SBD/March 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Stern Discusses Future Of NBA-NBPA Relationship; Focus On Social Welfare Issues

NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday said while the NBPA had been dealing with the circumstances around former Exec Dir Billy Hunter in recent weeks, it has not been "as proactive as they could be on a variety of what we used to call 'b-list' issues," according to Henry Abbott of TRUE HOOP. Appearing on SiriusXM’s “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K,” Stern said that involved a "wide variety of things," including player development and "even discussions further with the NCAA about when players should be eligible." Stern: "We’re looking for a partner that can really make life better for our players, would-be players, sort of the social welfare task of a union, together with growing the game so that everyone prospers. And then at some future date we’ll argue about how to split up the sum of all of the growth we’ve worked on together” (ESPN.com, 3/13). YAHOO SPORTS’ Eric Freeman wrote Stern “makes a good observation.” In recent years, the NBPA has been “so disorganized and had to deal with enough internal strife that any discussions with owners have either been ineffective or focused on large-scale topics like revenue sharing.” A strong union will make “discussions over issues like the age limit and drug testing easier, if only because it's easier to hold substantive negotiations with a party that knows what it wants and how to express those desires.” On the other hand, Stern “seems to imply that a stronger union will be more inclined to agree with the league office's definition of how to ‘make life better for our players’” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/13).
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