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SAM SMITH WRITES OF POSSIBLE LABOR WOES ON NBA HORIZON
Published September 19, 1997
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).