SBD/30/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA LOCKOUT, PART II: EARLY MEDIA LINE GIVES OWNERS THE EDGE

          NBA Commissioner David Stern "remains a power, perhaps
     the last powerful commissioner," according to Mark Heisler
     of the L.A. TIMES, who writes that a lockout "will be a test
     for him."  Heisler: "Sources suggest that he's still riding
     tall in the saddle, his owners falling in line behind him,
     even if some don't like the idea" (L.A. TIMES, 6/30).  Suns
     President Jerry Colangelo: "I would say that the owners are
     prepared to do what's necessary to correct the system
     because the system doesn't work" (AZ REPUBLIC, 6/30).
          DO OWNERS HAVE THE EDGE: In Denver, Mike Littwin calls
     the lockout "a huge gamble" for Stern.  Littwin: "Who will
     blink? ... [H]ow many paychecks do the other
     multimillionaires want to miss?  And although the owners
     don't want to lose any games, how important exactly are NBA
     games in November?  I give the owners the slight edge. ...
     The NBA union is untested" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 6/30).  In
     Philadelphia, Rich Hofman writes that the NBA "has all the
     leverage" and that the players "will be lucky to get out of
     this thing with their union intact" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY
     NEWS, 6/30).  In Toronto, Craig Daniels writes that the
     union "will fight to the bitter end.  Or until their
     membership starts missing [paychecks]" (TORONTO SUN, 6/30).
     NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter: "These guys will not submit,
     surrender or cave in as they did, under past history, if
     they faced losing a paycheck" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/30).  On
     CBS SportsLine, Andy Jasner calls the players "flat-out
     greedy" (CBS SportsLine, 6/30).  But in Philadelphia, Mike
     Bruton: "If the NBA owners hadn't blinked three years ago
     under the steely stare of a players' union mutiny, we
     wouldn't be on the verge of a work stoppage for the coming
     season" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 6/30).  In N.Y., Ian O'Connor
     predicts an agreement in late October as the "best-case
     scenario," and calls the NBA's statement of unprofitablity a
     "hard-to-believe claim" (DAILY NEWS, 6/30).       
          COULD PLAYERS BREAK? ESPN's David Aldridge reported
     that while the players have saved some money from their
     licensing pool, he believes it will be "very difficult ...
     for players to withstand a very long and prolongated
     lockout."  Aldridge: "I'm sure that as we go into August and
     maybe September and there hasn't been a deal done yet, the
     pressure is going to really start to mount inside, from a
     players' standpoint, to try and make a deal that works"
     (ESPN, 6/30).  But agent Bill Strickland said, "I get a
     strong sense that the players have an absolute resolve about
     not acting hastily this time" (STAR-LEDGER, 6/30).  Agent
     Arn Tellem said that most players "understand a lot is at
     stake and that they have to show solidarity, from stars to
     role players to guys at the end of the bench" (AP, 6/30). 
     Hunter: "They [the NBA] may have miscalculated this time. 
     If they realize the players are in for the long haul, then
     they may become softer in their demands" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/30). 
     Agent Marc Fleisher said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the
     lockout went until October.  Agent Joel Bell: "I expect this
     to last for at least the summer" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 6/30). 
          TOUGH TALK: In NJ, Dave D'Alessandro writes the "gloves
     have come off, the rhetoric is about to begin" (Newark STAR-
     LEDGER, 6/30).  Hunter: "[T]he league is profitable, the
     commissioner and the deputy commissioner are the highest
     paid in professional sports, the number of league employees
     is growing and the average salary of coaches is higher than
     that of the players.  So why are things so bad?" (S.F.
     CHRONICLE, 6/30).  Stern: "What we're hearing is, 'Whatever
     we have, we have, and anything else is the owners' problem.' 
     Well, that can't be" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 6/30).  In N.Y.,
     Kevin Kernan writes that fans "don't care" about basketball
     in the summer, but the "problem is, they may not care come
     November" (N.Y. POST, 6/30).   A N.Y. TIMES editorial states
     "this could be a confrontation in which no one blinks until
     a large part of the season -- or even all of it -- has been
     canceled" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/30). 

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