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NBA SET TO ANNOUNCE NO STRIKE/NO LOCKOUT PACT TODAY
Published October 27, 1994
The NBA and the NBPA, "days away from an unannounced league- ordered work stoppage, reached an agreement in principle" late last night on a no-strike/no-lockout pledge that will allow the season to start on time on November 4. According to sources, the league had notified the NBPA "about a week ago that a lockout would have begun Monday had they not come to this understanding. That will become a moot point, however, when the pact is completed and announced" in New York today (Scott Howard-Cooper, L.A. TIMES, 10/27). The joint NBA-NBPA news conference is scheduled for 2:00pm EDT (USA TODAY, 10/27). Had the no- strike/no-lockout pledge not been reached, NBA owners would have discussed the possibility of a lockout during a meeting in Chicago next Monday. Negotiations between NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham are ongoing (Richard Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27). Yesterday afternoon, Grantham sent a fax to agents on the CBA advisory board stating that league officials had informed him that if no agreement "in principle" is reached on a new contract by Monday, the owners would lock out the players (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27). THE DEAL: In New York, Murray Chass reports that the "key element" was the consent of players David Wood and Howard Eisley to postpone a lawsuit filed on their behalf Monday over the league's "allegedly artificial reduction of the salary cap for this season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). Eisley said before a game on Tuesday that "he knew little about the suit. In fact, his name was volunteered by his agent, Frank Catapano." Catapano said that Jeffrey Kessler, the attorney handling the suit, called various agents and asked if any of their clients would have been paid more if the "cap hadn't been misrepresented" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/26). NEGOTIATIONS: Despite the no-strike, no-lockout deal, the two sides "were not close" to agreement on a new CBA. Last week, the league offered the union a proposal that includes a hard salary cap, "removing some of the gimmicks that have enabled teams to circumvent the cap." The union proposes eliminating the cap entirely (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). The hard cap proposal by the league also included a prohibition on contracts with an "escape clause after one year." That has been a "sticking point" with the NBA, which took several players to court over their opt-out clauses (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27). According to one owner, "the atmosphere at the bargaining table has been fairly positive" (Peter Vecsey, N.Y. POST, 10/27). MacMullan, from "SportsCenter": "The one drawback to the players -- it gives David Stern everything he wants. The games continue, his reputation remains intact, and the expired agreement, which he happens to like very much, will remain in effect" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/26).