Blog Entry

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

Posted on: August 31, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 7:40 am
Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Finally, officials from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association sat across the table from each other in a negotiating session on Wednesday. The big question: Did they make any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement? That is still unclear in the meeting's immediate aftermath.

As Ken Berger of reported last week, the Wednesday meeting consisted only of a select few individuals from each side, including NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and players association president Derek Fisher, rather than full negotiating teams from both sides.

The New York Times reported that Wednesday's meeting at a Manhattan hotel lasted for six hours, but that the sides didn't have much to offer to reporters afterwards, refusing to say even whether the talks were positive or negative.

The USA Today also reported that Fisher was about as mum as it gets. "There won't be much to share," Fisher said. "We still have a lot of work to do, and that's what we're going on at this point."

The paper noted that Fisher "did acknowledge there has not been a drastic ideological change on either side."

Sports Illustrated reported that Stern and Silver were similarly vague, noting that the league officials "didn't offer many specifics [but] did say [meeting in] small groups [was] more productive."

The Times reported that Stern did say that "there is definitely time to make a deal."

USA Today quoted Silver painting the meeting as an important step. "It's good we're meeting," Silver said. "We're not going to get a deal done unless we spend time together. I'd say that's progress onto itself"

Further talks are expected but no specifics as to when, where and with whom attending were made available.

Despite the lack of details and tight-lipped nature of these comments, there was one clear bright spot. The Times noted that Fisher stated that the league and the Players Association "agreed to dispense with the rhetoric and public shots at each other." Civility is certainly a first step towards compromise.

Since: May 28, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:26 pm

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

I hate to say it, but I think that the owners actually do have the leverage in the negotiations. Like other posters have said, the players need the money more than the owners. The owners have their businesses to fall back on if need be, since we all know you have to be very wealthy to buy an NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB team. So obviously all of the owners in those sports have money and are probably pretty tight with their wallets. The problem is, the players do not fit into this category. Most of these players have never dreamed of having this kind of money. Well they probably dreamed of it, but never actually enjoyed it until they joined the NBA. What this means, is that since they are not used to living a luxurious lifestyle, most players probably do not know how to manage their money. It also means that far too many players are living paycheck to paycheck, which means they need the games to go on more than the owners do. I know there are exceptions, and I almost guarantee that some players have huge bank accounts loaded with money, but I guarantee that is a small percentage. And as for overseas, there are enough role players in the games in Spain, England, or whatever countries the players decide to sign with. All of those teams can really just use the star players, not the role players which they have plenty of. What I guess I am saying is that based upon all of this, I would say that the owners definitely have the edge when it comes to bargaining. The owners will give in some of their concessions, but it will be the players who will lost most in these bargaining sessions.

Since: Nov 22, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:28 pm

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

no one cares

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:51 pm

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

As long as the owners sign the paychecks they have the leverage.  Even doubly so since they are the ones who ignitiated the lockout.  The players can play overseas all they want but nobody is going to care or watch. 

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:36 pm

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

be a real shame to the entire sports world if we did not have the pleasure of seeing LeDung, Lil dWayne, and Mrs Bosh and thier travellig revival of the new 3 stooges in a city or town near you this winter.  WHO CARES.  If the fools think playing in Europe or turkey or greece or china or anywhere else is anygood then why aren't they doing it now?  Cause all the money is here--isnt that what DeMorry and his NFL players (minions) just learned.

Since: Oct 31, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:34 pm

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

How exactly do the players have the leverage? They already own 57% of the profit split, and Forbes found that 17 teams actually lost money in 2009-2010  . Not some snot nose accounting firm claiming to lose money but FORBES found that 17 teams lost money. A league can not function with over half of its teams losing money. They are talking about retraction and I have heard players are in favor of dropping 2 teams, but how do you think those up to 30 players who would lose their jobs and incoming rookies who might have had a chance to play on those teams will feel about this? How much is that going to help, there are still 15 other teams that lost money last year. The solution for the time being is to get rid of STERN how is the highest paid player in the league, no lie estimated at over 30 mil a year. The next step to the solution is a hard cap. A hard cap forces players who want to win to take less money so that they can build a viable team around the Stars and limits those teams who actually show profits from annually being over the cap to win. Another solution would be to get rid of all 17 teams that showed losses. Then you have a highly profitable league where both players and owner's can be as greedy as they want to be, but how appealing is a league with only 13 teams going to look to fans? I wouldn't watch it, so in hindsight removing all of the teams losing money would most likely make that 4 billion a year shrink which would make salaries shrink or more teams start losing money because the league revenue isn't 4 billion anymore.

What NBA players can play overseas for millions? Deron got like 5 million for this year and he is a top 5 point guard who I believe is scheduled to make around 16 million in the NBA if there was to be a 2010 -2011 season. That is a huge pay-cut, so to think that any NBA player can go make millions overseas is a huge misconception. I would wager that only about 10 percent of NBA players could make a million plus overseas thats roughly 45 out of 450 where in the NBA that number is probably around 80 % or roughly 360 players (probably more).

Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:59 am

NBA, Players tight-lipped after 6 hour meeting

If the NFL lockout taught us anything, its that the posturing will continue until the real threat of losing regular season games hits home with both sides. A huge question mark here is David Stern. His status as a solid commissioner is very debateable, and any legacy he may have depends heavily on how this turns out. Personally I think his uneccessary but quite obvious meddling, esp in the draft, has been a significant factor in the current state of the NBA "talent" pool. The league has become very young, and the maturity level overall has suffered greatly. He lucked out when it came to LeBron's "the Decision" fiasco, as LBJ and the Heat managed to win the East and make it to the NBA Finals, generating huge ratings in the process. If he truly didn't approve of the way "the Decision" was to be orchestrated, as a responsible commissioner he would have stepped in early and suggested a little more tactful solution. Therein lays the way Stern operates. I don't think the players have any respect for him...his passive approach elicits absolutley no fear. His suspensions and fines are laughable. What positive changes has he instituted in the NBA in recent yrs? None worth mentioning, if any at all. Ok enough Stern bashing. Its clear a new CBA is a long ways off. Admittedly I don't know the details of what each side is asking for going forward. I'm not even sure much has been made public. Truth is, losing a season would kill almost all the positive vibes the league enjoyed during the last postseason. Much like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, and Duke basketball, the Miami Heat became the team you either loved or loathed...either way you were tuning in. They were ESPN's lead story almost every night and discussion of them dominated much of the airtime. And the fans were watching in record numbers. Ratings were higher than they've been in decades. I think many fans will carry that loved or loathed sentiment re the Heat through the next season (hopefully 2011-12). Its gotta be played.

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:25 am

NBA, Players tight-lipped after 6 hour meeting

Yeah right. Like the entire roster of all thirty teams can get millions playing overseas. Don't be ignorant. How much money can Derek Fisher make or Carlos Arroyo, or Kendrick Perkins, or Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier, or Grant Hill or Trevor Ariza and so on and so on...?

A foreign professional basketball club is only interested in star power. It sells tickets when you have high-caliber players like a Kobe or Lebron or a Wade, etc. They don't have a $70 million cap. The arenas are small. The paying public are very much fewer. There may be 3 or 4 clubs than can offer the kind of money that can import players like Daren Williams. Most can't.

Role players make up the majority of squads in the NBA. What you're saying is absurd. Kobe makes almost $24 million a year. The minimum is $473,604. So, you see that there is a huge discrepancy between the best players and the role players in their appeal from foreign franchises as well as marketing considerations involved.

Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:20 am

NBA, Players tight-lipped after 6 hour meeting

The Players do not need the owners......They can play over seas for millions of dollars if the NBA is to die....and thats the owners fault.....

I was just in negotiation with the place i work, and they wanted to play hardball and found out the hard way what happens when a certain side has leverage....

We had the leverage and they caved to our demands.....

The players are the one with the leverage.....not the owners....

You figure out who will come out on top....

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:06 am

NBA, Players tight-lipped after 6 hour meeting

It's been said before but I believe it is worth mentioning yet again that neither the players nor the owners can really afford to lose another season. Could both sides be stubborn enough to allow a repeat of the 1999 fiasco? Certainly. But hopefully both sides will realize that they need each other. I don't have too many thoughts on the issues since to me both sides are at fault. But assuming the owners' financial umbers are accurate (yes, that is an enormous leap of faith), then maybe I can understand their desperation to try to change the underlying financial structure of the owners - players relationship. If they really are losing money, then they have no choice.

From the players' persepctive, of course they want to get as big a piece of the pie as they possibly can. Understandable, especially since it is their brilliance that brings in the playing customers. Nobody's going to pay money to watch rejects from the D-League. It's the stars that put butts in the seats. BUt that being said, the players need to recognize that the owners do in fact own the teams and ultimately pay them. If they kill the goose that lays the golden ggs, EVERYONE's going to be out of a job and most of these guys have few marketable skills. So ultimately, it definitely behooves them to  make a deal and save the afore-mentioned golden goose. And if they stick their feet in too hard, they do risk killing the whole thing.

Both sides want to make as much money as they can possibly squeze from the fans. Neither side is innocent in the creration of the distrust and both owners and players have engaged in some cheap shots at each other that they would have been wiser to forego. But at the end of the day, the players need the owners and the owners need the players. They're all in this thing together and it's in everyone's best interests to make a deal. The posturing ove rthe summer is regrettable but not unepxpected in this age where everyone tries to fight their battles in public. And the media is as complicit as anyone, always trying to get the flammable quotes that bring readers and sell advertising. 

As I said, when all is said and done, both players and owners know that they have to make a deal. And both sides are dependent on the other, so self-interest alone ought to provide enough incentive to do precisely that. Stern and Fisher are not beginners and both reportedly have respect for one another. Hopefully now that the hotheads are excluded, that repsect can be put to use ad the two sides can get down to the business of ensuring that each receives enough of what they want that a devastating shutdown can be avoided. And they ought to be wary - baseball has never recovered from the shutdown in 1994-1995 and the NBA is still feeling the effects of the 1999 trike as well. If there is another one, a lot of fans are going to be permanently turned off, especially since a lot of folks see this as simply too greedy sets of multi-millionaires having a petty squabble. The NBA is riding high right now and both sides ought to understand the dangers of allowing this to spin out of control as happened in 1999. There isn't another Magic Johnson - Larry Bird rivalry to reinvigorate the NBA this time around. No Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson waiting in the wings either. If the NBA shuts itself down this time around, there are going to be a lof of folks who say the heck with it. I've already heard that attitude from a lot of folks - they say they'll watch NCAA ball, not NBA ball. That sort of attitude could really hurt the NBA just when it seems to be poised for another growth spurt. 

Hopefully cooler heads can prevail and the two sides can work things out. But they'd better hurry - time is beginning to run out. And as Mr. Golliver correctly notes,<span style="color: #333333;"> treating each other with civility is a vital first step toward ultimate compomise - which is what the real goal should be for both sides.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or