Doomsday: NBPA no longer exists; Al Gore’s lawyer now in charge

 

NEW YORK — Armegeddon arrived suddenly for the NBA today, with the players’ union legally disbanding and saying it will file a lawsuit seeking triple damages under anti-trust laws rather than accept the final proposal put forward by NBA owners.

Billy Hunter is now disempowered, David Stern says the season is in jeopardy, and the new man in charge is high-powered attorney David Boies, who represented NFL owners defending themselves against a decertification movement last summer and whose most famous case, Bush v. Gore, ended in a loss (he represented Al Gore in the controversial 2000 U.S. presidential election).

More than 50 players met for more than three hours at a Times Square hotel, first going over the latest proposal from the league, then hearing what their legal options were. The one that was chosen, a disclaimer of interest, immediately removed the National Basketball Players Association as the bargaining representative for the players, technically making them non-unionized.

“The guys were pretty docile and placid until that point,” said Hunter, who retains his position as the de facto leader of the players — although their lead representatives going forward will be attorneys Boies and Jeffrey Kessler. “The players felt it was more like a surrender than getting a deal.”

Boies did not enter the players’ meeting until after their lunch break, and he quickly sold a contingent of athletes that included Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Chauncey Billups that his strategy was the best for them to pursue.

Union president Derek Fisher said the motion to file the disclaimer came on a unanimous vote.

“I’ve got one of the best in the country, I’ve got David Boies, and I’m pretty confident with David Boies going forward assisting Jeffrey Kessler,” Hunter said.

 The union chose to file a disclaimer of interest (it was hand-delivered to the league office) rather than a petition for decertification because it will speed up the process and extend the window of time for which the NBA owners could possibly be liable for triple damages. If the entire NBA season was to be lost and the players won in court, the $2 billion they were due to make in salaries would become $6 billion.

Union officials discounted the notion that they were calling commissioner David Stern’s bluff, saying the disclaimer route would be a pretty radical way to make such a statement.

“It came down to a matter of how far can you push? And what are the limits,” a union source told SheridanHoops.com. “The owners went past them.”

 Stern issued a statement through the league office:

“At a bargaining session in February 2010, Jeffrey Kessler, counsel for the union, threatened that the players would abandon the collective bargaining process and start an antitrust lawsuit against our teams if they did not get a bargaining resolution that was acceptable to them. In anticipation of this day, the NBA filed an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board asserting that, by virtue of its continued threats, the union was not bargaining in good faith. We also began a litigation in federal court in anticipation of this same bargaining tactic.

“The NBA has negotiated in good faith throughout the collective bargaining process, but — because our revised bargaining proposal was not to its liking – the union has decided to make good on Mr. Kessler’s threat,” Stern said. “There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy.”

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  1. no_longer_a_fan says

    Screw the NBA.
    As far as I’m concerned many fans will find other interests to fill the gap that basketball used to occupy. After a while we may discover that ,although we love the game, we can live without the NBA…..I think Lebron alluded to that fact earlier….that, no matter what happens, our miserable , boring lives won’t ever diminish his elevated social and economic lifestyle.

    I say the fans should reply that our miserable lives will go on, with or without the NBA . The choice is ours, not theirs. But remember, we are the ones who pays the bills.

    And it’s not just about the money. There’s also the total lack of committment or interest on the players behalf to make the league competitive. They say “no way” to a hard salary cap, and to a multitude of other exceptions and contrivances that have been put in place to maximize player profit at the expensive having a balanced league. If the small market teams lose their fan base due to the perpetual hopelessness of ever acheiving any greatness, then the teams will fold. At this point. justice will be served as a stripped down league would require would employ far fewer players.

    The players don’t even have the balls to speak for themselves. The majority of players have been entirely absent from the process. They probably simply send a few text messages to their agents.

    And where the hell is M. Jordan? He could truly cast light onto both sides of the issue but instead can neither be seen nor heard……. a silent hypocrite who so vigorously defended the players during a similar situation in the past but ,now that he is on the other side of the fence, has nothing to say about either side.

    It’s time for the fans take a vote …..that we move on to other things. The NBA needs us alot more than we need them.

    I won’t be going to any more games….ever.

  2. markjsunz says

    I support the players in this. I understand that the last player on the roster makes close to or exceeds a million dollars a year.

    However most of us work hard to earn our livings, How would you like your contract to be up and have the people you work for take away a large chunk of your compenstion package.?

    No one will like this. Granted the players are well payed but if you see a game in person you can see these guys are increable athletes. Ten men around the key looking like Ballet stars.

    This is hard to see on television. If the owners are really losing all of this money let them open the books for the Unions forensic accountants. Good luck with that happening.

    Both the Union and the owners should put away a little of what is agreed upon for Retired players.

    A lot of these guys played when salarys were small. Yet they paved the way for todays NBA players..

    • ChuloDO says

      Um, none of these guys currently in the NBA played when salaries were small.

      Your conspiracy theory about the owners not losing money is bogus. The NBA already had their financial statements audited, and the financial position of the teams is far less relevant than the fact that even at 50-50, the NBA players would have an average salary that would vastly exceed that of players on other major professional team sports.

      Even if the owners are overstating their losses (a notion that I dispute), then the next step would be for them to negotiate a favorable profit/return on investment. The players, in their naive ignorance, don’t realize that aspect, as their 50% would be relatively risk-free.

      BTW, I’d feel OK about a large chunk of my compensation package to be taken away if I recognized that I was vastly overpaid on both an absolute basis (i.e., vs. >99.9% of the country) and relative basis (i.e., vs. the other major team sports), and if I recognized that holding out for more would cost me more in salary than any gains that I may or may not obtain if I hold out.

        • imwithstupid says

          Not correct Chulo, RDA (roster depreciation allowance) is the nba’s way of paying less taxes. It essentially is a pretend-loss of player value. The IRS lets them write off huge amounts of money because of a player depreciating loophole.

          Example: Nets claim a 27Million loss in 03-04. 24 Million of that is RDA, they did not pay anyone that money, it is a pretend loss which actually saved them 9 million in taxes. You can see that they made at least 6 million that season. If it goes to court the nba will have to produce their complete books and it is really going to cost them in the end because there are a lot more accounting tricks they use…

  3. Jerry says

    Both parties can rott in hell for all I care…

    Damn players don’t know how privilaged they are…

    Shit, I wouldn’t mind earning 1 million a year riding the pine and hitting the night clubs after a game (win or lose) and nailing tons of pretty sluts every other night!!

