SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA LEAGUE MEETINGS: STERN TALKS OF POTENTIAL LOCKOUT

          At the league meetings in Orlando, NBA Commissioner
     David Stern suggested Friday "that the owners will exercise
     their option to reopen and renegotiate" the CBA after this
     season, according to Tim Povtak of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. 
     Such a reopening "could lead to a player lockout, another
     decertification effort of the player's union and the first
     regular-season work stoppage in league history."  Stern: "I
     understand the possibilities, but we'll do what we have to
     do.  We think it [the CBA] could use some improvement." 
     Povtak: "Even with ticket prices escalating and the
     popularity of the game moving globally, too many teams are
     beginning to lose money.  Many owners don't like what they
     see in the future."  Stern estimated that "one-third or
     more" of the NBA teams lost money last season and that
     "almost" half "are expected to lose money this season."  The
     NBA would like to close "various loopholes" that enable
     teams to exceed the current salary cap and owners "want a
     new deal before the bidding begins next summer on a new crop
     of free agents."  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "We
     feel that the salary system may be out of whack."  Stern:
     "We would like to come up with a notion that actually sees
     player salaries continue to rise at a rate that keeps pace
     with increases in revenue without seeing ticket prices rise
     at such an extraordinary rate" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/20). 
     Granik, on the number of teams losing money: "That's a big
     difference from a few years ago, when it was only one or two
     teams" (Peter May, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/20).  In N.Y., Mike Wise
     wrote that NBA labor peace "may be threatened again."  The
     league can reopen talks at its option, without union
     approval, but no action can be taken until April (N.Y.
     TIMES, 9/20).  NBPA Exec Dir Bill Hunter: "If the league is
     so inclined to set aside that deal, so be it.  Everything
     will be back on the table" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/20).
          REAX: In Fort Lauderdale, Ira Winderman: "Based on the
     tone of the league's highest-ranking officials, as well as
     the stance of the union's newly elected leadership, a
     showdown appears inevitable for the lone major U.S. sports
     league never to experience a work stoppage" (SUN-SENTINEL,
     9/20).  In Boston, Peter May: "The possibility of another
     summer labor mess is real" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).  USA
     TODAY's Greg Boeck writes that "at issue" is the league's
     salary structure, as "owners committed more than" $1B to
     long-term player deals last summer.  But Boeck adds that the
     NBPA "is armed for a confrontation" with its newly elected
     President, Patrick Ewing (USA TODAY, 9/22).  One NBA exec,
     who requested anonymity: "I think there are some big
     questions about whether the league can continue to work this
     way.  Something has to be done."  The exec added: "If we
     ever come to a period of non-growth, then the league is in
     deep, deep, deep trouble" (DENVER POST, 9/21).

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