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GRANTHAM OUT AS NBA UNION HEAD IN MIDST OF NEGOTIATIONS
Published April 18, 1995
Late Friday afternoon, the NBPA and Charles Grantham released a joint statement announcing Grantham's resignation as NBPA Exec Dir. The release cited "irreconcilable differences concerning matters of Association governance." NBPA President Buck Williams said Grantham was leaving on "amicable terms." NBPA General Counsel Simon Gourdine will assume Grantham's duties, effective immediately (NBPA). WHAT BROUGHT IT ON? Two sources close to the union told the N.Y. TIMES that the NBPA executive board "either ousted Grantham or allowed him to step down under pressure, mainly because he had failed to move along negotiations" for a new CBA. NBPA Exec VP Charles Smith: "After months and months of talking about the future, and what needs to be done, it just got to the point where we saw a difference of opinion and it wasn't going to change" (Mike Wise, N.Y. TIMES' 4/15). In an interview, Grantham shed little light on the situation: "I analogize it to a coach and his players. When things don't go as you wanted them to for a long time, what do you do? You get rid of the coach." Grantham "vehemently denied" that he had pushed for a work stoppage, but "admitted his proposals and vision, ultimately, were not going over with the union as well as they once had" (Mike Wise, N.Y. TIMES, 4/16). HOOP WRITERS REACT: In New York, Peter Vecsey writes, "Common sense dictates something definitely went down the wrong wind pipe and it had nothing to do with Grantham's collective bargaining work. Either Grantham did something funny or he lost a power struggle to Gourdine." Vecsey suspects the former, citing word of "unnecessary trips at the union's expense" (N.Y. POST, 4/18). In Chicago, Sam Smith writes, "The resignation is not considered good news for the NBA since Grantham was a more experienced negotiator, suggesting some hard-line players may be moving to a position of power, which would lead to uncertainty for the league" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/16). Lacy Banks writes, "For the players to lose their top leadership in the middle of negotiations certainly is no show of strength" (CHICAGO SUN- TIMES, 4/16). In Boston, Mark Murphy writes the move "would seem to indicate serious division within the ranks" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/15). Jackie MacMullan writes, "As the dust settles, league officials will try to determine whether the union was unhappy with Grantham because it thought his stance on the [CBA] was too hard or too soft" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16). In Dallas, David Moore writes the resignation "may change the tone of negotiations with the NBA, but it's not expected to change the substance" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/16). In Denver, Mike Monroe writes, "What's clear is that something had to be very wrong inside the union for Grantham to leave before an agreement" (DENVER POST, 4/16). WHERE DO TALKS STAND? In Washington, Richard Justice cites "various sources" who say Grantham's resignation "won't affect labor negotiations. A deal apparently will get done during the playoffs and will include a rookie salary cap" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/18). In New York, Mitch Lawrence cites a union source who reports "some progress" and says that a union counter-offer made in the last month would "not change the landscape as dramatically as has been indicated." Notes Lawrence, "In other words, a cap still will be part of the deal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/15). OTHER QUOTES: NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik released a statement praising Grantham: "We have always maintained a productive business relationship with the union's leadership and are confident that this relationship will continue with the union under the direction of Buck and Simon" (Mult., 4/15). One NBA official: "It came right out of the blue. We'd heard nothing to indicate there was a problem" (Richard Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 4/15). Mark Fleisher, a former member of the Agents Advisory Committee for the CBA and son of Grantham's predecessor, Larry Fleisher: "By coming out so early and saying he wanted to put an end to the salary cap, and the draft, and restricted free agency, he boxed himself into a corner. And, when he ended up shuffling back from that corner, he lost a lot of credibility, both with the league and with his own people" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).