    GREED is the keyword here!! Millionaires against Billionaires!! The only losers are the people who are employed to run the snackbars, maintenance crews and ushers who work hard at every game!! More reason to watch college ball where the players actually play with passion and pride!!

  4. paulpressey25 says

    Mark. I’m going to check out for now. Going to watch two irrelevant small market teams in the Packers and Vikings on MNF. And the best player in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers, who has no plans to leave Green Bay anytime soon.

    Despite the stupidity in NFL owners and players allowing a situation like this to occur (/s), odds are strong more will watch this game than on average watched the vaunted LeBron Finals games last year.

  5. Daniel says

    Oh and stop comparing parity in the NFL to that in the NBA. A single-elimination playoff system has a lot to do with that. Plus the sample size of NFL games is much smaller. Check what the playoff seedings in the NBA would have been after 16 games.

  6. Daniel says

    I’m tired of seeing people complain that players are overpaid. These guys devote their lives to get into the league and become 400 of the best at what they do. It’s unreasonable to compare them to the everyday man. They are undoubtedly privileged, but I just see it as their hard work paying off. The owners do risk their capital to run the franchises, but the keyword is risk. It is up to the owners to market their players and fill their arenas. If they can’t do it in a certain city they should relocate. Parity isn’t a problem in the NBA. We just had a year where we saw the emergence of at least 3 small market teams in the playoffs(Pacers, Thunder, Grizzlies). There will always be teams rebuilding and some are just better at it than others. The minimum team salary should work as a safety net to keep well managed teams from being unable to compete. Despite their large team salary, the reigning champions had only one all-star. If a team with one all-star can win a championship, then small market teams should look to build around that one all star caliber player they have and invest in better coaches. Teams like the Timberwolves, Kings, and Jazz can be very good if managed properly.

    • browng3 says

      This reminds me of the state of the economy. Everyone thinks they are entitled to everything, not realizing how incredible blessed they are- meanwhile the economy goes to crap. If you call the NBA a business, then who are the employees and who are the employers? I always thought those who were hired, were more subject to those hiring? The players are athletes who are paid to do their job, if they were business men they should have gone into a different vocation. Be happy- you’re getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to play a game.

      • Keith says

        Ah, but the players aren’t just the employees, thy are the product, and if you put out a bad product (through bad personell decisions, bad contracts, or hiring the wrong coaches) and people decide against using/supporting it, then your business will lose money. The owners want a guarantee of profitability, which, seems to me to be a feeling of entitlement. No other business in America comes with that guarantee, so the owners are in effect, asking for a bailout, and demanding parity (which never has and never will exist in professional sports) players train their whole lives, risk their health and their ability to perform everyday tasks into their middle age just to “play a game”. Owners with profitable teams have them because they go into the luxury tax,, they pay for the talent, increase that products value and attractiveness, and none of them got rich from owning a basketball team. The unsatisfied owners need to get into a different business, it’s that simple.

  7. Mark says

    Down the road, a whole set of new players will make themselves available to the NBA. They will get good contracts and be happy. They may even be offered less than the players were offered today. Everyone will still be happy. The people that pay the bills (the consumers) will pay to see the new players play. The owners will be making money.

    And many of today’s players will wonder what the hell they were thinking when they gave up the money they had been offered.

    • paulpressey25 says

      Mark, I’m hoping that the Steve Blake’s and Kevin Martin’s hold themselves out to be new leaders for a faction of the union and simply put the owners proposal up for a vote. We know it would likely pass.

  8. Sham says

    David Stern is my hero….I would love to see BRI @ 46.5 and a hard cap….I may one day take the c out of my cRaptors….

    • ignarus says

      making the pie smaller for the players will only give them LESS reason to go somewhere where they pay more in taxes.

      plus, you guys got severely hosed by getting andrea bargnani for the price of winning the freaking lottery.

      i’m of the tentative opinion that revenue sharing is far more effective in making small market teams more competitive than shrinking what those teams are able to offer players to encourage them to stay.

      i think the institution of max salaries is mostly responsible for making it easier for nba stars to leave the teams that drafted them.

      there’s just no way in hell that miami would have three guys like bron, wade, and bosh on their roster if they weren’t artificially allowed to pay waaaay lower than the market price.

      i think the best suggestion i’d heard to help small markets keep the guys they draft was to simply allow them to offer extensions on their second contracts a year earlier. security two years in advance does a LOT more than just one year in advance. that’s likely why so many guys stay with their initial teams for about seven or eight years instead of bailing after their rookie deals are up.

      but instead, we’re stuck with the small market owners looking to push proposals that punish players and wealthy large market teams for their benefit instead of trying to find win-win-win solutions. if it’s not win-lose-lose, Michael Jordan and co don’t want to hear about it!

  9. Michael says

    The NBA says there are two problems. They are losing money and there are system issues.

    Without going into why cutting salaries will have zero effect on the NBA losing money long term (you can read my opinions here if you want http://sheridanhoops.com/2011/11/13/tweet-of-the-day-david-stern/#comments) let me touch upon the system issues.

    If the NBA brought in more revenue last year than ever before, why are system issues a problem for the league?

    Were system issues a problem in the 80s when the Lakers/Celtics dominated the league?

    Were they a problem in the 90s when the Bulls and Rockets were winning all the titles?

    Were they a problem in the early 2000s when the Spurs/Lakers were dominate?

    How come all of a sudden, when revenues are higher than ever, system issues are a problem?

    • illyb says

      Because Lebron pissed off Gilbert and the city of Cleveland. Screw letting players have all the control owners would rather have it, plus who knows maybe Minny and Sactown will have a slightly better overall record.

      • markjsunz says

        LeBron made Mr. Gilbert a ton of Money. Being from the area I thoght that LeBron might resign with the cavilers.

        He may have taken his talents to south Beach but again he won no ring.
        LeBron seemed to be more of the problem. .

        There is no doubting LeBron is a great player. Along with him comes his posse.

        You have lawyers, accountants, business agent, promoters, shoe contract guys among others. Who knows what else shows up.

        Of course Miami goes out of there way for LeBron, cattering to his every desire.
        A large distraction for even the most sound ball player.

