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Tag:David Stern
Posted on: November 26, 2011 3:15 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 4:02 am
 

NBA, Players 'reach tentative agreement'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

After representatives of the NBA and its players met for 15 hours of labor negotiations Friday into Saturday, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com first reported that a "tentative agreement [was] reached, according to one of the negotiators."

The lengthy face-to-face meeting re-opened negotiations after the National Basketball Players Association disbanded to file an antitrust lawsuit against the league last week.

Talks began at noon Friday and ran past 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The NBA and its players held a joint press conference after 3:30 a.m. to announce the tentative deal.

"We have reached a tentative understanding," NBA commissioner David Stern confirmed. "We're optimistic that the NBA season will come to pass on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, with a triple-header."

Training camps would begin on Dec. 9, according to Stern, if everything plays out as expected. Yahoo Sports reported that free agency and training camps would open concurrently once the deal is approved by both sides.

Former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter repeated Stern's message.

"I want to announce... that we are happy that we have been able to reach a tentative litigation settlement," Hunter said. "We're going to turn it all over to the lawyers ... and see how that proceeds ... "Once we present it (to players), we're confident they will support it."

The three games originally scheduled for Christmas Day include: the Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat at the Dallas Mavericks, and the Chicago Bulls at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stern said that the league has scheduled a conference call with the NBA's Labor Relations Committee to present the proposed agreement on Saturday. The NBPA must re-form its union to ratify the agreement as well. This step is considered a formality.

"We want to play basketball," said San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, head of the NBA's Labor Relations Committee. "Let's go play basketball."

Here's video of Stern and Hunter announcing tentative agreement on Saturday morning.



Berger reported that, in addition to former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, former NBPA president Derek Fisher and former NBPA board member Maurice Evans, the players were led into the negotiations by attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy. The league was represented by Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, Holt and NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan. NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who recently said that Stern treated NBA players "like plantation workers," was not present.

The two sides reportedly exchanged "back-channel" communication on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 10, when the NBA made its latest formal proposal to the players, which was rejected, as the players opted to file suit instead. 

Saturday is the 159th day of the ongoing NBA lockout.
Posted on: November 26, 2011 3:00 am
Edited on: November 26, 2011 3:12 am
 

NBA, Players 'reach tentative agreement'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representatives of the NBA and its players met for more than 15 hours on Friday in New York City to reopen face-to-face labor negotiations after the National Basketball Players Association disbanded to file file an antitrust lawsuit against the league last week. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a "tentative agreement reached, according to one of the negotiators." 

Talks began at noon Friday and ran past 3 a.m. Saturday morning. 

The two sides are reportedly aiming to hammer out an agreement that would allow the NBPA to salvage a 66-game regular season that would begin on Christmas Day. It is assumed that the NBA needs a roughly 1-month lead time to get a new season up and running, and Friday was exactly one month prior to Christmas.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that, in addition to former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, former NBPA president Derek Fisher and former NBPA board member Maurice Evans, the players were led into the negotiations by attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy. The league was represented by NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt and NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan. NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who recently said that Stern treated NBA players "like plantation workers," was not present, although Yahoo reported he did participate via conference call.  

The two sides reportedly exchanged "back-channel" communication on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 10, when the NBA made its latest formal proposal to the players, which was rejected, as the players opted to file suit instead. 

Saturday is the 159th day of the ongoing NBA lockout.

This post will update with more information. 
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Lockout Buzz 11.25.11: Black Friday Push

Posted by EOB Staff.

It's the latest "maybe a season will be saved" day in the NBA labor talks, and we fully expect the rug to be pulled out like it has each time before. But to keep up with the developments today, our Buzz post will update with any and all developments. 

10:50 p.m.

  • NBA.com reports that a source involved in Friday's labor negotiations says that there is a "genuine desire" to reach a deal on Friday.
  • ESPN.com reports that an NBA owner is "optimistic" that a new labor deal will be reached this weekend.
8:45 p.m. 

  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes that the two groups meeting on Friday do not include the antitrust attorneys, only the principal parties from earlier small-group negotiations.
  • ESPN.com reports that the NBA's Labor Relations Committee will have a conference call on Friday night after the day's meetings.. 
  • Yahoo Sports reports that discussion of "actual deal points" did not begin until nearly eight hours into Friday's meetings.
11:30 a.m. 


11:00 a.m.

  • Ken Berger reports that Kessler will not be in attendance, but will be "involved." That's still a great sign. Kessler's real problem was his interaction with Stern et al. His involvement in an advisory capacity is a good thing for the players, it gives them a strong voice who isn't concilliatory. But Quinn being on the forefront is a much better approach.
  • Ric Bucher of ESPN reported last night on SportsCenter that David Stern could give the players yet another ultimatum during today's meeting. Bucher reports that Stern could threaten to cancel the entire season if a deal isn't struck to save the Christmas games. 

10:10 a.m.

