COLLECTIVE BARGAINING DISAGREEMENT: CAMP, SIGNINGS DELAYED
The NBA has "postponed" the opening of training camps
and the free agent signing period because the new CBA "has
yet to be finished and signed," according to Lacy Banks of
the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The "biggest disagreement" concerns
the new salary-cap exception, allowing teams over the cap to
sign an additional free agent. The union wants the
exception to be used for six-year contracts and the league
wants it "limited" to three-year deals. NBA Senior
VP/Communications Brian McIntyre: "Camps definitely won't
open (today)." A league source said that there are "so many
unresolved issues, camps might not open until Friday"
(CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/19). In N.Y., Mike Wise writes that
another "minor issue" to be resolved involves salary cap
circumvention, "to insure teams and agents do not conspire
to go around the agreement's terms in their negotiations."
League and union execs are "concerned that the lockout would
not be lifted until late this week" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).
Wise wrote on Sunday that other issues include the "haggling
over" the definition of BRI, sharing of TV revenue, and
"several conduct issues" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18). NBPA Outside
Counsel Jeffrey Kessler: "We've drafted and reviewed over
400 pages, including the anti-drug agreement and other
agreements. Just because of the time involved, getting
through all the language, it is virtually impossible it
could get signed today" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19).
LICENSE TO MARKET: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports
that NBA CMO Rick Welts said that the NBA and union
"extended" the agreement granting the league licensing
rights to the names and faces of its players for "two years
beyond the new six-year collective bargaining agreement."
Since the league can extend the CBA to a seventh year, the
new group licensing deal is good "for either eight or nine
more years." The NBA's "guarantee" of $25M annually to
players as payment for their licensing rights continues, but
a union source said that the number will drop to $20M this
season, due to the lockout (BRANDWEEK, 1/18 issue).
SEASON OF FORGIVENESS: The NBA reinstated seven refs
who had been suspended by the league after being "charged
and found guilty" of committing tax fraud. In Chicago, Lacy
Banks called the move, which will "help upgrade the quality
of play," "welcome and timely" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/17).
NBA Commissioner David Stern, from a statement: "This is a
time for healing. Each of the referees has accepted his
punishment and expressed genuine remorse for his actions"
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/16). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence
wrote that Stern "can talk about forgiveness, but the league
had no choice but to reinstate" the referees because it "was
going to have a problem filling its 58-man roster." A
league source said that the NBA will reinstate other refs
who are "still in the IRS's pipeline," but they will first
have to "sit out six months" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/17).
NOTES: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand profiles Weil,
Gothshal & Manges' attorney Jim Quinn, who played a key role
in the final CBA deal (USA TODAY, 1/19)....76ers President
Pat Croce, after 76ers G Allen Iverson was served court
papers for failing to make lease payments on three Mercedes:
"Maybe now that Michael Jordan's retired, [David Falk] will
pay more attention to Allen" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/18).