    • paulpressey25 says

      Michael, I’d argue that at least half the reason we are where we are today is because you had four of the top ten players weasel their way to different markets last year. LeBron, Bosh, Deron and Melo. (I realize people want to argue if Bosh and Melo are top ten).

      Then you have Chris Paul and Dwight Howard ready to do the same this year.

      The NBA has had some level of superstar movement over the last 40-years. But never so many guys in such a short time frame. At the end of the day, that scares the crap out of the 20 or so teams that aren’t considered destination hotspots by LeBron and ESPN.

      Until the players figure out a way to get those 20 owners comfortable, we will sit at this impasse. Most owners want to win a title or have a shot at one.

      Union can easily swing this back. Say we’ll take a CBA with a hard cap and franchise tag. But we want to keep 57% BRI. A move like that calls the owners bluff.

    • Michael says

      But if you are the league, and David Stern, how is there a problem? Your revenues were higher than ever. Who cares if it upsets some owners, it’s good for business.

      The system issues seem to clearly favor the league as a whole.

      If revenues were down, I could understand the need to change the system. But they weren’t. They were higher than ever!

      Seems to me, the best answer for the NBA is to fix its losses but keep the system intact. It’s been good for business as this year proved.

      • paulpressey25 says

        Michael, the Harlem Globetrotters are great business for season one. Then people realize that they will always beat the Washington Generals.

        If the owners of these 20 other franchises just simply want to be the Washington Generals and get tossed scraps from LeBron’s TV ratings, they’d never have bought NBA teams in the first place. Invest the money elsewhere if that is all they care about.

        These guys all want the chance to compete, the chance to have a superstar on their roster and be a factor. You can’t have a league long-term without competitive balance. Doesn’t mean you can’t have great teams. But the great teams need to succeed on their merits not by virtue of being in a chosen market or situation.

        Going back to our debate from this past weekend, have the top 20 guys start up their own franchises. Set up their own 10-team league. I’m sure some Chinese or Russian investor would bankroll it just out of ego. Or maybe an upstart cable network. Nothing is stopping them from doing this.

      • Michael says

        What you’re saying isn’t making any sense.

        Besides the fact you can’t have competitive balance in the NBA, why are advocating for it? Why does the league want it? This league has been built upon a lack of competitive balance, as my example of the past decades indicate.

        Michael Jordan won 6 NBA titles. Was that a problem for the NBA? If Lebron wins the next 5 titles, will that be a problem for the NBA? There is no evidence to support that it would be.

        What you’re saying is completely coming from your “heart” and is not supported by any evidence. Even if you were to install parity in the league (which you can’t), why does anyone think that would be good economically for the league?

        • Michael says

          Why would the Bucks vs Kings in an NBA finals be good for the league economically?

          This isn’t football where you can get away with small markets being successful due to America’s love of the sport. This is basketball. Similar to baseball, basketball has historically thrived on dominant and big market teams.

  10. paulpressey25 says

    I was driving in the car as this all broke this afternoon. For the next hour I scanned all the sports radio stations in the Chicago and MIlwaukee markets where I live. I also scanned the national talk shows on XM radio. Probably hit 10 stations looking for news about this momentous day in the NBA.

    Not ONE station was talking about this. 9 were talking about NFL games and 1 was talking about Penn State College football.

    This is the elephant in the room that a lot of NBA junkies and commentators don’t seem to want to face up to. Sure, it is awesome that Miami can form a super team to take on the Lakers, Mavs, Knicks and Celtics. Sure, that gets wonderful ratings for the Finals. (as if Finals ratings should be the sole arbiter of things, forgetting all the other 82 games played before half empty arenas in a number of NBA cities)

    The guys being paid the money now (players/agents/big market owners) never really consider the fact that they are all leaving billions on the table in perpetuating the clownish CBA system that has been created. The one where only about 3 or 4 teams can really compete. The system that pays guys like Brian Cardinal, Etan Thomas, and Dan Gadzuric $40 million dollar deals or pays players like Gilbert Arenas $110 million dollar deals.

    At the end of the day, the league and the players need to decide if they want to continue to be the #3 or #4 sport and be marginalized by most casual fans or if they want to step up and try to grow the pie for both sides. The fact most sports fans and sports media didn’t care about today’s events is all you need to know about the health of the league.

    • illyb says

      A little hyperbole, but they are fighting not for the Lakers being able to have the advantage but the player movement that creates the advantage; they get better contracts and the opportunity to decide where to go. The merit can be argued but they would rather decide where they are working than concede that in the negotiations as well.

      Yea yea yea the new deal still preserved some of that but it is guesswork on how the teams would react to the new luxury taxes. But don’t say only 4 teams competed in the last CBA that is incredibly simplistic and disingenuous.

      • ignarus says

        the players don’t have a dog in the fight between big market and small market teams. it makes no sense for them to concede anything on the system if the owners aren’t offering anything back in return.

        the union conceded maximally on the BRI split to cover even the most inflated claims of team losses, but for some odd reason, the league felt justified in asking the PLAYERS to make it so Michael Jordan’s poorly managed expansion franchise can compete with legendary franchises owned by billionaires in the largest markets in the country.

        that’s a revenue sharing issue. unless the owners are willing to offer the players something in return for changing the system, the owners have no principle by which they can demand a concession from the players other than “I want it.”

    • jarrett says

      I disagree.The players should not care about growing the game, especially if they will not be getting their fair share of growing it anyway. growing the game and the sport is David Stern’s legacy. thats his job, to grow the game and run the league. He could not convince owners to budge more than a 50/50 split to save the season even when the NBA reached its highest popularity since 98′ last year. Therefore forcing the players into a bad deal with the possibility they would not accept speaks the most about how the owners don’t care about the growth of the game. Both sides look bad, but make no mistake about it David Stern and owners are the reason for this lockout and loss of a season.

      The players should have stop giving at 53 percent; Its clear with the unanimous vote from the player reps that these past 3 weeks have been wasted as Hunter reduced their BRI down to 50/50. He came back with a deal that was shot down.

      • illyb says

        Lol it is in the player’s best interests for the league to grow; they have every reason to want it to. 50% of 5B is more than 53% of 4B (or less depending on whenever the NBA comes back).

