SBD/June 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA's Focus Turns To Expiring CBA After Season Comes To An End

Stern said record TV ratings don't add to his desire to reach new CBA
The NBA CBA expires June 30, and a lockout "appears a near certainty," according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. After negotiating sessions last week during the Mavericks-Heat Finals, the league and NBPA are expected to resume meetings "later this week." Both sides indicated last week "how wide the gulf stands on the key issues -- length of contracts, amount of guaranteed money, size of the new salary cap and the overriding dispute -- the split of the revenue between owners and players." An industry source said, "I'd say they won't even start seriously negotiating until November, the first week the players are supposed to start receiving their checks again for next season." Berman writes the "shame of it" is that the labor dispute follows a "sensational good versus evil Finals" (N.Y. POST, 6/14). NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler said, "It’s an odd position, when the game is the best it’s ever been, when the ratings are the highest they’ve ever been, when the excitement is the greatest it’s ever (been)." NBA Commissioner David Stern has indicated that the "record TV ratings and all the other positive attention the league has received doesn’t make him any more motivated to get this settled, since he’d want to do it anyway." Stern: "I don’t need any external prod to want to be able to make a deal" (AP, 6/13). Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said, "This is going to be some kind of Armageddon for the NBA. The owners are determined to get a hard salary cap, to shorten contracts, fewer guaranteed contracts." The standoff will "go back to what it always does, how long will the players go without getting checks? How united will the players stand and are they willing to give up an entire year’s salary and sit it out?” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 6/13).

NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME
: In Oklahoma City, Jenni Carlson writes under the header, "NBA Can't Afford A Work Stoppage Now." Despite a Finals that "put an exclamation point on this roundball ride, we are now left with some different punctuation -- a question mark." Carlson: "What's next for the NBA? ... The NBA has never been in a better place than it is right now. I mean that to include everyone -- the league, the owners and the players." Some teams "will struggle regardless" of a new CBA, so "why don't the league and the union just figure out something before the deadline and move on?" Carlson: "Now is not the time for the league to shut down. The product is fantastic, and folks are taking notice" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 6/14). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger wrote under the header, "After Lights-Out Postseason, NBA Braces For Stormy Summer." Representatives for both the league and union are slated to meet in N.Y. today "to continue the business of trying to destroy all the progress pro basketball has made over the past dozen years." Berger: "This seems like a viable strategy, shutting down a business that captivated the nation with playoffs that were the best show in sports or anywhere on TV for 2½ months. By comparison, the next 2½ months for basketball fans are going to feel like people you don't know are stealing from you, and telling you to like it" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/13).
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