 2016. Roberts, however, is optimistic that the NBPA and the NBA will reach agreement on a new CBA beforehand. She said she has been having positive regular monthly lunch meetings with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Roberts hopes to begin negotiations with the NBA on a new CBA in November.
Silver "says he does not want a work stoppage," Roberts said. "And I said, 'You know what, neither do we.' We have that common ground. … I wasn't there, but I've been told and I read, that during the last negotiations that the owners were very clear that there would be a substantial reduction modification of the [basketball-related income]. I guess they were serious because they locked the players out before they got what they wanted. That's not how we are beginning these negotiations.
Raul Barrigon: Adam Silver on CBA deal talks with Michele Roberts: "We continue to talk all the time. I think Michele Roberts and I both have the same goal which is to avoid any sort of work stoppage. And we know one of the ways to avoid a work stoppage is to talk early and often. And we're doing that."
Q: How confident are you that the NBA will avoid another work stoppage when it comes time to negotiate a new CBA? Paul Allen: "That is so hard to predict and I'm sure if I did predict it, I'd get fined. So I'm not going to try to predict. Clearly the league and the players are doing very well financially with these new contracts. So there are ongoing discussions but I can't comment any further than that."
One concept that is gaining momentum in league circles -- proposed here by SB Nation's Tom Ziller -- is to end the league year between the Finals and the draft. That way, the lawyers and accountants would have plenty of time to close the books, and any revenue and expenses associated with the draft would be shifted to the following league year. This makes sense, since the draft is essentially the first event of each new NBA season.
July 30, 2021 | 11:47 am EDT Update
Andrew Greif: Clippers president Lawrence Frank, post-draft, acknowledged Kawhi Leonard’s recovery will take “a great deal of time.” The team wants its relationship with the star to also last a very long time: latimes.com/sports/clipper…
Marc Stein: The Jazz will be pressing hard to re-sign Mike Conley, league sources say, and are preparing an offer estimated in the three-year, $75 million range. More coming soon in my This Week In Basketball column you can get directly by signing up here: marcstein.substack.com
Chris Haynes: Free agent point guard Emmanuel Mudiay — the No. 7 pick in the 2015 Draft and only 25 — intends to play Summer League for the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Tomer Azarly: “We want them back as Clippers. We respect that they have a choice to make. With Kawhi, we hope to have a very long-term relationship with him… We’d like to bring Reggie, Nico back. We hope Serge opts in. We have other FA as well.” Lawrence Frank on free agency.
July 30, 2021 | 11:19 am EDT Update
Marc Stein: Teams interested in Atlanta restricted free agent John Collins have grown increasingly pessimistic that Collins can be signed away from the Hawks, league sources say. More coming in today’s This Week In Basketball column at marcstein.substack.com
Paul has a $44.2 million player option for 21-22 with the Suns that he could decline to become an outright free agent. Paul could also pick up the option and sign an extension with the Suns. “The feeling within the league now is that Chris Paul is going to stay put in Phoenix,” said Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast. “The belief is Chris Paul will not ever be on the open market.”