NBA, PLAYERS TRY TO PLAY BEAT THE CLOCK ON LABOR DEAL
Negotiators for the NBA and its players "were working
overtime last night" to resolve the remaining issues regarding
the to-be-signed collective bargaining agreement in hopes of
averting the second lockout in as many years, according to the
WASHINGTON POST. Sources from both sides said talks were likely
to continue today. Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner David Stern told
BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS that he will "ban" free agents signings
if there is no deal by Monday, July 1 -- the day players can
begin negotiations with teams. Mark Asher reports, "Neither side
was predicting a deal will be struck" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/28).
On the issue of payment for the use of the players' logo, USA
TODAY's Roscoe Nance reports the union originally asked for $31M,
but has lowered that demand to $29M -- money which will go to the
players, not the union (USA TODAY, 6/28).
BAD DREAM TEAM: USA Basketball spokesperson Craig Miller
said they have not heard from any Dream Team member that he will
not report in the event of a lockout. One NBA GM, saying said an
Atlanta boycott would be "tragic": "I understand wanting to put
pressure on the NBA, but that just isn't the right thing to do.
You're supposed to be playing for your country in an
international competition. What does that have to do with the
amount of money you make or the benefits you are receiving?"
(WASHINGTON POST, 6/28).
OPINIONS: In Chicago, Lacy Banks calls the owners' threat
of a lockout a "bully tactic that can be costly for all parties
because I don't think the players will surrender like they did
last year." He continues, "With TV money, foreign commitments
and the league's image at stake, I believe the players are better
able to call the owners' bluff." Banks calls the players' demand
for $29M from group licensing "chump change" and indicates he
would support a player boycott of the Olympics should the league
lock out its players (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/28). In New York,
Peter Vecsey is "convinced they'll avert a lockout. Why?
Because David Stern always has said, 'If money is the only
obstacle [which, Vecsey notes, it is] preventing us from reaching
an agreement, we can work it out'" (N.Y. POST, 6/28).