Stern Trumpets NBA Season Before Mentioning Possibility Of A Lockout
NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday "rattled off all the reasons to believe his $4-billion business has performed well in the past season," before adding the "necessary disclaimer to explain why the NBA might be headed for a lockout" when its CBA expires at the end of June, according to Greg Logan of NEWSDAY. Stern reiterated that the league is "projecting a profit-loss record of 8-22 by the league's 30 franchises." He said, "Despite how good things are, we still are likely to finish having lost collectively in the neighborhood of $300 million, which is better than the $370 million we lost two years ago and the $340 million we lost last year. We're happy with that, but we remain intent on having a system that allows us to have a sustainable business model." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said reports of the NBA aiming to cut player salaries by one-third are "generally accurate in a macro sense." Logan notes you "almost could hear the drums of labor war beating when Silver compared the situation to the NHL's loss of the entire 2004-05 season to achieve a 25 percent salary rollback." But Stern "wasn't quite prepared to threaten a season-long shutdown." He said, "We would never be at that point. We don't expect to get there, but a lockout is not a punishment. It's an economic weapon (to) make a deal" (NEWSDAY, 4/22). Stern added, "We'd like to be rolling right along, but we're looking for a CBA that gives the owners a return on their investment." However, he did say there is an "opportunity to do that and make a deal with the players." Stern: "We've committed to each other to give it our best shot, and we will. We have over 2 months. I don't think it distracts from the playoffs, but it's there" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/22).
THROWING THE FLAG? In N.Y., Stefan Bondy notes with NBA referees "again under heavy criticism for their officiating during the playoffs," Stern on Thursday hinted that the league "may adopt new rules for disputed calls, including NFL-style challenges." Stern: "Eventually, you may have someone sitting at a desk rather than having a discussion of three referees every time there's a disputed play. We might have one person whose job it is to keep the headphones on and always watch. And you might let a coach throw the flag in the last two minutes. We're striving for accuracy. We have to find a way to speed the game up, and to get it right. That's the most important" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/22). ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst noted Stern "doesn't think replay expansion will be in place by next season." But the commissioner "thinks the technology, and perhaps even the challenge flags, are coming." Stern: "Do we stop the game every time? I don't think so, but there are going to be improvements made over the course of time that are going to eliminate a lot of the controversy" (ESPN.com, 4/21).