SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBPA VP SAYS LEAGUE AND PLAYERS "VERY CLOSE" TO A DEAL

     NBPA VP Charles Smith told the N.Y. POST's Peter Vecsey that
he believes the union and the NBA are "very close" to an
agreement on a new CBA.  Smith:  "In fact, I think it already
would have been settled and signed had there been more pressure
to get it done by a certain deadline."  While Smith attributed
some of the delay to the time constraints on player reps during
the season, Vecsey notes that NBPA President Buck Williams (whose
Blazers trail the Suns, 2-0) "could be freed up real soon for
full-time negotiations."
     WHERE DO THEY STAND?  A recent union memo noted the players'
acceptance of a cap and the league's acceptance of a one-round
draft.  Still, NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik noted there
are "some very, very important issues still to resolve."  On the
table, according to Smith:  The level and flexibility of the cap;
revenue-sharing (the players want a 50-50 split of "everything");
division of merchandise sales; and, the "Larry Bird exception,"
which allows a team to re-sign its players at any cost.  On the
properties split, the owners are offering a guarantee of $75M
over the next three years, while the players want 40% of all
revenue from logo and player likeness merchandise and a guarantee
of $50M/year through 2002.  Smith called the Bird rule the
"toughest issue of them all."  While the players would prefer the
status quo, Vecsey reports the owners "either want to phase out
the exception or limit it so that it's not totally open ended"
(N.Y. POST, 5/2).
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