SBD/Issue 32/NBA Season Preview

NBA Season's Intriguing Storylines Intertwined With CBA Issues


The '10-11 NBA season "will largely be defined by the Heat," but this season's "most compelling stories will be intertwined with the drama at the bargaining table," according to Howard Beck of the N.Y. TIMES. The NBA's labor deal, set to expire in July, for years "kept superstars at home, with longer contracts and more guaranteed money." It "promoted parity and stability and kept the small markets happy." But the "dam broke in July" when Fs LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the Heat, C Amar'e Stoudemire joined the Knicks and F Carlos Boozer joined the Bulls. The "talent migration was staggering." It "put some executives and fans on edge, and sent ripples across the league" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). Bucks Owner Herb Kohl said of the labor situation, "There's only so much any owner is allowed to say. Except we feel we need to have a good collective bargaining agreement that serves the needs of all teams and we need to have a revenue-sharing program that fits the needs of the league. I think we're proceeding in an orderly way" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/26). In Detroit, Lynn Henning writes issues "so thorny they led to a lockout and a shortened 1998-99 season appear to be more grave and contentious than they were even then." 76ers assistant coach Michael Curry, who was a "member of the union bargaining effort during the 1998-99 imbroglio," believes that "dark forecasts for a shutdown are perhaps accurate, but avoidable -- if two parties with mutual overall interests can find common turf." Henning writes, "Everyone with a stake in the NBA understand[s] the loss of a season, to any degree, would produce its share of casualties on all sides" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/26).

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: In Toronto, Doug Smith writes the "elephant in the room" this season "will be the looming expiration" of the CBA. NBA Commissioner David Stern is "already talking about contraction and 33 per cent rollbacks in salaries, and the union is up in arms that negotiation topics are being leaked to the public." But it "could get uglier and more vitriolic as the season progresses and the July 1 date gets closer, taking at least some of the shine off what could be a great season" (TORONTO STAR, 10/26). In Orlando, Zach McCann reported Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson "sees contraction as a potential positive." Johnson: "How much would it hurt the league if we lost teams? It wouldn't hurt it. It might make it better. ... I think if you take away a couple teams, the talent level goes up and the league will only benefit, so I don't see a problem with that" (, 10/25).

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