Blog Entry

NBA denies David Stern plans to threaten NBPA

Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 12:01 am
Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

On Wednesday,'s Ken Berger reported that NBA commissioner David Stern said that there were "enormous consequences at play" during the next few days of negotiations between the league and the National Basketball Players Association and wrote that, reading between the lines, the entire 2011-2012 season could be in jeopardy if progress isn't made in labor talks this weekend.
You didn't have to read too closely between the lines to catch the meaning from Stern and Silver, who sought to ratchet up the pressure on getting a deal or risk not simply an on-time start to the season, but indeed the whole thing. With training camps already postponed and a first batch of preseason games canceled, Stern said the two sides are "at a period of enormous opportunity and great risk."
Also Wednesday, reported that Stern is "planning to threaten" the NBPA with the cancelation of the entire season if no real progress is made this weekend. Here's an excerpt from that report.

When NBA labor talks resume Friday, NBA commissioner David Stern is planning to threaten players with the cancelation of the entire 2011-12 season if the sides haven't made major progress toward a deal by the end of the weekend, according to sources close to the talks.

Although sources said the union views such an extreme stance as more of a negotiating tactic than a legitimate threat, Stern went almost that far in his comments to reporters in New York on Wednesday after a second straight day of negotiations.

USA Today reported Wednesday evening that Tim Frank, a spokesperson for the NBA, said that the report that Stern has plans to threaten to cancel the entire season is "simply not true."

Meanwhile, reported on Wednesday that Stern "originally told the union that Jan. 7 was the date by which he would have to cancel the whole season."

We all have functioning brains here. The NBA is not going to rashly cancel its season on Monday, not with billions of dollars on the line and months to salvage a truncated season. Cancelation is a worst-case, do-anything-to-avoid-it decision that wouldn't randomly come in early October. Rather, this plan to threaten, if it exists, is meant to provoke the players into bringing a really good offer and a willingness to negotiate to the table. The players certainly get that. This threat, if it were to be made, would be a ploy, or posturing, or whatever else you want to call it. Everybody involved -- NBA, NBPA, media, fans -- understands that.

Ultimately, a denial of a specific plan to make this type of threat is meaningless. Stern already sent the same message, on the record to a cadre of reporters, with his comments on Wednesday. He clearly believes that it is time to start making progess on a deal. Conventional wisdom on Wednesday, prior to the late-night denial, concluded that Stern's statements were meant to imply something like: "Make a deal now because the league's offer will only get worse once time passes and regular season games have to be canceled."

That still sounds right even after the denial.
Category: NBA

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2011 1:19 am

NBA denies David Stern plans to threaten NBPA

Redwings1969, your comments are spot on. The NBA has to drastically alter the players' mind-set to enable any contract going forward. The players have the ball in their court. Either come off your idea of continuing the gravy train or get nothing.

David Stern has said several times that if games are missed the owners' proposal will only continue to get worse. The real goal for the owners is to provide a reasonable return on investment. That is very hard as it stands with $356M average investment value a 4% return requires the players to drop from 57% to 34%. That is not going to happen this year. To salvage the season the owners may sacrifice another 9-10% leaving the number around 43%. That is simply all the players are going to get. Deal with it, players.

I do think the agreed upon CBA will attempt to obfuscate the true numbers - possibly by redefining BRI so the players can claim some victory but the bottom line is the total they get will be drastically cut, at least on a graduating scale over the next 10 years. But believe David Stern. Seattle did not and lost their Sonics. Others have failed to listen to him at their peril. I think he means every word.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:09 pm

NBA denies David Stern plans to threaten NBPA

Maybe it won't happen in early October but Stern would be a fool to let this drag on beyond November, that's for sure.  The NBA is losing money and a big reason is because there are more overpaid athletes in the NBA then any other sport out there, it's a complete joke.  There are bad players all over the place making 5 to 10 million dollars per year and "superstars" are making in the 20 million dollar per season range..... just ridiculous money for a league where 20 plus teams aren't profiting a penny.

It's simple. Just send the union the league's final proposal and give them a week to accept or decline the proposal.  If they decline it then at least tentatively cancel the season and tell the NBAPA to get back to them when they're ready to accept it.  If and when they do then maybe the league can reconsider and allow for some games to be played.  If not then fine, the season is gone and let the players play for a lot less overseas or anywhere else they want to play. 

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