  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Derek Fisher will join the talks in New York Friday.  Fisher's presence could simply be a legal formality to avoid a "sham" argument from the league if they were just dealing with lawyers, or it could signal a desire to have a player rep in the room if a handshake deal is presented. 
  • And now for the bad news (I know, I know, it's like "Death Becomes Her," "Now a warning?"). Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported Saturday night a list of the player's demands for this negotiating session. The players must feel that the threat of their antitrust lawsuit really has pushed the owners into a new state of reasonable discourse or at least shaken them a bit. Either that or they're high. Because's it's nuts. 
  • How about the big non-starter, an increase in max salaries, from 20 percent to 30 percent, and increased qualifiying offers for restricted free agents? It's like the players are just ignoring that nearly half of this ridiculous situation is due to the summer of 2010 and the power of players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. And raising the QO is a decent enough idea to not trap players into another year with a team, but as it raises salary amounts when the entire structure of the negotiation is geared at keeping costs as low as possible, it's hard to see this being anything the owners will move on. 
  • Now, some of the other elements the players want are doable. Broussard reports that they want increase on the mini-Mid-Level-Exception (MLE) which the owners have reportedly already softened on. The sign-and-trade for tax teams for the life of the deal is such a small deal affecting so few transactions that quite simply, not even these two collections of geniuses can blow up a deal for it. And the so-called "repeater tax" is a new enough concept to allow for some movement on both sides. If the max and QO elements are built to be face-savers, with the deal coming down to the MLE, sign-and-trade, and repeater tax, it's possible there could be enough room for movement. 
  • The last element Broussard reported was a higher MLE for non-tax teams than proposed, and a cap at 10 percent on the escrow payments. That's already a concession from the players, who last wanted an 8 percent cap. 10 percent was the reported target of the owners, so that should be doable. You know, like getting a deal back in July should have been doable. The MLE is likely a non-starter as well. 

Posted on: November 24, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Kessler benched for Quinn?

By Matt Moore 

Jeffrey Kessler has not been a friend in these negotiations. His acerbic, aggressive style has provoked the owners. There's no doubt that the owners set themselves up for that dynamic with their intractable, all-consuming maw of greed in these negotiations, but Kessler's approach has included an inappropriate comment and multiple rejections on principle of deals the union may have wanted to disccuss further or attempt to negotiate through. 

But his role in these talks could be changing. After Ken Berger of CBSSports.com first reported the involvement of Jim Quinn in negotiations as a back-channel facilitator for talks, the New York Times reports that his participation could coincide with a move for Kessler to the background.
In fact, Quinn was recently hired by Hunter to help complete the deal, according to a person who has spoken with Quinn. It appears that Quinn may have supplanted Jeff Kessler, the union’s pugnacious outside counsel, as the players’ lead negotiator.

Kessler has a contentious relationship with Stern and is viewed by some on the owners’ side as an impediment to a deal.
via N.B.A. and Players Resume Negotiations - NYTimes.com.

Beck stated on Twitter that Kessler hasn't been taken out, just that Quinn has a louder voice

One of the biggest issues in this ongoing disaster has been personalities and emotions becoming involved when it should be about business and logic. Kessler has been as much of an antagonist as anyone in these talks, even if he's been scapegoated some by the league. It's time for new people to be in charge of getting a resolution to try and avoid losing the season. The players have done their part, according to reports. Maybe it's time for the league to respond by sitting its hyper-aggressive owners down and keeping them from lunging across the table for every scrap.
Posted on: November 24, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 3:26 pm
 

Owners position shifts on MLE?

By Matt Moore 

There were a number of issues that caused the last meltdown in NBA talks, leading to the players' disclaim of interest and subsequent lawsuits. Among them was the mid-level Exception. Essentially, the league's proposal called for teams in the luxury-tax to be unable to use the full mid-level, instead limiting them to a shortened (both financially and in length of term) version. There was also discrepancy over whether teams who were under the tax prior to using the luxury-tax but in the luxury-tax after would be considered "tax paying teams" and therefore unable to use the full mid-level. But with both sides angling towards another attempt at resolution (first reported by CBSSports.com last week), there's been movement on the MLE, according to ESPN: 
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Stern has privately surveyed a handful of owners about their willingness to ease the restrictions on the proposed mid-level exception in a new labor agreement.

It is believed the league's next proposal to the players will contain tweaks to some of the "system" issues that the players have strongly objected to in recent negotiations. The players have long insisted -- in exchange for accepting a 50/50 split of annual basketball-related income, after earning a 57 percent share of BRI in the final year of the previous labor deal -- that the league's proposed restrictions against luxury-tax teams must be relaxed.
via NBA lockout -- New NBA talks aimed at resolving lawsuits, sources say - ESPN.

The players' position was that they would accept the lowered BRI split if the league would back off its systemic demands, like the MLE limit. A concession at this level might be enough to push the players off the ledge and get a deal for a Christmas-start season, as the league reportedly desires. However, given the breakdown in talks and increased number of lost games, it's hard to see the hard-line owners surrendering that with the same 50/50 BRI split. A scenario in which both sides agree to the MLE concession from the owners, only to discover the owners now want a more favorable BRI split is entirely possible. 