        Which is why I don’t understand the drive to solve this in court. Wouldn’t that permanently harm the league they are trying to preserve for future players?

        • jarrett says

          let me rephrase that you’re right. the players shouldnt care about growing the game so much they allow it to determine whether they accept a bad deal. Of course, both sides should care, but as the product who grows the game, its in the players best interest to lose the season to get a better deal.

      • ignarus says

        even simpler — the players already ARE growing the game, even in a recession under what the league is claiming to be a “broken system.”

        there’s NOTHING to claim that parity increases the size of the pie for everyone. spurs-pistons was HORRIBLE for ratings. Lakers-Celtics has been great. Miami Heat has been great — crap teams sell out their arenas when the Heat come to town.

        the most widely used argument for parity increasing the game is the specious assertion that parity is somehow involved in the NFL’s popularity. and that’s nonsense because NOTHING exists to support that the NFL’s cap system has EVER had an effect on the overall profitability of the league.

        if anything, parity threatens to make the pie SMALLER, which helps guys like MIchael Jordan at the expense of ALL the players and the rest of the owners who are revenue-sharing him into competitive equality.

    • ignarus says

      i was wondering where you were, man :)

      i agree about the casual fan stuff — the owners who think the nba will bounce back like the NHL did (which wans’t as popular to begin with) are seriously underestimating how much casual fans love the nba as it is now and won’t stick around to see what happens if the small market owners don’t start getting real about how much they bring to the table in terms of the sports’ popularity.

      IF the nba’s popularity gets hit a LOT harder than hockey did, i’d be interested to know if there was a way to gauge the effect of player race on fanbase persistence. fans seem to let hockey players get away with a level of violence that isn’t tolerated in the nba.

      it’s also fuzzies up the comparison because nba fans have another source of basketball to follow (college) while NHL fans had nowhere else to go if they wanted to vote with their feet.

  11. Michael says

    The owners propose to take and take and take and give nothing back. They could have changed the ratio and left the rules alone, or changed the rules and left the ratio alone, but, no, they were too greedy. Sure, they’re going to win in the long run — this is capitalism, after all, and workers, even privileged workers, have only very limited rights. But make no mistake — this lost season is the owners’ doing. They’d rather have a larger slice of a smaller pie than make an equitable bargain.

    • ignarus says

      You can’t revenue share your way to profitability, but you can revenue share your way to whatever competitive balance the sport is capable of.

      If the league has nothing to offer the players in return for system stuff, they can’t afford to bargain for those system changes. Come back when you can offer a better share of the BRI or pension benefits.

      And talking about how midlevel players are overpaid is STUPID. That ONLY happened because teams demanded system changes that UNDERPAY the league’s best players. That money has to go somewhere, so it goes to the crappier players. Saying that money should go to the owners instead is ridiculous, since the league MVP is getting paid rookie scale.

      Until Lebron’s earning $45m/year, it’s beyond stupid to complain about Josh Chldress’ mid-level deal. That’s how the owners wanted to distribute salary and THAT is what they got.

    • Steve says

      It is amazing to me how many people do not understand how business works, whether it is small or big. Siding with the players? Seriously? Smaller piece of the pie?

      The owners assume all of the risk in operating the business, if it makes money or loses money it is all on them. The players response if the team or league folds? Go overseas and play and still make money. If the players are that unhappy with the pay structure and the rules they can do what the rest of us in the real world do, go out and find another job that you like.

      I am not saying that they are overpaid as I recognize what they bring to the table. I am, however, appalled that they feel like they should get more than half of the revenue when the owners assume all the expense and risk.

      I wonder how many people that love playing basketball and are very talented but never make it on that 12 man roster would be willing to work for the amount of money offered by the owners? I’m willing to bet it’s a pretty big number.

      • josh solis says

        i agree 100% with all you posted. there are always other people willing to do the work other complain about for less pay. and some will do it better. Also. the rich always wanna get richer. and an argument between to power houses, its always gonna come down to money issues. no one will be satisfied in the end because they are always gonna wonder if they should have asked for more!!!

        In the end, we all loose. owner, players. fans, and businesses that depend on the sport to bring in customers. i just see a bunch of selfish people fighting over the root of all evil!!! yet, it is a necessary evil at that!!! at times!!

      • Poet says

        I agree on some levels with what you are saying, however, Lebron msde yhr Clevland owner $1 billion and made $50 mil on the court… You call that fair? I’m not saying I completely age with the players, but I understand!

    • Steve says

      If that were true Michael all NBA franchises would be swimming in cash. The fact is few are. What people have to realize is with the current economy the players have to start accepting that they are getting enough. These organizations have massive overheads and the players are only 15 of 100′s they employ. Yes they are the most important part, but their salaries reflect that. Owners in ANY business should take a greater slice of the pie. No organization pays their most important people a large chunk of the revenue and survives. Trust me a business owner would rather be making money than losing it so the players request has obviously backed the owners into a corner and they’re fighting back – which I don’t blame them. The biiger picture here is thousands of people who earn small wages are being effectively sent broke by players that want more millions on top of the millions they already get. They are the real ones I feel sorry for.

      • Anthony S says

        I really dont understand how you guys compare the NBA to whatever business you’re in. The players are the main employees AND the product. What part of that is so hard to get? As an owner of any business you pay your employees AND you spend money on your product. That’s essentially what’s happening here. How can you bank off of your star players and then tell them they arent worth it when its time to negotiate a new deal??? I will never EVER understand this logic. Especially when the players are giving money back, didnt ask for a cent more. I sense a lot of resentment here.

      • jarrett says

        I agree with the parts of first comment above that you posted, but the owners that are not seeing profits would have gotten ALL of their money back in a deal in which the players still received 53% !!. They said their getting annual losses of 300 million a year — the players gave back 350 million a year for good measure!! Stern came back with hardliners like Jordan and Allen and said, “We’re not accepting anything unless its 50/50!! Now, who’s really greedy in this situation? Speaking of business models, the BRI is the income that players generate, it is does NOT include the money set aside for owners before the BRI is even split up. Under the last deal players recieved 57% of BRI which is only really 50% of all income the league generates. The new deal with a 50/50 split of BRI would leave the players taking less than 45% of ALL income!! You can’t tell me in a league in which people pay to see the players play, NOT necessarily the teams, that 300+ players deserve less than 45% of all revenue and the 55% should go to the leagues 30 owners ?

