SBD/October 12, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 104: Stoudemire Says Players Consider Launching New League

Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire yesterday said that the players will give “serious” consideration to starting their own league if the ongoing NBA lockout forces cancellation of the remainder of the '11-12 season, according to Ian Begley of ESPN N.Y. Stoudemire said that the "possibility of forming an alternate league has already been discussed among players." He added, "If we don't go to Europe, then let's start our own league; that's how I see it. ... It's just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint and putting it together." Begley noted the players would need to clear "many hurdles" before they could get an alternate league off the ground, and those include "finding a source for player salaries, game venues, broadcast rights and player insurance, just to name a few" (ESPNNY.com, 10/11). Stoudemire "did not offer any details about how such a league might work." The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Kevin Clark notes it is "not clear if such a league could land a TV deal, or if games could be held at major venues" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12). Stoudemire, who debuted his new Nike Air Max shoe at an N.Y. Foot Locker yesterday, "declined to say if there's financial backing in place" (N.Y. POST, 10/12).

MEETINGS: ESPN.com's Chris Broussard cited sources as saying that NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "will meet with NBA players Friday afternoon" in L.A. Hunter "wants to begin meeting face-to-face with groups of players to explain the details of where the league and the union stand." He has been "successful thus far in keeping the league's 400-plus players unified." Broussard noted "not one player" has gone public "with criticisms of Hunter or the union" (ESPN.com, 10/11). But CBSSPORTS.com's Ben Golliver noted with both economic and system issues "separating the players and owners in their negotiations, pressure from his rank-and-file is only going to increase as the players continue down the road toward missed paychecks" (CBSSSPORTS.com, 10/12). Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner David Stern held a "conference call yesterday with his labor relations committee," in advance of next week's full NBA BOG meeting in N.Y. Stern said that at the BOG meeting, the "disastrous CBA negotiations will be discussed, along with the revenue-sharing plan independent of the labor war" (N.Y. POST, 10/12). ESPN's Russ Granik said, "I doubt you’re going to see very much negotiating until we get well into November” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 10/11). Pistons G Ben Gordon said, “There will be more games missed. I expect it might be a year or two” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/12). Cavaliers F Anthony Park: "I’m not optimistic right now. I just don’t see any quick solutions. It’s about differing philosophies” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 10/12). Bobcats G and NBPA player rep Matt Carroll: “They’re not going to let us go back to work until they get everything they want.” Bobcats F Tyrus Thomas said that he is “saddened, but not surprised, but the cancellation of games.” Thomas added, “We’re staying strong, too. We’re sticking to what our union set out to accomplish in these negotiations” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/12). ESPN’s Broussard said the “players are united, at least publicly” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 10/11).

Anthony does not feel that there will be a
large group of players going overseas
OVERSEAS OPTIONS
: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry reports Thunder G Thabo Sefolosha “has agreed to play in Turkey” for club Fenerbahce Ulker. With Sefolosha still under contract with the Thunder, his deal “includes an out clause with Fenerbahce that allows him to return to the NBA whenever the lockout is lifted” (OKLAHOMAN, 10/12). Meanwhile, Knicks F Carmelo Anthony did not see a number of players going overseas. He said, "Going overseas, it won't even feel right. Someone like [Spurs G] Tony Parker is already from a different country. So it's like going back home, they're used to playing there. We're not" (NEWSDAY, 10/12).

PROPOSALS: CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger offered up a number of questions for the league and union after Monday's collapsed talks. Berger: “Did the two sides prioritize the wrong problem, wasting precious days and weeks on BRI when they should have been tackling the system instead?” He wonders if observers were “duped again Monday night” into believing that it was “really the system and not the money that killed” any chance for a deal. Berger: “Hasn't it really always been both?” Berger added, "Here's what I fear happens next: At some point in the next two weeks, a compromise on system issues appears to be 'within reach.'" But then the "back-schmack over whether the owners are offering the players 47 percent or 50 percent would come back-schmack to haunt us, only with a twist this time: Having lost about $200 million from the two weeks of canceled games, the owners would be trying to recoup that money with their next economic proposal." Berger: "Welcome to the next phase of the NBA labor talks, where the gap only grows wider, the rhetoric louder. ... Are the players blameless? Hardly. Hawkish players pushed hard in recent weeks for Hunter not to accept less than 53 percent of BRI" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/11). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote, “I don’t think the league and the union are massively apart on the key issues, so much as they’re somewhat apart on a variety of issues.” Bonnell: “It all comes back to the NBA’s traditional reliance on a so-called ‘soft’ salary cap. … As it stands, their separate definitions of fair and reasonable are just too hard to bridge” (CHARLOTTE.com, 10/11). ESPN L.A.'s Dave McMenamin proposed "four concessions -- two from the players' side and two from the owners' side -- [that] would go a long way in bridging the gap that divides them." The owners' concessions would include accepting a "52-48 basketball related income split in the players' favor" and "letting go of the hard cap idea and surrendering their 'supertax' alternative." In return, the players would accept "shorter guaranteed contracts" and a "10-year length to the new CBA" (ESPNLA.com, 10/11).
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