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STERN AND NBA RISE ABOVE THE FRAY: LOCKOUT TALK REJECTED
Published October 6, 1994
In an attempt to avert a work stoppage, diffuse labor- management tensions, and set the NBA apart from the strife plaguing baseball and hockey, Commissioner David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors declined to set a lockout date (Mult., 10/6). Stern also declared that "all issues are negotiable except for some form of revenue sharing between players and owners." Stern: "There are no ultimata, no gaunlet being thrown down here. We would like to have a deal as soon as possible" (Fred Kerber, N.Y. POST, 10/6). FORGET THE HEAVY GUNS: Stern and the league "believes there is time to sit down with the players and hammer out a new labor agreement." Stern: "We have never had a strike and never had a lockout. We know what a strike is. We know what a lockout is. But those particular weapons have never been called into action. We haven't and we don't plan to" (Richard Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 10/6). REAX FROM THE PLAYERS: NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham was reportedly "impressed" by Stern's words, but no talks have been scheduled. Grantham: "The message is clear: There is intent to negotiate and resolve the issues by the owners. It's good that a lockout has not been deemed a target. We'll talk" (Alex Marvez, MIAMI HERALD, 10/6). DREAM TEAM III? The Board of Governors elected a negotiating committee to conduct talks with the players association: Larry Miller of the Jazz; Jerry Buss of the Lakers; Gordon Gund of the Cavaliers; Stan Kasten of the Hawks; Jim Fitzgerald of the Warriors; and Harold Katz of the 76ers (Filip Bondy, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/6). Miller: "We have time and we want to keep this in a non-hostile environment" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 10/6). Katz: "We're open to all discussion on how we define gross, what is the gross, and what percentage of the gross they get. We're asking them [the NBPA] to submit things to us, naturally, and we'll submit things to them" (Frank Lawlor, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/6). PRAISE FROM STERN, PRAISE FOR STERN: Stern declared himself "Easy Dave" to the news media -- and in this morning's N.Y. TIMES, Harvey Araton writes that yesterday was Stern's "greatest performance facing the lights." Araton: "It was also the one- time tax attorney in his natural element, in a dazzling presentation of sanguine pragmaticism, sure-footed tap-dancing and a professed love for all mankind, in particular the kind who can dribble and dunk" (Harvey Araton, N.Y. TIMES, 10/6). ESPN's Craig Kilborn: "Bud Selig and Gary Bettman both know David Stern, they've met David Stern, but they're no David Stern. NBA Commissioner David Stern has guaranteed that his league will start on time" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/6). CNN's Mark Morgan credited Stern with "a very diplomatic approach" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 10/5). EXPANSION NEWS: Also at the meetings, the NBA assigned divisions for the expansion Raptors and Grizzlies. The Raptors will be in the Central Division and the Grizzlies in the Midwest. Raptors VP of Operations Isiah Thomas: "The thing that helps us in the Central is probably ease of access for our fans in terms of away games" (Robert MacLeod, Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL, 10/6).