While top NBPA execs met with NBA officials in New York
again yesterday on a new CBA, "chaos reigned elsewhere,"
according to Ailene Voisin in today's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. A
group of NBA superstars, including Michael Jordan and Patrick
Ewing, "led a rebellion designed to de-certify the union and/or
oust the current leadership. Several of the game's best-known
agents, their motives unclear, continued to rail against [NBPA
Exec Dir] Simon Gourdine and president Buck Williams for refusing
to divulge information to their constituents. Stunned NBA
officials canceled a Board of Governors meeting. Dissenting
union members were surprised, or worse" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
6/20). Jordan, who participated in conference call of the
agent's Advisory Committee, was said to be "very upset" that
Bulls Player Rep Steve Kerr knew nothing about the deal (L.A.
REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT: One agent said Monday that 32
players (about 10% of NBPA members) had signed statements
renouncing the union as their negotiating agent. If 51%
sign, the union will be decertified and the players can sue,
as their NFL counterparts did. The agent said the players
are prepared to take the case before the same judge, U.S.
District Court Judge David Doty of Minneapolis (Mark
Heisler, L.A. TIMES, 6/20). In New York, Murray Chass notes
that it is possible the notices "will never be delivered to
the union, but will be used to induce Gourdine to be more
forthcoming" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/20). Agent Steve Kauffman: "In
football, the big difference was the union realized itself
the best legal strategy was to decertify. In that instance,
the players and the union were in agreement. But this
revolt is like the Boston Tea Party. It truly is taxation
without representation. The idea of a luxury tax is what
sent these players wild" (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
6/20). Magic Player Rep Donald Royal: "Before, [the union]
sent me faxes or FedExed me about whatever was going on --
but lately, I've had to find out everything from the media"
(Susan Slusser, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/20). Other players
reported to have signed the notices: Reggie Miller, Horace
Grant, Moses Malone, Scottie Pippen, Alonzo Mourning, Dino
Radja, Sherman Douglas and at least three players reps -- Ed
Pinckney of the Bucks, Scott Williams of the 76ers and Pooh
Richardson of the Clippers (Mult., 6/20).
SIMON SAYS: Gourdine's response: "I think everyone
has been fully informed, except perhaps the agents. To that
extent, I've taken the view that the agents advisory
committee is what it says -- an advisory committee. With
the time constraints I have, I get direction from the
executive committee, player reps and ultimately all the
players" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/20). More from Gourdine: "I
understand we have a little insurrection on our hands. ...
My message to the players is: be patient. They know that
we're working in their best interests to get the best deal
for them and enhance for them their earning potential"
(WASHINGTON POST, 6/20). In Boston, Jackie MacMullan writes
that the reaction has put a new CBA "in jeopardy, and could
signal the end of the short reign of Simon Gourdine." A
number of Advisory Committee members "said there will be a
call for Gourdine's resignation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/20).
DEAD DEAL? In L.A., Mark Heisler writes that it isn't
known whether the postponements on consideration of the new
CBA "are merely procedural or whether the deal is blowing
up" (L.A. TIMES, 6/20). In New York, Shaun Powell writes,
"The NBA's labor situation regressed from promising to grim"
(N.Y. NEWSDAY, 6/20). One "glitch," according Advisory
Committee members, may be the NBPA's "lack of authority to
sign over the licensing rights of its individual players to
the NBA." In Dallas, David Moore cites Marc Fleisher and
another agent on the specifics: Six-year term, expiring
after 2000-2001; Salary cap up from $15.9M to $23M; All
rookies would sign three-year deals at the average salary
for those chosen at their draft spot from the previous six
years; the "Larry Bird Exception" would remain in place, but
the league would assess a tax on any team that uses the
exception to exceed the cap. There would be no tax in the
'95-96 season, a 50% tax in '96-97, and a 100% tax for the
remainder of the contract (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/20).