Tag:David Stern
Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:26 am

There will be no Wade vs. Stern 2

By Matt Moore

There will be no rematch of Dwyane Wade vs. David Stern Tuesday, after the two clashed in meetings last week over tone and respect. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Wade's spokesperson, however, said that the All-Star guard would remain in South Florida with his family. Wade took umbrage to Stern's approach during a negotiating session last Friday, with Stern confirming the disagreement a day later.
via Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade not expected to again square off with NBA Commissioner David Stern at NBA lockout talks - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com. 

This kind of makes Wade's appearance seem like a hit and run. He didn't appear at many of the meetings before the outburst, and was in New York primarily to promote Court Grip. It's entirely possible Wade has serious reasons for missing the meetings in New York, but without a follow-up or an involvement in actual discussions, and with his only contribution a random outburst against the commissioner, it lessens the impact of his leadership shown last week. 

Then again, maybe he was just filling in for Kobe Bryant, who was abroad last week and who is in New York for Tuesday's meeting according to multiple reports.  
Posted on: October 4, 2011 1:10 am

NBA Lockout: The night before

By Matt Moore

We've told you that previous meetings were relevant, were important, were key. And each one has yielded the same result: both sides sayng they were still too far apart, talks will resume tomorrow or in a few days. So forgive me for over-emphasizing this.

Tuesday's the day

Monday night, each set of parties will go to sleep in preparation of Tuesday's NBA lockout negotiations, which are expected to decide whether games will be lost and likely how many. The players will sleep comfortably. They'll have a measure of anxiety for their livelihoods and their careers, sure. But they'll be resting on 500 count sheets, unperturbed by any real consequences. Losing a few games just means an unpaid vacation. The game will be there when they get back. The agents will sleep the sleep of wolves. Knowing you're the thing that goes bump in the night has its advantages. The owners may be coming for their money, but this is a challenge to be thwarted, as is their perception that Billy Hunter has lost control of the fight. (The agents who are not part of the plot are just along for the ride, unfortunately.)

And the owners? The owners sleep the sleep of babes.

Maybe there really is a healthy conversation being held in the owners' meetings. Maybe they arrived at their hardened stance after hours and days of tense and lively debate over the best way to rectify the economic lapses in the system they signed off on. It's possible that they've really been down every road, listened to every argument, embraced every alternative until they were left with nothing but this, the scorched court policy.

But it doesn't seem that way, feel that way, or sound that way.

Every indication is that the owners go to sleep Monday night fully aware that they are likely setting the league back by upwars of a decade, that they are crushing something that bring joy to millions, that they are stomping on the legacy they inherited when they plunked down their change for the right to courtside seats and a number of player headaches. They are aware that their decision will cost people jobs they need, part-time money they need, diversions that make life more fun, and boost local economies. They are aware that there's no decent compromise they're seeking, only total and complete conquest in this dispute.

And every indication is that they could not care less. You have to look out for yourself in this world, apparently.

David Stern goes to sleep with the knowledge that Tuesday will bring with it a judgment upon his term as commissioner of a professional sports league. Failure to bring the owners off the fortress walls or to somehow shakedown the players into what will be a crushing deal for them would represent a phenomenal failure for Stern in his duties to, you know, run the NBA. He will have done his job in protecting the interests of his board and in doing so sacrificed the good the NBA brings with it. Not just from a sports perspective, or economic, but from the lost charity work, the goodwill, the positive influence on young people and every other impact. He will have watched over the league as it costs a year in the careers of promising young athletes like Blake Griffin and John Wall, as it robs history of one of the final years of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

Big king-sized beds for men of wealth and fame, all.

Tuesday the sun comes up, the gloves come off and the lockout will sort them out. Odds are we're headed towards regular season games missed, maybe months, maybe the entire year, along with a lengthy court battle, ugly internal strife in the union, and no professional basketball. It's difficult to see any other result coming out of the boardroom tomorrow in New York. Even the optimists like Ken Berger are staring down the barrel of missed games. Cooler heads have not prevailed. Reason has not won out. It's Lord of the Flies time in the NBA Lockout and we're about to find out how ugly it will get. 

