SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

SAM SMITH WRITES OF POSSIBLE LABOR WOES ON NBA HORIZON

          From the NBA's annual meetings in Orlando, Sam Smith of
     the CHICAGO TRIBUNE writes that "the rocket ship called the
     NBA that soared above all sports in the '90s may have
     reached its zenith, and the ride down may prove more heart-
     stopping than imagined."  Smith: "As league, team and
     network TV officials gathered for a weekend of meetings, a
     serious potential malfunction occupied their thoughts. ...
     [T]he consensus ... is that a lockout or strike looms after
     this season."  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "It's
     clear in some respects our collective bargaining agreement
     is not working so well."  Smith reports that the labor
     contract signed two years ago "has become an albatross" that
     "must be removed."   Also, while ten teams "lost money last
     season ... as many as 15 could lose money" this year.  One
     team exec listed Boston, New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia,
     Washington, Cleveland, Indiana, Milwaukee, the Clippers,
     Sacramento, Vancouver, San Antonio, Minnesota, Denver and
     Dallas "as teams that have lost money or face potential
     deficits."  As the league and owners "dig in for what could
     be a lengthy labor battle next fall," the players'
     association is "building a strike fund."  Led by newly
     elected President Patrick Ewing, and his agent, David Falk,
     the union "has been taken over by hard-line players and
     attorneys who tried to scuttle" the '95 deal (CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE, 9/19).  On his "NBA Beat," ESPN's David Aldridge
     reported that, "The revenge of the dissident agents is
     complete."  Falk, "who is among the most bitter opponents"
     of the CBA, now has three clients, Ewing, Juwan Howard and
     Dikembe Mutombo, on the NBPA Exec Committee (ESPN, 9/18).

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