Whatever was established in these recent small-group sessions will be put to the test Tuesday, when owners and players send full committees to the bargaining table for the first time since June 30.
Neither side is expected to deliver a complete new proposal. The hope — at least among the optimists on either side — is that last week’s brainstorming sessions will become the basis for a collaborative new effort. They are actively seeking a compromise.
As one person monitoring the talks said, “They’re not just sticking to one side and saying, ‘We’re not moving.’ ”
That is a vast improvement from August and puts these talks light-years ahead of where they were during the 1998 lockout. While the circumstances may differ, the comparison is worth noting.
By this point in 1998, players and owners had held just one bargaining session. It ended abruptly, with the owners walking out after rejecting a union proposal. They did not meet again until Oct. 8, after the preseason had been canceled. They passed the time by blaming each other for the lack of meetings.
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The full article is a long read, but a good one. I saw some of that quoted text in an article on Sbnation.com, but I decided to go to the source to post about it here on the forums.
I figured we should have a thread with constant updates on the lockout so we at least have some idea of what's going on when the media decides it's "not juicy enough" to cover (no homo.)
If we're comparing the two lockouts this year, then we're getting to about the point where all of the anti-trust lawsuits and hearings were starting to die down in the NFL lockout and some actual face to face meetings were becoming productive. Still a ways to go, but they're at least on the right track.
EW YORK (AP)—The start of the NBA season was thrown into doubt Tuesday after players and owners remained divided over the salary cap structure at a key labor meeting. Tentative plans to talk again Wednesday were scrapped, and no further sessions were scheduled.
Union executive director Billy Hunter said players were prepared to make a “significant” financial move, but found owners unwilling to budge off their positions. Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver countered that the union insisted the current cap remain exactly as is before they would agree to any further discussions.
A sign of how the day went: Owners spent the majority of about five hours of behind closed doors caucusing among themselves.
Union president [Only registered and activated users can see links. ][Only registered and activated users can see links. ] of the Lakers said he will tell players that “the way it looks right now we may not start on time.”
Fisher added that “we can’t find a place with the league and our owners where we can reach a deal sooner rather than later.”
After three meetings among small groups in the last two weeks, full bargaining committees returned to the table Tuesday. They could have also met Wednesday, but Stern said it was best the two sides step away and meet with their own membership groups on Thursday.
Though owners are seeking an overhaul of the league’s financial system after saying they lost $300 million last season, the salary cap appears to have emerged as the biggest obstacle to a new deal.
The current soft cap system allows teams to exceed the ceiling through the use of various exceptions if they are willing to pay a luxury tax, giving big-market teams such as the Lakers—who can take on added payroll—an advantage over the little guys.
But Hunter said a hard cap is “highly untenable,” referring to it as a “blood issue” to the players. Stern said players wouldn’t negotiate without first getting a guarantee from the league that it would concede on the salary cap.
“All of the owners were completely unified in the view that we needed a system that at the end of the day allowed 30 teams to compete,” Stern said.
“And we went back and said to the players that although we have some ideas, we’ve been talking to each other, agreeing, disagreeing, coming up with everything we possibly could to see whether there was still time to save the season, it actually didn’t make sense for us to respond to their nonnegotiable demand that everything remain the same.”
Training camps have been expected to open Oct. 3 and the regular season’s opening night is scheduled for Nov. 1.
Fisher, surrounded by a row of long faces among fellow NBPA executive committee members seated in a hotel conference room, said players are still committed to the process and “not walking away from the table.” But Hunter repeated that players “have instructed us that they’re prepared to sit out” rather than accept owners’ current proposals.
looks like a 50 game season is the most realistic possibility
Why even call it negotiations or bargaining sessions? Obviously the owners aren't doing neither. They are so stuck on the mindset of take what we give you or **** it nothing will get accomplished. This whole "we want a hard cap" bull is just that, bull. I find it laughably hilarious for anyone to think that small market teams will ever be on a level playing field with a La or Ny or Chicago. Loaction and mass media in these cities are something a player wouldn't want to pass up. All the talk the NBA has no parody is pretty moot considering it never has been and neither is any other league. The NFL has a one team out of every 10 years that surprises everyone, oh wow that's parody. Call me when the Superbowl is Detroit vs Cleveland or Jacksonville vs Arizona every other year.
I can't side with players neither because the average players salary is pretty high.
This league is really treading on thin ice right now. If they miss the entire season, which is pretty much what's about to happen, the backlash might be severely damaging. The NBA just had it's best season of interest since before the last lockout WHY **** THAT UP?!?!? It boggles my mind how they managed for a 2nd time to mess up something going in the right direction. You'd think that everyone would remember 99' and try to avoid that at all costs considering how long the comeback took smmfh.
Looks like the owners are still pushing hard for a hard cap and are willing to lose a whole season to get it.
Union, NBA not softening on hard cap stance
Tuesday September 13, 2011 10:06 PM By Alan Hahn
Dan Gilbert emerged from the board room today at The Palace Hotel in Manhattan wearing a satisfied grin. I wondered if it was the first time he'd been able to smile since a certain "decision" was rendered over a year ago.
