SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

JUDGE LEAVES OPEN NBA'S RIGHT TO CHALLENGE OPT-OUT PACTS

     Federal Judge Dickinson Debevoise ruled yesterday that the
contracts of Toni Kukoc, A.C. Green and Chris Dudley did not
violate the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, but withheld a
ruling on the validity of Horace Grant's contract with the Magic.
Debevoise stated that his original ruling on the Dudley contract
last year governed all three "opt-out" contracts signed last
year.  The key difference with Grant is that he signed his
contract, which contains the one-year "opt-out" clause, this
year.  The judge "left the door open to the league."  But Grant
is still expected to play for Orlando next season, regardless of
the "disposition of the case, because he can always re-sign the
same deal" with a 2-year out (Sam Smith, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/13).
     LEAGUE IS HOPEFUL:  In rejecting a motion for summary
judgment in favor of the Magic and Grant, Debevoise "set the
stage for a reargument of the underlying issues" from last year's
Dudley case.  A trial is expected to take place before the start
of the season (Robert Thomas, N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).  The decision
"buoyed the hopes" of NBA VP for Legal/ Business Affairs Jeffrey
Mishkin: "By far the more important holding is that all new
contracts can be challenged if they contain the one-year outs and
appear to be designed to circumvent the cap."  Mishkin said any
free agents who sign contracts for less than market value that
include one-year outs can expect them to be voided.  A.C. Green:
"What the NBA thinks is your market value, and what your team
thinks may be completely different.  This was a perfect example
of that" (Bob Young, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/13).  Deputy NBA
Commissioner Russ Granik was "cheered" by the decision "simply
because it established that the Dudley case was not the last word
on the subject" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).
     ORLANDO REAX:  Magic VP John Gabriel: "The cap will seem to
change each year as we try to find ways to get around the
problems of the salary cap.  It is something we have to be
prepared for.  We need to utilize the next few days to get
together with these agents to find out what some of our options
are" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/12).  Gabriel "said the Magic are
reluctant to pursue the issue further in court because training
camp opens in just three weeks."  Several agents said Grant "must
decide between his professed love for Orlando and re-signing with
the Bulls for more money" (Barry Cooper, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/13).
     PLAYERS REAX:  NBPA exec dir Charles Grantham: "We are
pleased the Judge agreed with the players that this issue was
decided last year, and that the players had every right to opt
out and sign new contracts with their teams without regard to the
salary cap" (DAILY sources, 9/12).  Green's agent Marc Fleisher:
"The judge made the right decision. ... We followed the NBA's
instructions and did everything they asked.  If we had known they
would challenge it, we could have signed a contract with a two-
year out.  Once the judge ruled that one-year outs were
acceptable, we chose to incorporate that in the contract"
(ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/13).
Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug