SBD/December 16, 2010/Leagues and Governing Bodies

David Stern Eyes New Economic Model For NBA Similar To The NFL

Stern Refused To Predict Whether A Lockout Would Affect '11-12 Season

NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday indicated that the league should "transition to an economic model closer to the NFL and its hard salary cap as the players and owners continue to work" on a new CBA, according to Dan Wolken of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Stern discussed the NBA's competitive balance, saying, "People would say one of the most competitive leagues is the NFL, and what do you think makes it so competitive? That's a tough decision to make, but our owners are getting there." Stern yesterday "spoke briefly at the Greater Memphis Chamber's annual lunch" and talked to fans for about 30 minutes prior to last night's Bobcats-Grizzlies game inside the Grizzlies' practice facility. He said, "This is going to be looked back on as a golden era. All in all, it's a great time to be an NBA fan." He did acknowledge, however, that CBA negotiations have "been 'a little bumpy,' and while he refused to predict whether a lockout will eat into the 2011-12 season, he made very clear the owners' willingness to take a hard-line stance." Stern also "criticized the current system, where teams can use exceptions to spend above the salary cap and pay a luxury tax." He said, "We have to get a better model where all teams are capable of making a profit and all teams can win a championship. If we don't get that, we should be worried" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/16).

THINK BEFORE YOU ACT: In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell notes Stern had a "message for the players Wednesday, concerning reports they might decertify their union as a lockout strategy: Think about whom you’d hurt more." He called decertification "the nuclear option" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/16). Lakers G and NBPA President Derek Fisher Tuesday night admitted that the "rank and file will look at decertification as an option for the union to deal with the changes ownership is seeking." Fisher would not confirm "whether a vote is underway by the players to dissolve the union as another means to bargain with the owners, who seem intent on locking the players out." He said, "I've kind of resigned to really staying focused on what we're trying to get accomplished in terms of a collective bargaining agreement and still recognizing that decertification is something [that] is real and it's tangible. But right now our focus is not that" (L.A. TIMES, 12/16).

NO TURNING BACK NOW: TRUEHOOP's Larry Coon noted yesterday was the NBA's "deadline for notifying" the NBPA if it wanted to extend the CBA beyond this season, though it was "just a formality." As of today, the league "couldn’t change its mind unilaterally even if it wanted to." Fisher believes that the "negotiating process would go more smoothly without the added burden of a looming deadline." He said, "That would really allow us all to continue to work through this process without the pressure of a deadline, but the owners have declined so far" (ESPN.com, 12/15).

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