SBD/September 28, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 90: NBA Owners Soften On Hard Salary Cap Proposal

NBA owners yesterday made a “modest push from their rigid stance on implementing a hard salary cap,” according to sources cited by Adrian Wojnarowski of YAHOO SPORTS. The owners proposed at the CBA negotiating session “an idea similar to the current system that allows teams to pay a luxury tax for going over the cap.” The new proposal now means there would be "ultra-punitive measures against higher-spending teams.” The current system has teams “pay a dollar-for-dollar tax for exceeding the cap.” A source said the owners' proposal yesterday "would still have the affects of a hard cap.” Sources said that the owners “didn’t budge on a desire to change the basketball-related income percentage (BRI) to a split that takes the players from 57 percent to the mid 40s.” The players at a meeting last week in “had offered to drop from a 57-43 split to 54-46.” However, while the owners' proposal “was a slight upgrade, it is unlikely to move union leadership.” The NBA and NBPA “met for a little less than two hours" yesterday and are meeting again today (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/27). CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger cited a source who said today’s bargaining session is "an important day." Sources said that the owners “will come forward Wednesday with an enhanced version of the concepts proposed Tuesday.” Sources said that “among the additions could be a proposed 50-50 revenue split, which to this point the league has not reached in terms of the players' average share over the life of a new CBA in its previous proposals.” One source said the system changes the owners proposed yesterday were "alarming." Berger noted even if the owners “improved their economic proposal to 50-50” for today’s meeting, it “seems unlikely that union officials would accept that without significant pushback on the system adjustments that are tied to it.” And it is “even less likely” that NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter and Lakers F and NBPA President Derek Fisher, under “pressure from powerful agents pushing to dissolve the union through decertification or a disclaimer of interest, would be able to garner support for such a deal in the face of such opposition” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/27).

MUM'S THE WORD: In N.Y., Howard Beck notes yesterday’s meeting was “briefer than usual, although both sides cautioned not to read it as a negative sign.” NBA Commissioner David Stern and Fisher were “purposefully vague about the substance of their meeting, saying only that they discussed ‘concepts’ for a new labor deal, and not specific proposals.” But Fisher “hinted that those concepts could become more substantive.” Fisher: “These are things that if we can get into the range of, get into the zone of, then maybe we can put a deal together” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/28). USA TODAY’s J. Michael Falgoust writes there is “not much time left for talks this week because Jewish members on both sides will begin observing Rosh Hashanah at sundown.” NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said that owners are “prepared to return Friday if warranted” (USA TODAY, 9/28). The NBA last week canceled the start of training camps and 43 exhibition games through Oct. 15. When asked yesterday whether more cancellations would follow if no deal is made by the end of this week, Stern said, "Both teams played hard and the calendar is not our friend" (L.A. TIMES, 9/28).

INTERNATIONAL INTERESTS: YAHOO SPORTS’ Wojnarowski wrote of international teams’ interest in Lakers G Kobe Bryant, “From Turkey to Italy, the suitors for the globe's most popular player have gone to incredible lengths to make sure they never cut a deal with Bryant.” The bidding on Bryant “has been beneficial” for the NBPA as it “reminds owners of the NBA's star power, its global reach.” Wojnarowski: “It does so much more than superstars reducing themselves to a series of public shirts-and-skins pick-up games in college gyms” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/27). Meanwhile, Bulls G Derrick Rose yesterday said he is "taking into consideration that I might be going overseas" should the season be canceled. Two sources confirmed that Rose “has at least one offer in hand from an overseas team and discussions with several others” (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 9/27). Rose: “It’s looking pretty bad right now. If this lockout continues, then, for sure, I’ll take into consideration going overseas and playing there” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/28).

OUR SIDE OF THE STORY: The NBA has issued a statement regarding an article Malcolm Gladwell wrote for Grantland.com titled, "The Nets And NBA Economics." The NBA said, "Mr. Gladwell asserts that NBA owners shouldn't care if they lose hundreds of millions of dollars -- as Bruce Ratner did during his ownership of the Nets -- because they have other businesses that may or may not be profitable. We strongly disagree with that premise" (THE DAILY).
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