    • p00ka says

      Does your “equitable bargain” include an owner’s ability reduce the loss on an Eddy Curry like scenario? Isn’t it reasonable to have NFL type not fully guaranteed contracts? The players refuse to go there, and the owners gave that back.
      Does your “equitable bargain” include any attempt at leveling the playing field in hopes of giving some hope to the smaller market owners to compete against the big boys playing Steinbrenner’s game? The players refuse what the owners propose to deal with this, but have no argument against the problem, nor offer any alternative fixes.
      Just what is the equitable bargain you speak of?

  12. Chris stop ur candyland predictions I beg you says

    Chris I appreciate all your hard work. But now you are going to have to scale back your candyland predictions and give the people who listen to you a realistic opinion on when the season starts (or doesn’t).

    Whenever you decide to make another prediction, just say “It looks like the season is lost and the next season is questionable.” This way, the opposite will happen and games will start on December 15th.

    Thanks a million!

    • ignarus says

      In all fairness, Chris has been making his predictions based on what would be *reasonable* to do. The owners are making wild gambles on fan loyalty here. It’s not supported by any reasonable assumptions.

      it’s reported that when the owners were talking about blowing off the season and returning, Stern replied “to what?!” that might be bullshit, through and through, but i get the sense that Stern just doesn’t have the power to get a deal done here and the league is being highjacked by reckless idiot gamblers like Michael Jordan.

      Mutually assured destruction IS leverage and it’s unfortunate that these morons are just too damn greedy to put an offer on the table that Stern can save the season with.

      • Chris stop ur candyland predictions I beg you says

        SHUT UP IGNARUS. HOW DO I KNOW YOU’RE NOT CHRIS OR SOMEONE WHO’S JUST RIDING HIS DICK AND LOVES HIM.

  13. Corbie7 says

    Blame the union… players not smart enough to have forced the Union to vote on a great offer made by the owners… in reality players deserve NONE of the BRI…. it is not theirs. Owners do not touch endorsements why would players get any of the BRI??

    They are paid an incredible salary to “play” ball… they are acting like spoiled rotten children!

    Bring in the replacement players and lets have some ball!!

    • Chris stop ur candyland predictions I beg you says

      Corbie you’re an idiot. The fans pay to see the owners play right? They deserve none of the BRI. Actually the players should PAY the owners to be allowed to play in a great league like the NBA, right?

      Shut up and stop sounding like every ignorant fan. I want to see bball too and I don’t like this move but you just sound so ignorant.

      • nba fan says

        You’re right. They don’t pay to watch their owners, they pay to watch their favorite teams. Only it’s tougher to pay when your favorite team is like more than half in the league: never won a championship and probably never will. I wish the owners would have conceded more on the BRI and focused on fixing the system issues.

      • Corbie7 says

        HAHAHA… @NBA Fan…. sound like an idiot? Might want to reread what you wrote their genius!

        The only ignorant idiots are goofs like you who want to give the players everything they want!

        The NBA Lost money there genius… anyone with any business sense at all knows businesses that lose money go out of business, UNLESS major changes are made. Who in their right mind would pay their employees 57% of their revenue (BRI) when they are in that situation? ( I guess mr. nba fan would)

        @JorbotheBorb, yes it does makes sense, you are right… let me re-phrase… the players deserve nothing more from the BRI then the salaries they are paid.

    • JorbotheBorb says

      I don’t think you completely understand BRI.

      Those incredible salaries you mention ARE the players’ portion of BRI. If they had 0% of BRI, they wouldn’t have incredible salaries. Make sense?

    • ignarus says

      by what standard is this a “great offer?”

      i swear, some of you guys won’t be happy until the pros are getting treated like college kids.

      these guys get paid like moviestars because they BRING IN MONEY like moviestars. billions and billions or dollars.

      new owners are in debt BECAUSE THEY TOOK OUT MASSIVE LOANS TO BUY “THEIR” TEAMS!!!

      NONE of that is the players’ responsibility. they bring in billions upon billions of dollars. if that’s NOT ENOUGH for overleveraged owners, screw ‘em! it’s the league’s fault for letting guys who can’t afford to own teams into the league in the first place.

      Prohkorov = good. Micheal Jordan = bad.

      ————————-

      *If small markets aren’t competitive with big markets, there’s NO REASON why the players would want to give up anything to settle a fight that they have no stake in. if the league is losing money (which should be based on operation costs alone), fine, they’ll cover those losses. but the “make the bobcats competitive!” issue is something to be solved between teams with no concessions from the players.*.

  14. Brian says

    Sad day for basketball fans. I don’t even know who to blame anymore. Players are ripping apart Stern on Twitter. Stern went on Sportscenter to rip apart the players and Billy Hunter. And both sides are being too stubborn to realize how much more they are going to lose instead of making a few more concessions.

    I am a die-hard NBA fan, so no matter when this gets resolved, I am not going anywhere. But I think the NBA is going to lose the majority of the casual fans. I can see it taking years for the NBA to recover.

    I feel especially bad for all the people who depend on the NBA to make a living working in the arenas. They are now out of a job because millionaires and billionaires can’t figure out how to split billions of dollars. Way to go guys.

    • common-tater says

      Wrong. Arena workers don’t depend on the NBA for anywhere near 100% of their income. And if the owners would announce future cancellations with more lead time, the arenas could also fill some of the open dates with other events.

      • ChuloDO says

        Maybe not arena workers, tater, but all teams have some full-time employees, and some NBA employees have already been laid off.

  15. renny says

    Why should the players get more than 50% of BRI? It’s the owners who take all the financial risks. Sure you wouldn’t have a a league without the players but you wouldn’t have a league without the owners putting their capital at risk. Plus the proposed cap restrictions and free agency impediments are for the benefit of the league in the form of competitive balance.

    Why don’t the players decertify and try to organize a league themselves? Then they will see how great they really had it. Instead they are willing to give up millions of dollars in salary for…what? For similar terms to the kush deal that they negotiated a decade earlier.

    Well guess what. Times change. It’s a different world today with a different financial reality for everyone. Owners know that they inked a bad deal the last go around and they are restoring order. Why buy and run a team when you can barely make money?