The question will be whether Stern can get a wrangle on the owners long enough to force a deal through and if this kind of concession is enough to get the players to swallow the huge turkey they're already being forced to down whole. 
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Stern surveying owners on mid-level exception?

Posted by Royce Young

A lot of people have had a hard time believing that an NBA season could truly be lost over things so minor as mid-level exceptions and the luxury tax. I think you can add David Stern to that group of people.

According to ESPN.com, Stern has been privately calling owners to "gauge willingness to making full mid-level exception open to all teams." That certainly does sound like earth-shattering stuff, but considering that this is exactly the type of thing these labor talks are stalled on, that could potentially be huge.

The league's most recent (public) offer included a "mini mid-level" for teams over the tax limit starting at $3 million per season with a max term of three years. The agreement was that the full mid-level would be available to all teams over the cap, but under the tax threshold, with a starting salary of $5 million and alternating terms of three and four years.

Seems very minor, but these are the types of things the players have decided to make a stand on. And if the league will start to concede some of these system issues, the path to a deal could finally start to clear again.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 23, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Report: NBA, Players reopen labor talks

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Someone finally picked up the phone.

After multiple days spent wondering which side would make the first move to reopen ongoing labor negotiations, Yahoo Sports reports that the NBA and its players have reportedly commenced communicating again for the first time in more than a week.
NBA and players resumed talks on Tuesday to try and end the lockout before the cancellation of Christmas games, two sources told Y! Sports. Talks were expected to continue today, sources said, and one league source tells Y!: "We should know more by later this evening." Derek Fisher isn't a part of the talks now, sources say. 
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed the talks.

Newsday reported that NBA spokesperson Tim Frank would not confirm or deny that talks were taking place, stating only that the league "remains in favor of a negotiated resolution."

The New York Times reported that a 66-game regular season schedule, with games beginning on Christmas, is still feasible. 

The last talks between the two sides occurred on Nov. 11, when the NBA submitted a proposal to the players that would have allowed for a 72-game season. Since then, talks stalled completely after the players responded to the proposal by disbanding the National Basketball Players Association and filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league. As the NBPA no longer exists, talks between representatives of the NBA and its players are now an antitrust lawsuit settlement discussion rather than collective bargaining negotiations.

As recently as on Monday, players attorney David Boies said that calling the NBA would be a "waste of time" because he felt the league has "no interest in talking," statements the NBA immediately disputed through a spokesperson.

But Berger reported on Tuesday that Jim Quinn, a deal-maker with ties to both NBA commissioner David Stern and the league, had offered to help get the dialogue going. Also on Tuesday, former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said that a judge could appoint a mediator to oversee negotiations as early as next week.

Salvaging the NBA's showcase Christmas Day games would likely require a deal to be agreed in principle by Friday, as the NBA has said it needs a full month of preparation time to launch a season. On Nov. 15, the NBA officially cancelled all games through Dec. 15.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 11:01 am
 

NBPA withholding licensing fees to pay for Boies

By Matt Moore 

Everyone gets paid. Except the arena workers, the cops who need overtime, the parking lot guys, the local shops and restaurants, and the players. But the lawyers? They sure as heckfire get paid. 

ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports that the NBPA is withholding licensing fees from the players to pay for David Boies and his high-profile firm to represent them against the owners. McMenamin tabs Boies' fee at $1,220 per hour, which is now being paid for by profits the players would otherwise collectively see from jersey/trading card/ video game sales.  Other estimates on Boies have him at $960 per hour, which, you know, is so much better. Boies publicly commented in 2007 to the Wall Street Journal  that charging over the $1,000 mark was probably a bit much. 
"Frankly, it's a little hard to think about anyone who doesn't save lives being worth this much money," says David Boies, one of the nation's best-known trial lawyers, at the Armonk, N.Y., office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.
via Lawyers Gear Up Grand New Fees - WSJ.com.

Of course this doesn't reflect market changes, inflation or the fact that his current client is high profile enough to warrant a higher rate. Boies' firm is on record from earlier this year saying they still charge the $960, but that may be dependent upon how the case wraps up:
David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and a prominent trial lawyer, charges $960 an hour, a spokeswoman for the firm said. But just a third of his time is devoted to matters that are billed hourly. More often his deals with clients involve alternatives such as pegging fees to his success, she said.
via Top Lawyers Push Rates Above $1,000 an Hour - WSJ.com.

Either way, while the players are losing paychecks every day while Boies and the league argue over who should call one another first -- no, we're serious, that's what they're arguing about --  and that's after the union decided to disclaim interest and dissolve the union... without holding a full vote of membership. 

At some point the players have to be wondering about what direction all this is going, and if the efforts to try and save them some money are going to wind up costing them more than they're saving.

Everyone gets paid.

Well, except for the people laid off, the concession vendors and the television production crew support.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com