SBD/November 28, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Breaking Down Who Wins And Who Loses In NBA's New CBA

A more constricting luxury tax will force Cuban to tightly manage his payroll
With the NBA and its players reaching a tentative CBA, analysts and observers weighed in on the winners and losers of the deal.

AWAY WE GO: In L.A., Ben Bolch wrote the owners won because they now "will receive a bigger piece of the financial pie after the players got 57%" of income under the previous deal. But players also "received a handful of concessions while missing only a few paychecks." Bolch named Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban the "biggest loser in all this." A more "constricting luxury tax" will force Cuban to manage his payroll to "keep the Mavericks in the running for a second consecutive title" (L.A. TIMES, 11/26). TRUE HOOP's Henry Abbott listed NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter and NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver as winners. "Big agents" are among his losers (ESPN.com, 11/26). NBA.com's Steve Aschburner wrote in "big picture terms, there are no real losers." The players "began the lockout and end it as the highest compensated athletes in North American team sports." Among the winners, he listed Hunter and NBPA President and Lakers G Derek Fisher. Among the losers, he named NBPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler (NBA.com, 11/27). In Newark, Colin Stephenson wrote Stern is a winner because he "got a deal done, and he got the players to give back a whole bunch of money." While Stern "couldn't save the full season, he did manage to save Christmas ... which was important for the league." Stephenson listed "big-time agents" among the losers (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/27). The Miami Herald's Israel Gutierrez said, "If you look at the actual deal, the players were never going to really come out winners. But at the very end they got some tweaks in there" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN2, 11/27). NBA.com’s Sekou Smith said, "The fans are the big losers in having to wait and having to deal with this grind of the five-month process. I think when you talk about specific winners and losers, the only real winners at the end of the day are the people who are going to get basketball back before 2012” (“NESN Daily,” NESN, 11/27). In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote, "It's nonsensical to declare winners and losers. Everybody lost. Just leave it at that" (AJC.com, 11/26).

WIN GOES TO OWNERS? In DC, Mike Wise wrote in the new deal "nobody got everything they wanted, and clearly the owners won” as they “siphoned enough revenue back from the players.” Stern "got past the anger and rhetoric," and he and the owners "made a few concessions." Wise noted Stern "saves his reputation" by reaching a deal that preserves the season (WASHINGTON POST, 11/26). Tulane Sports Law Program Dir Gabe Feldman said, "The owners probably win a little more than the players. But we knew that going in. We knew the players were just playing defense, just trying to hold on to whatever they could. And they gave up a lot. But they're still getting at least 50 percent of a $4 billion pie. So no real losers" (NOLA.com, 11/26). In Toronto, Doug Smith wrote, "Forced to pick a winner? Go with the owners." He added, "It's funny, no matter how horrible deals look for players' associations, salaries don't ever really go down" (TORONTO STAR, 11/27). In Chicago, David Haugh wrote, "Despite Stern's dire forecast for the NBA, the lockout ended after 149 days for no other reason that the commish and the owners decided that was long enough." If the players had "any rights trampled during negotiations, they did a lousy job of communicating it." They "lacked unity and, until filing an antitrust lawsuit late in the game, an obvious plan" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/27). Also in Chicago, Joe Cowley noted the players "didn't even seem to mind that the owners were the big winners" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/27). In San Antonio, Jeff McDonald noted the new CBA "is considered to be an overwhelming victory for the owners" (MYSANANTONIO.com, 11/26). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote the players "decided to take their drubbing 149 days after they should have" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/27). ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor wrote the players "deserved better than the 49-51 percent of BRI they'll get in this new" CBA. Stern and the owners "ran up the score." They "hung on the rim after their dunks, and they talked more than their share of trash" (ESPNNY.com, 11/26). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote Stern "played this one beautifully, getting his new deal done in time to celebrate Christmas." Stern "never had any intention of flushing his NBA down the toilet for an entire season." But in the end, he "got what he wanted, when he wanted it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/27). In Ft. Worth, Gil Lebreton wrote by having to "shed his Uncle Dave image and represent the owners as a hardliner, Stern somehow managed to make union executive director Billy Hunter come across an an humble conciliator." Stern "will be back, though." The season "wasn't sacrificed" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/27).

NEVER FORGIVE OR FORGET: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins wrote the players will "never, ever forgive Stern." The "once-mellow relationship is fractured for good" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/26). ESPN N.Y.'s Stephen A. Smith wrote despite the "enormous concessions forfeited, Fisher and Hunter should receive some credit for getting a deal done." They both "recognized what the rest of us instinctively knew: Most of the rank-and-file players could ill afford to miss an entire season of paychecks" (ESPNNY.com, 11/26). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote Hunter did "as well as he possibly could playing the bad cards he had, and having as little leverage as he did." Stern, "who had all the cards, will look to make it a triumph for him, no shocker there." But Lupica asked, "who is Stern's constituency now, other than a handful of powerful owners?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/27). SI.com's Ian Thomsen wrote, "This is leadership." The way it "finally worked itself out in the NBA negotiating room is the way it is supposed to work in real life." Leaders on both sides "were confronted with concessions they hated to make, but they made them anyway." These negotiations "could have meant the end for the NBA." Thomsen: "But it is a beginning. In this world, a beginning is something to be celebrated" (SI.com, 11/26).
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