    On the other side is this feeling of entitlement. Let the good times keep rolling no matter what the owner’s bottom line says. That’s the way it was so that’s the way it should be. As if the CBA is like a supreme court precedent. The truth is that the players have been suckered by their agents into giving up millions of dollars in salary with the undoubted message being that they’ve been treated unjustly.

    The world is coming to terms with corporate downsizing and living with less and here’s the bling crew showing up in their fashionable outfits to tell the world that they can’t live with less, that they are the victim of some corporate power play.

    That’s what happens when you can’t think for yourself.

      • PortoJS says

        Bingo. The players are the troops, the owners are the generals. The owners will be in this business for the better portion of their lives. The agents will be in this business for as long as they can find players to represent. The players have a few years then they are done.

        Like it or not, the players are disposible no matter if you are Lebron and Kobe or a guy on a 15 day.

        I feel badly for the rank and file players. These guys are going to take it in the shorts because the agents and lawyers convinced them that it is noble to stand up for “those that come after you”. Some day they will look back at this and wish they had just taken the deal.

  16. Mark says

    With an unemployment rate of 9 plus percent and a global recession to deal with, I, for one, hope this blows up in the players faces. I can only speak for myself: it will be a long long time before any of their BRI comes from me.

    • illyb says

      I was kind of still hoping the league would keep the 50/50 offer throw the players players a bone or two with the system and have a season. But I guess that is naivety at its best/worst.

      • Mark says

        Illyb: read the agreement. The owners threw plenty of bones.

        The agents (for the high priced players) are driving the train. The average NBA player is getting screwed. I’m pretty confident time will bear that out.

        • skelman says

          Mark: read the agreement. It sucks for the players.

          What exactly have the owners given to the players in this CBA negotiation? What is better for the players this time around compared to the last CBA?

          The players have given and given and it looks like the owners gambled and lost.

          • Peabody says

            Dude,don’t bother explaining to that guy.he’s biased.I supported owners position to start out,but its obvious who’s killing the season.lawyers will figure things out now since a reasonable solution couldn’t be reached. Hey mark ,you like to comment on the nba players lifestyle vs the common man. I did not see one thing in said proposal that’s gonna help the arena workers. No wage increases, nothing. Admit it :you don’t want a fair resolution, you just want the players to lose. Somebody hug this guy!

          • ignarus says

            This is what happens when David Stern lets the MJ gamble with billions of other people’s money.

            Small market hardliners blew it for EVERYBODY. Players would have decertified after the initial bullshit offer from the league but wanted to give them a chance to negotiate to something reasonable. They met them fully on money issues but it was NEVER going to be enough.

            Congratulations, you captains of industry.

          • Mark says

            Peabody: I’m fine with the players going this route if that is what they want to do. It’s their life.

            But we don’t really know if this is what the players want, do we. There never was a union vote on the owners latest proposal. We all know why that vote never took place.

          • PortoJS says

            What have the owners given???? The owners PAY the players millions of dollars for playing a GAME. If the players don’t want it then someone else will step up. For the owners, it is not a game. It is business. They risk their money to try to earn more money. This is why they are owners! The fans won’t get an NBA unless there are a group of people out there that can make money off this stuff. If a team like the Bobcats or the Hornets is guaranteed to lose money every single year, forever then guess what happens….. no more Bobcats or Hornets. What do you think the NBA is, a charity? Do you think this league exists because the fans want it? No, it exists because it makes money for the owners. If the Lakers, Knicks and Heat make all the money and nobody else does, then I guess the 3 teams can continue to play each other all season long while everybody else slowly goes out of business. And how exciting it will be to have 3 teams in the NBA!

            Even the big market owners know that competitive balance is key. You need enough teams to increase the size of the fan base. A smaller league with less cities diminishes the footprint and hence the popularity of the league.

            OK, for a second lets imagine that the players get everything they want. As a result, you have struggling teams and other teams losing money. Eventually, those owners get sick of losing money and elect to sell their teams. At much lower prices of course because who in their right mind would buy a money losing albatrose? If the owner can’t sell to at least cover their debt, the league has to step in and buy the team to prevent the lienholders from foreclosing. The last thing the league wants is a bank owned NBA team out there.

            It’s economics. Owning a team needs to have the opportunity to make a profit. If not, the team over the long term is doomed to failure.

          • ignarus says

            Mark — if the players are voting to decertify the union, i think it’s pretty clear that union leadership isn’t highjacking the talks.

            Part of me hoped the players would cave in and vote to end this crap fest, but that’s really mostly because I want to be entertained by NBA basketball, not because there’s any reasonable ground for owners to demand system concessions so they can more evenly compete with each other.

            If anything, I think Hunter and Fisher were more eager to accept a bad deal to get it done than the actual players were.

            There’s really not much the union can do but take it to antitrust court when the negotiations turned into an unprincipled power grab. If the team owners act like a monopoly, negotiating like the hold ALL the cards, that’s exactly what anti-trust law exists to shut down.

            I don’t know what will happen in court, but if the owners don’t cut a deal by the time the players vote to decertify, they DESERVE to pay treble damages for this lockout. I don’t know what will happen, but MJ is going to have trouble paying off his Bobcats debt without an NBA season to fund him.

            It probably won’t help if players start dropping his company’s sponsorship, too.

            But it’s just utterly ridiculous that we’ve got megamillionaires and billionaires posturing in this lockout like they’ve got nothing to lose.

            ===========

            Still, there’s still time to get a deal done, before the players officially vote to decertify. Hopefully that’s enough time for David Stern to shake some sense into the owners that think this is going to play out like it did with the NHL.

            IMO, the NBA is fueled by casual fans a LOT more than the NHL ever was and it’s stars have crossover appeal that other sports just don’t have. Plus, the NBA has a HUGE unfulfilled TV contract potential that they risk squandering by showing that they don’t know how to keep the sport alive through a simple CBA negotiation.

            Nobody is going to pay NFL money to a league run by proven idiots.

            But the owners are still gambling on winning it all like it’s house money. Ugh.

            I really wish I gave a shit about football or wasn’t bored to tears trying to watch the NCAA.

        • LT says

          That’s ridiculous. Max salaries are completely unchanged in the new deal. This has little/nothing to do with the max players. You appear to just have it in for the players.

    • LT says

      With an unemployment rate of 9 plus percent and a global recession to deal with, I, for one, hope this blows up in the owners faces. I can only speak for myself: it will be a long long time before any of their BRI comes from me.