You also have to wonder if the Cleveland Cavaliers owner would be as adamant about installing a hard cap system in the next collective bargaining agreement if a certain Akron-born superstar opted to stay home. The Cavs were willing spenders when LeBron James was wearing wine-and-gold. That was about building a championship team around a superstar and Gilbert, to his credit, returned every dollar of revenue he made off LeBron and put it back into the team.
Now, with no star to cater to and a notable loss of revenue as a result of LeBron's departure, Gilbert believes in equality. With a franchise that is losing money with a young, rebuilding roster, he desperately needs equality.
And the NBA, despite a record-breaking season of interest that was mostly spawned by the rise of big-market superteams such as LeBron and the Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, believes Gilbert is right.
Out of five hours the league and the union spent in collective bargaining, three of them -- three of the five hours -- were spent apart. The NBA owners caucused for that time to discuss how to address the union's opposition of a hard cap system. In the end, the majority rule was that a hard cap had to be in the deal.
And while it's impossible to believe that the major market owners in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Miami are willing to kill part or all of a season to get it, that is not expected to change.
Stern said the league returned to the bargaining table opting to make no response and and put the onus on the union by saying it "didn't make sense for us to respond to their non-negotiable demands."
And after yet another uneventful large-group collective bargaining sessions, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver zealously addressed the hard cap issue to the gathering of scribes.
"We've had this discussion," Silver said. "Teams that are able and willing to pay the tax are at huge competitive advantage over teams that are unable or unwilling to pay the tax. And that's not how our system should operate."
Union president Derek Fisher has taken offense to the suggestion that money is the only reason why he has five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, a big-spending team which happens to be, according to Forbes, the NBA's second-most valued franchise. Fisher has routinely argued in these meetings that the Lakers had to earn their titles with hard work, dedication and the confluence of good management, coaching and talent.
"We don't mean to take anything away from [Fisher's] multiple championships, but it's a critical issue," Silver said. "And a GM who is given $100 million to spend as opposed to a GM who is given $50 million to spend is at a huge competitive advantage. And that's something we want to fix in this deal."
Perhaps someone might want to point to both the Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas Eras in New York to prove that money can't buy you happiness. And a soft-cap system can, and has, punish you for bad decisions.
But David Stern instead tried a more political approach to the campaign: he mentioned the fans.
"Not only are the teams at a disadvantage, but the fans of the $50 million team are at a real disadvantage," he said.
[As one fan pointed out to me on Twitter, if that's the case, shouldn't it work in reverse, too? For example, if a major market team is restricted in how much is can spend, shouldn't it be restricted in how much it can charge?]
The players feel they are at an even greater disadvantage, however, in a hard cap system. As NBPA executive director Billy Hunter pointed out, a hard cap system means less security for a majority of the players. It means only lottery picks and superstars will get multi-year deals, while the middle class will bounce from team to team each season on one-year deals.
The NBA has made it clear they want a hard cap and odds are they will eventually -- season or no season -- get it. But for a man representing over 400 players, that isn't something you concede three weeks before training camp is scheduled to open.
Despite the pessimism that permeated the board room where the union -- Hunter, Fisher and seven other players who make up the executive committee -- met the media with hangdog expressions, there actually was an element of accomplishment revealed. The sides seem to be moving in the right direction on the economic side of the negotiations:
1. Hunter said the players were ready to give back even more of their percentage of the Basketball Related Income (BRI) in the next deal. But the players would not move on that if the league insisted on a hard cap system.
2. Stern said the league has discussed a revenue sharing plan that would be triple the amount from the previous CBA, but he would not reveal that system to the union until a system is in place.
Even some of the debate over the hard cap system is a matter of semantics. Hunter said the union isn't fundamentally opposed to a hard cap because, he said, they would accept a hard cap with an astronomical 65 percent share of the BRI. In other words, set the hard cap at a ridiculously high number that only a few teams could afford to hit.
The league, meanwhile, has on the table a system very similar to the NHL's hard cap, which would involve a "mid-range" based on the BRI percentage (in this case it would be $62 million), with a negotiated range that includes not only a "cap", but a "floor" as well. For instance, if the league and union agreed to make it a $16 million range, the cap on a $62 million mid-range would be $70 million, with a $54 million "floor" that teams would have to spend up to.
For reference, at the start of last season, there were seven teams that had a payroll over $70 million, while there were nine teams under $54 million.
In the end, this is likely the system we'll see in the NBA in the next collective bargaining agreement. The NHL has had some glitches -- to circumvent the cap, teams can offer front-loaded 10-year contracts, which creates a collection of unwanted contracts in a few years -- but with seven Canadian teams, they need a system that allows them to compete with their U.S. counterparts.
And it should be noted that in the six years since the NHL killed an entire season to get this hard cap system, four major market teams -- Anaheim, Detroit, Chicago and, most recently, Boston -- have won the Stanley Cup, while only two small market teams, the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins (who happened to have the best player on the planet) were the other winners.
The reality of a hard cap will likely be in discussion Thursday in Las Vegas, where the union will hold a meeting to update its membership. It has to be sinking in even now. When a reporter asked the group if they think the NBA will ever come off the hard cap stance, Roger Mason Jr. muttered, "Never."
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