DALLAS REPORT SAYS NBA IS CONSIDERING POST-PLAYOFF LOCKOUT
"The NBA owners will impose a lockout once the Finals are
over if they are unable to reach a new collective bargaining
agreement with their players," according to officials involved in
the negotiations cited in this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
David Moore reports that sources around the league confirm that a
"formal directive" has been issued to each club stating that a
lockout will go into effect the day after the Finals. That
directive also states that, while the league will conduct the
draft on June 28, "all other business -- summer training camps,
contract extensions and free-agent signings -- will halt." NBA
Commissioner David Stern, at The Summit for Game 3, "did not deny
that the league is headed for its first work stoppage." Stern:
"Our teams have been fully briefed on the options available to
the Labor Relations Committee if no agreement is reached by the
end of the Finals. We still hope that such an agreement is
obtainable and won't be commenting on the other options at this
time." Neither NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine nor NBPA President
Buck Williams were available for comment. Publicly, league
officials remain optimistic, but privately they are "worried."
Moore reports that NBA officials say the players would not agree
to the owners' hard cap proposal and that the players want a
larger revenue cut than the owners. One official said the
players' latest proposal would increase the salary cap from
$15.9M level to around $22M for '95-96 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE: CNN's "Inside the NBA" featured the
NBA's growing popularity. Magic GM Pat Williams: "It's up with
the baseballs and footballs, and knocking on the doors with the
big boys." CNN's Bob Lorenz noted the NBA's 3% increase in
attendance, while MLB's numbers have dropped 26.2 percent. L.A.
TIMES' Mark Heisler: "The bottom line is that baseball is very
tough for a TV set to encompass ... Basketball is perfect."
Magic Forward Horace Grant: "Baseball, what's baseball?" Kelly
Carter of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: "You look at the MTV
generation, they don't have the attention span to watch baseball,
everybody wants everything fast paced now." Bill Walton: "The
players, because of the salary cap, feel a responsibility for the
overall bottom line of the product" (CNN, 6/11).
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: In it pre-Finals special last night,
NBC profiled the progress of the Raptors and Grizzlies. Toronto
VP/Basketball Ops Isiah Thomas: "This isn't a job for me, this
isn't a career for me, this is a commitment for us to build a
winning organization. ... It's the most challenging thing I've
done in my life." Grizzlies VP & GM Stu Jackson: "My vision is
that one day, basketball will be woven into the country of
Canada" (NBC, 6/11). Greg Boeck, of USA TODAY, noting that
Canada is country "Number Two": "I think David Stern really
wants to go into Mexico City. If not by the 2000, shortly
thereafter" (CNN, 6/11).