SBD/February 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Stern Hopeful NBA, NBPA Can Get Past Rhetoric And Reach Deal By June Deadline

Stern says key to reaching a new CBA is players realizing it has been a "great run"
The NBA CBA is set to expire on June 30, and NBA Commissioner David Stern said he hopes the nearly five months until a possible lockout would go into effect gives "people of goodwill a lot of time to get their dancing and prancing and posturing out of the way and hopefully sit down and do their best to make a deal." He said of the threat the NBPA will dissolve and file an anti-trust suit, "That's something that they're entitled to do. I understand that threat and that weapon. It doesn't eliminate two facts. One, that we ultimately are going to have to make a deal, no matter what they do, so they would be better off spending more time making a deal. And two, I think they may, as they approach that time, realize that when this deal expires we have $4 billion in guaranteed contracts that will not be guaranteed if the collective bargaining agreement under which they exist is one where the union has disappeared and with it the collective bargaining agreement." Stern said the "key" to reaching a deal is the players "realizing that it's been a great run." Meanwhile, Stern asserts the league is losing money despite franchises selling for record sums. He said, "We do have a limited number of franchises and people want to get in, but ... most of those purchases are based on the assumption that the model will be changing and that's what is going on in the marketplace. The reality is that there has been some historical run-up in franchise value, but these are different times with new normals and what we need is something that not only works economically but allows all of our teams to be competitive and all of our fans to have the opportunity to root for a contender. That's very much a part of this negotiation as well" (Bloomberg TV, 2/8).

THE KING IS HERE
: Heat F LeBron James yesterday reiterated that he will "be part" of the CBA talks later this month during All-Star Weekend in L.A. James: "I'm not just going out there for the game. I'm definitely going out there for business. I will be a part of the labor talks. Even though it's a huge game going on Sunday, there's a lot of business that needs to be taken care of, too." Heat F James Jones is the team's player rep, but James "said he will not think twice about speaking up if needed." James "has attended meetings in the past, and says he stays as current as he can on the behind-the-scenes goings-on toward a new contract" (AP, 2/8).

FRANCHISE TAG? CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger noted TNT NBA analyst Reggie Miller said that a "franchise tag to curb player movement will be 'tough' to implement in collective bargaining." But "if that's what it takes to keep stars in small markets ... he's all for it." Miller: "It's good to have superstars in smaller markets because it helps the brand." NBA TV's Kevin McHale called the franchise tag an "interesting concept." Berger noted "depending on how it's implemented, a franchise tag would either give teams cap relief to help them retain a star player, further restrict star players' movement, or both." McHale: "I agree having the talent distributed throughout the whole NBA is much better for the game as a whole" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/8).
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