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D-DAY IN DALLAS: NBA OWNERS SET TO VOTE ON RE-OPENING CBA
Published March 23, 1998
The NBA's Board of Governor's is "poised to take the first step in a journey that will lead to a modified collective bargaining agreement or an uncertain labor future," according to David Moore of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. League officials "confirmed" that today in Dallas owners will void the final three years of the NBA's agreement and "return to the negotiating table" with the NBPA. Moore also reports that NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter has said that he plans to meet with the league around April 1 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/23). NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "Lockout isn't part of our vocabulary right now. ... You never know, but we have a very cordial and professional relationship with union leadership, and we'll do our best to try and maintain that." Hunter: "[W]e've still got between now and October and November to work out a deal." In N.Y., Mike Wise pointed to the "smart" participants in the negotiations, Granik, Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern, and wrote to "expect both sides to compromise before the summer ends" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/23). In Boston, Peter May wrote the difference between today and the last NBA labor disruption in '95 is Hunter, "who has shown already that he is both reasonable and dogged" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22). NOT OPTIMISTIC: In N.Y, Mitch Lawrence wrote that Stern is "expected to get a pulse on whether his employers are willing to shut down operations for what might be a year." One ownership source: "There are some owners who want to make a big-time stand and get to the root of the issues." While there are questions of how "unified" ownership is "to commit to more than a summer-time lockout," Lawrence added that "hawks," including the Jazz's Larry Miller and the Clippers' Don Sterling, "will push to lock the players out for a year, if necessary" (DAILY NEWS, 3/22). In L.A., Mark Heisler wrote Stern "reportedly is ready to lock the players out till next Christmas or longer" (L.A. TIMES, 3/22).