October 5, 2011 by staff
NBA LOCKOUT, An NBA collective bargaining agreement will be reached later this weekend. That’s my prediction. That’s where I’m putting my money for beer. I told two friends who would buy the barrels if I were wrong.
If the blockage persists, regular season games were lost for just the second time in NBA history. But nothing happened in these last days I was convinced to take advantage of the savings.
Progress was made in a number of issues, including the adoption of a more generous revenue sharing package for small to mid-market owners have followed for years. In addition, owners softened its insistence on applying a soft vs hard salary cap, although details on sanctions luxury guaranteed contract lengths and exceptions player not yet were completed.
The most controversial point remains the division of basketball related income (BRI), the essence of the league’s economic model. If the players continue to receive 57 percent of the BRI? If that figure is cut in half 40, as suggested by the owners of the NBA, 22 of whom claim to have lost millions in the last season? Or you can accommodate an average of the two parties?
The BRI 50-50 has been the answer all along, not only because it establishes an equitable division of revenue, but also by their language advances the notion of a legitimate association between the owners and players.
“We asked the players: either side would keep the idea of?? A 50-50 agreement?” Stern said. “While in the process of discussion with the owners, who were advised by the players who would not? It is fair to say that we were making good progress with the owners, but was interrupted by the players saying no.”
So we’re not there yet. They give the week. On Tuesday night, Stern said the owners have offered to agree to share players by 47 percent and contemplate jumping to 50 percent. Perhaps because the revenue-sharing proposal that says it has successfully negotiated, to appease some of the hard-line owners, Stern seems to be getting less resistance these days in their own field.
The executive director Billy Hunter Union, also a lawyer, is in a much more delicate. Although it has long believed his constituents would compromise with 50 to 53 percent of total revenue, still feeling the pressure of several high-powered agents decertification lobbying, among other things.
In a letter to the agent Arn Tellem Bill Duffy, Dan Fegan, Jeff Schwarz, Rosa Leon and Thomas Henry sent his clients the NBA before Tuesday’s meeting – and obtained by SI.com – players were encouraged to caution and given specific advice on the issues.
But unlike the discussion in 1998-99, when the union leadership was in the hands of individual agents, current players association president Derek Fisher has stood firm behind Hunter and able to keep their bases of fragmentation.
“We are employees and the NBA are the entrepreneurs,” Fisher said Tuesday, “and that the key for the lock will be more.”
Losing the preseason games is a minor inconvenience. But a week from now? If Stern, hunter and fisherman are not sitting next to a microphone, all smiles and ready to start collecting their wages, bet I get my beer.
As was clearly evident during the 1998-1999-labor impasse, when the blockade ended with the first two months and shortens the 50-game regular season, once the original threshold is crossed – the first meaningful games lost – the dynamic changes.
Positions harden. Commitments increasingly difficult. The three most important people in the room – Stern, hunter and fisherman – will have more voice in their ears, more challenges to his leadership. So, friends, forgetting a shorter season. So really we could be looking at any station.
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