        • Keith says

          You’re probably both right. As a miami fan I can say this has been one of the worst years ever, fins 2-7 canes 5-5 and lost to the noles, Marlins are still fish, and now this… Well at Lear there’s the panthers…

  17. Steve says

    What a suprise…the litigator (Boies) makes a strong recommendation to, um, litigate! And in an age old story we’ve seen play out a million times, everyone loses their shirts, except the lawyers who will get rich.

    As to the comment about players forfeiting 25% of their lifetime basketball salary…so what? The players constantly try and sell you that they only have a limited number of years to play in the league and make their money. Guess what – most people expect to work the majority of their lives, not just in their twenties and early thirties (I’m not trying to say that was LT’s point by the way). If you don’t make enough money playing basketball, then get a job when you’re done playing like everyone else does. Sheesh.

    Finally, to be clear, I’m not siding just with the owners or the players – I pretty much hate them both equally now. I do agree with the players that the owners made a limited effort to negotiate in good faith. The owners are right about one thing (sorry I guess I’m poking the players again) – they put up the capital and investment risk, not the players. The players keep wanting to draw this analogy to the entertainment industry and say hey, the talent makes the majority of the money. Well, they’re wrong again (and again and again); in Hollywood it’s the producers, the ones that put up the money, that reap the rewards. Maybe you get $10 million for doing a movie and that’s huge, but if it does well some producer pockets $100 million. There’s gotta be reward for the risk or no one would invest their own capital.

    • Anthony S says

      SO are you saying the owners didnt make anything in past deals?? Owners have a right to see a return on their investment, players have a right to make as much as they can while they can. I think I would compare this more to the music industry.

      An artist doesnt make much on the sales of a cd since its the label that invests most of the money into the project. They would make more off of touring. That dynamic is now changing, so now there are more “360″ deals where both the artist and the label share risk and reward.

      The economy is changing for everyone, I feel like the owners made a mistake in trying to get a landslide victory and the players were misguided and weren’t perpared with more creative ways to address the owners’ concerns.

      Lastly agreed to a 50/50 split…they just wanted some concessions on movement and making sure their true market value stayed intact. I dont see those as unfair or unreasonable demands.

      • LT says

        Why do owners have a right to a return on their investment? Do I have a right to a return on my investments in a new business? No. If I run my business well, it will do well. If I run it poorly, I will do poorly.

        America, where billionaires gets the benefits of socialism with none of the drawbacks. First we socialized the losses of the irresponsible banks, now we want to socialize the losses of the idiot bad owners. And we blame the players for their problems. Ridiculous.

        • Anthony S says

          No you’re right. Should’ve said the y have a right to want or try to get as much of a return as they can. I understand that they want to make a profit but it still has to be under reasonable terms.

          • ignarus says

            The main problem I see here is that bottom feeding team owners are trying to ‘overthrow’ the richer, more powerful teams, but they’re trying to do it at the expense of the players.

            Michael Jordan runs one of the worst teams in the league — a team that almost nobody would particularly mind seeing contracted. Yet, the players are supposed to finance his debt, guarantee a profit for him, AND make enough system concessions that he can compete every year with storied franchises like the Lakers and Celtics???

            The owners aren’t willing to negotiate, so now they’ve got to learn the hard way that the players really DO have some leverage in all of this.

    • says

      the players dont want more money maaaaan! all they want is the freedom to play where they want to play. Who doesnt want to have the option of deciding their employer???

    • says

      While I think that’s a bit negative, the fact is that the longer this drags out the more destructive it will be. Perhaps the owners will respond to this with a better offer, but if they dig in (and that seems likely), everyone loses.

      If the players “win” their pending anti-trust lawsuit, they bankrupt the NBA with a bill for $6 billion. If they lose, they lose all the existing contracts and end up with nothing.

      Of course, if all the current contracts are voided and the CBA no longer exists, small market owners are screwed with a capital “F”. With no rules regarding free agency, salary cap, the draft, etc., what hope do the Bucks, Bobcats, and Kings have of ever being relevant. They might as well be the Washington Generals who lose to the Globetrotters every night.

      This could be the day the league fundamentally changes…or maybe it’s just the day that the hard-line owners get a clue. I’m hoping for the latter.

      • ignarus says

        if the league gets bankrupted and the players get $8b out of it, they’ll be able to start up a league to replace the NBA… a decade from now when the appeals are up and the money changed hands.

        it’s the best shot Seattle has of getting a team back!

        honestly, you’ve hit on why i think stern’s threat to void the contracts falls flat. small market teams get good players through the draft and the draft ALONE.

        dump those contracts and you’ve got NOTHING to bring a player to OKC. good job, small market owners! well played!

  18. sickofthis says

    It’s incorrect Sheridan,the NBPA still exists but will not be representing the players from now.It will all being played out in court.

    • ignarus says

      i think there’s still time for the two sides to keep negotiating, though. the union files fr decertification and IIRC, they vote on it within something like a few weeks or more.

      so the union is probably only getting the ball rolling on this procedure. negotiations can continue.

  19. skelman says

    Epic fail.

    Looks like the owners pushed way too hard and it blew up in their face. Can anyone name anything that’s better for the players in the latest proposed deal?

    Even if the owners wanted to back off a few of the contentious points in the deal, and lets say cave to 51%, how would they negotiate that with the players? Who would they even negotiate with?

    Is there any chance of a deal being cut, I mean is it even logistically possible or are there steps in a courtroom that must happen first? What’s the new time line?

    • Mark says

      Skelman: the revised offer was 51%. Read the agreement. It is 50% plus 1% dedicated to player pensions. This was the proposal offered by the union.

      • skelman says

        Thank you for ignoring all my questions and trying to correct me poorly. I did read the agreement, they have a choice to accept 50/50 or the 49-51 band. It was simply an example of a part of the deal the owners might change on; and what do they do if they want to revise their offer, how do they negotiate with the players? That’s my question.

        I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned the BRI…should’ve just said what if they do want to change the system issues. Anyway…who do they negotiate with?

          • ignarus says

            Kinda sick of Mark, to be honest. But it’s a tough time to be an NBA fan, and people deal with grief differently. I can see where small market fans might feel like the owners are fighting for them, but they don’t need a lockout to level the playing field.

