SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies

GRANTHAM OUT AS NBA UNION HEAD IN MIDST OF NEGOTIATIONS

     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).
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