SBD/Issue 37/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Adam Silver Confirms NBA Owners Seek To Impose Player Pay Cuts

Silver Says CBA Proposal Included Reduction
In Player Contracts, Cuts Going Forward

NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver Friday confirmed that team owners are seeking to "roll back existing contracts, imposing a pay cut on all 450 players" as part of a new CBA, according to Ken Berger of CBSSPORTS.com. Silver offered "on-the-record confirmation that the NBA is looking to do to its players what the NHL did in 2005." Silver: "It's part of our proposal. It included a reduction of existing contracts in addition to a reduction of the maximums going forward." In addition, two sources said that the "across-the-board pay cuts sought by the owners were floated with a key caveat in their January proposal: If the players agreed to the rollbacks and ratified a new CBA in time for this season, the owners would have agreed to soften the blow." In other words, "if the new economic model sought by owners had been put in place a full year in advance, the pay cuts would've been less severe, and would have included the possibility of some grandfathering of existing deals." The "key condition was that the proposal needed to be adopted before the start of the monumental free-agent class that began on July 1, 2010." One of the sources said that it was "presented to the players as 'a carrot' to induce them to negate the possibility of a lockout." But Silver said, "The union's response to all of our proposal has been, 'No.' And as you know, they countered with a proposal that looks a lot like the existing deal."

TOUCHY SUBJECT: Berger noted the "issue of across-the-board pay cuts is touchy and especially complicated in this case because owners in various places on the league's revenue spectrum aren't in complete agreement as to how to accomplish it." Under one model being proposed, it is "conceivable that some teams' payrolls will still exceed the hard cap even after the rollbacks." NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "has been quiet of late on the labor talks, and the union so far has elected not to go as public with details of its proposal as league officials have." But that is "expected to change in the coming weeks, as the NBA's draconian ideas and cries of poverty become more and more incompatible with reality." Berger wrote, "After an otherwise remarkable first week of the NBA season, with TV ratings and interest soaring from coast to coast and from big markets to small, we are reminded once again how temporary all of it could be" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/1).

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