            Competitive balance can be fixed with revenue sharing, to the extent that it can be established in the first place.

            The only thing the league should be negotiating with the players for is league profitability. If they want to change the existing system that delivered RECORD EARNINGS to the league, they’ve got to give something back to the players in return.

            If the owners want to get rid of the MLE, they should raise max salaries, shorten rookie contracts. there’s NO REASON why the players should give up anything to make one team more competitive against another.

    • LT says

      It’s not about BRI anymore. The players would be fine with 50/50, if the system issues were in their favor. But they aren’t. The crazy new taxes make the soft cap almost a hard cap, and the limits on the exeptions mean that players have very few options when it comes to free agency. The owners got their cake (the BRI drop from 57% to 50%) and they want to eat it, too (a system that almost works like a hard cap).

      As little that I have in common with the players, I am proud of them for standing on principle. Don’t take whatever crumbs these rich babies give you. They are the product, they should get a say in the system. Good for them.

      • Mark says

        LT: As I’m sure you know, the players never voted on this proposal. Let’s see how they feel about this move a year from now.

        • LT says

          Regardless of whether the players cave in the future, be it a year or a month from now, I’m still impressed that they took this stand on principle. Most of the guys in the room today would not have their salaries changed by one penny by the new CBA. They were taking a stand on principle. I’m impressed. I thought they would cave and sell out the future players. I really can’t believe that they took this stand.

          • ChuloDO says

            Yeah. Kudos to the players for standing to their principles–even though it costs them 10% to 20% of their remaining NBA salary–which will not likely be compensated for, even if the owners give back a little.

            And kudos to the players for depriving the fans of the game that they have historically been devoted to.

      • Peabody says

        Ditto. Well put.my compliments to you. Principle people. If you don’t stand for something,you’ll fall for anything!

  20. FrankVogelisGOD says

    This season is done, if it ever even had a chance. Please, no more predictions on how this thing will turn out.

  21. Jay says

    Today is a bad day for basketball fans right now. >>GREEDY PUNKS<< The players dont give a sh*t cause they got millions of dollars. what a punk move by the union .

    • LT says

      Nonsense. The players are the opposite of greedy. They are forgoing paychecks to protect the system for players. Remember that players play an average of four years. That means each players is potentially forfeiting 25% of their lifetime basketball income in a missed season. Owners can be owners for as long as they want. Most players’ salaries won’t even be affected by this deal. They are taking a stand on principle. I applud them.,

      The owners want guarantees that they will all earn money, regardless of how they run their business. Sorry, that’s not the way America works. You have to run your business well to make money.

      • Mark says

        LT: since you are opposed to “guarantees,” I presume you also are opposed to guaranteed player contracts. So if a player gets hurt or loses skills, it would be proper for the owner to release that player without pay.

        Remember, no guarantees you will earn money.

        • LT says

          Bad analogy. There is a difference between a contract for an employee and a guarantee that you can make whatever business decisions you want and still make money. If you want to hire me, you need to pay me a certain amount of money. That’s a contract. If you are calling that an unfair “guarantee”, than I think you should tear up your own contract and tell your employer to pay you whatever they want to at the end of the year.

          • Mark says

            So you are picking and choosing what guarantees you want in a collective bargaining agreement? The players want guaranteed contracts and want the contracts to extend 5 years.

            As a matter of principle, I would think you would oppose the player demands to have contract guarantees.

          • Mark says

            LT: at almost any other job, one can be terminated for poor performance or for a variety of other reasons. I assume you would want those same free market principles to apply to NBA players.

            It’s funny how principle works when you apply it to real life situations.

      • ChuloDO says

        The principle that the players are standing for is financially irrational.

        With the possible exception of the top 10 or 20 or 30 players in the league, few to none of the players will be able to recuperate in the future what they lose economically this year.

    • says

      Jay – I agree that the players might be missing the boat here – after all, they get paid millions to play a game – but it’s not fair to blame them exclusively. The owners – many of them billionaires – decided a long time ago that there would be no basketball this season.

      The players were backed into a corner with a harsh, take-it-or-leave-it offer, and predictably they responded emotionally.

      If your boss came in and cut your pay 15% and told you that you weren’t ever going to get a promotion again, you might quit your job on the spot…even if you made a million dollars a year. It’s the principal of the thing, right?

      • Anthony S says

        Can we please stop with the arguement that “theyre paid to play a game”???
        Look at how many websites, TV networks, clothing lines, smartphone apps, etc this “game” fuels….

        • ignarus says

          When I play basketball on my X-Box, it’s a game.

          When pros play, it’s work and people collectively pay BILLIONS of dollars to watch it and associate their brands with it.

          NBA stars generate more money than anyone else in the sports world. If the NBA followed basic free market principles, the Knicks would have a $200m payroll and Lebron would be up there getting paid $50m a year.

          The NFL’s best quarterback can’t help his team for HALF the game. Top pitchers in MLB don’t play in even HALF of the games and bring almost nothing to the table on offense.

          A top player in the NBA affects both sides of the floor, shares the ball with only 4 other guys, can bring the ball all the way up the court on and score on his own, can’t be intentionally walked like a great hitter can, and can play for about 80% of the games total minutes or ALL of them if the game is important enough!!!

          No other team sports’ stars can do ANYTHING like that — and it’s worth BILLIONS of dollars.

          So enough with the “paid to play a game” bullshit. It’s work and it’s worth a whole shit load of money.

          ME in the basement playing table tennis = game.

          NBA star playing basketball in front of millions of fans = NOT A GAME.

          • ChuloDO says

            Sorry; basketball still is a game. Just like winning Jeopardy on TV is still playing a game.

            LOL that you are comparing a QB to a basketball player. In football, a player could be permanently injured; rarely does that happen in the NBA.

  22. Frank says

    Boies represented the NFL, not the NFL players. He’s switching sides, which gives some credence to the players’ case.

    • Vincent says

      It doesn’t lend credence to anything except hypocrisy, which will no doubt be raised if they ever get before a judge and he tries to say the exact opposite of what he said before the Court in the NFL case.

      • p00ka says

        Or, it lends credence to the concept of lawyers simply following the money trail. He gets paid, win or lose. You raise a good point about the lawyer having limited arguments in issues where he argued the other side before. Did Stern suggest the players hire that lawyer?

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