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NBA, PLAYERS TRY TO PLAY BEAT THE CLOCK ON LABOR DEAL
Published June 28, 1996
Negotiators for the NBA and its players "were working overtime last night" to resolve the remaining issues regarding the to-be-signed collective bargaining agreement in hopes of averting the second lockout in as many years, according to the WASHINGTON POST. Sources from both sides said talks were likely to continue today. Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner David Stern told BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS that he will "ban" free agents signings if there is no deal by Monday, July 1 -- the day players can begin negotiations with teams. Mark Asher reports, "Neither side was predicting a deal will be struck" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/28). On the issue of payment for the use of the players' logo, USA TODAY's Roscoe Nance reports the union originally asked for $31M, but has lowered that demand to $29M -- money which will go to the players, not the union (USA TODAY, 6/28). BAD DREAM TEAM: USA Basketball spokesperson Craig Miller said they have not heard from any Dream Team member that he will not report in the event of a lockout. One NBA GM, saying said an Atlanta boycott would be "tragic": "I understand wanting to put pressure on the NBA, but that just isn't the right thing to do. You're supposed to be playing for your country in an international competition. What does that have to do with the amount of money you make or the benefits you are receiving?" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/28). OPINIONS: In Chicago, Lacy Banks calls the owners' threat of a lockout a "bully tactic that can be costly for all parties because I don't think the players will surrender like they did last year." He continues, "With TV money, foreign commitments and the league's image at stake, I believe the players are better able to call the owners' bluff." Banks calls the players' demand for $29M from group licensing "chump change" and indicates he would support a player boycott of the Olympics should the league lock out its players (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/28). In New York, Peter Vecsey is "convinced they'll avert a lockout. Why? Because David Stern always has said, 'If money is the only obstacle [which, Vecsey notes, it is] preventing us from reaching an agreement, we can work it out'" (N.Y. POST, 6/28).