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SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING DISAGREEMENT: CAMP, SIGNINGS DELAYED
Published January 19, 1999
The NBA has "postponed" the opening of training camps and the free agent signing period because the new CBA "has yet to be finished and signed," according to Lacy Banks of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The "biggest disagreement" concerns the new salary-cap exception, allowing teams over the cap to sign an additional free agent. The union wants the exception to be used for six-year contracts and the league wants it "limited" to three-year deals. NBA Senior VP/Communications Brian McIntyre: "Camps definitely won't open (today)." A league source said that there are "so many unresolved issues, camps might not open until Friday" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/19). In N.Y., Mike Wise writes that another "minor issue" to be resolved involves salary cap circumvention, "to insure teams and agents do not conspire to go around the agreement's terms in their negotiations." League and union execs are "concerned that the lockout would not be lifted until late this week" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19). Wise wrote on Sunday that other issues include the "haggling over" the definition of BRI, sharing of TV revenue, and "several conduct issues" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18). NBPA Outside Counsel Jeffrey Kessler: "We've drafted and reviewed over 400 pages, including the anti-drug agreement and other agreements. Just because of the time involved, getting through all the language, it is virtually impossible it could get signed today" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19). LICENSE TO MARKET: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports that NBA CMO Rick Welts said that the NBA and union "extended" the agreement granting the league licensing rights to the names and faces of its players for "two years beyond the new six-year collective bargaining agreement." Since the league can extend the CBA to a seventh year, the new group licensing deal is good "for either eight or nine more years." The NBA's "guarantee" of $25M annually to players as payment for their licensing rights continues, but a union source said that the number will drop to $20M this season, due to the lockout (BRANDWEEK, 1/18 issue). SEASON OF FORGIVENESS: The NBA reinstated seven refs who had been suspended by the league after being "charged and found guilty" of committing tax fraud. In Chicago, Lacy Banks called the move, which will "help upgrade the quality of play," "welcome and timely" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/17). NBA Commissioner David Stern, from a statement: "This is a time for healing. Each of the referees has accepted his punishment and expressed genuine remorse for his actions" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/16). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote that Stern "can talk about forgiveness, but the league had no choice but to reinstate" the referees because it "was going to have a problem filling its 58-man roster." A league source said that the NBA will reinstate other refs who are "still in the IRS's pipeline," but they will first have to "sit out six months" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/17). NOTES: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand profiles Weil, Gothshal & Manges' attorney Jim Quinn, who played a key role in the final CBA deal (USA TODAY, 1/19)....76ers President Pat Croce, after 76ers G Allen Iverson was served court papers for failing to make lease payments on three Mercedes: "Maybe now that Michael Jordan's retired, [David Falk] will pay more attention to Allen" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/18).