Rome is burning but the Roman Senate sleeps soundly.  
Posted on: October 3, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 2:00 am

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Note (1:57 a.m.): This post has been updated to reflect new information.

Kaboom. The agents are at it again.

In the latest signal that the NBA labor negotiations are doomed, at least in the short term, six influential agents have issued a letter to their clients on Monday advising them not to agree to any labor deal that requires the players to take cuts in compensation.

ESPN.com reported that the agents are advising players to hold a firm line on the issue of the Basketball-Related Income split. 

The owners have held firm to chopping the players' share of BRI from 57 to 46 percent since negotiations began, union director Billy Hunter acknowledged after lengthy talks over the weekend were largely fruitless.

Sources say the letter, a copy of which was obtained from a player who received it, was jointly composed by Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group; Bill Duffy of BDA Sports; Dan Fegan of Lagardere Unlimited; Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management; Leon Rose and Henry Thomas of Creative Artists Agency; and Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports and Entertainment.

ESPN.com believed the letter advocated no movement past the current 57 percent BRI split for the players. Later Monday, SI.com also obtained the letter (read it here) and reported that it advises players not to accept any reduction past the 52 percent level that has been negotiated in talks that have been ongoing for months.

Back in September, NBPA president Derek Fisher sent a letter to all players urging unity and specifically called out these agents. Here's his reward. Anarchy at the worst possible time.  

The agents are saying to their players, in effect: "We know your interests better than the union does." This letter undercuts the strength of Fisher and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter by revealing a clear rift. As mentioned on Saturday night, October comes down to one word on the players' side: resolve. Just two days later, we are presented with a blatant signal that powerful factions of the NBPA are not on the same page. At all. 

If we take the 57 percent reading as accurate, the agents are telling their clients not to approve concessions already made by the NBA in negotiations, totally cutting the legs out from under the NBPA leadership. If we take the 52 percent reading as accurate, Fisher and Hunter are left with no room to further negotiate with the NBA owners, who, up to this point, have made it clear that 52 percent is "miles" away from getting a deal done. That reading still turns the letter into an attempt to transform the NBPA's most recent offer into its final offer. That's still serious undercutting, although clearly not as bad as if the demand is at 57 percent as was previously reported. How, exactly, are NBPA officials supposed to enter the most important day of negotiations with one hand tied behind their backs?

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports quoted one agent on Monday: "We're not just walking off the cliff with (Billy Hunter). We're ready to take the next step and decertify. We're not going to let the league set up tomorrow's meeting as a way to trap us into a bad deal."

Whether or not the actual advice in this letter is heeded, the mere fact that it was sent represents a step backwards in the negotiation process, and it comes at the worst possible time. The NBA and NBPA will continue talks in New York City on Tuesday in what could be the last session before regular season games are canceled. If the union does not have both the desire and authority to make significant concessions, and it appears that it has neither, a delayed start to the regular season is unavoidable.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 11:01 pm

Monday's labor meeting table setter for Tuesday

Posted by Royce Young

The clock on the NBA season is getting close to striking midnight. It's that hour. Get a deal done now or at least the first month of basketball will be lost. The two sides bargained Friday and Saturday, reaching no deal and then took Sunday off. There was a hope -- and possibly an expectation -- that Monday's meeting might present the opportunity to close the gap and edge nearer a deal.

Nope. Didn't happen. But don't throw that hot cup of coffee all over your face in frustration. Today's meetings were just to "set the table" for tomorrow. Or so says David Stern. Stern: "It would be great to be able to make some real progress tomorrow. Whether that's possible or not, I don't know."

Also of note: About 10 owners and multiple players are expected to be involved in the meetings tomorrow. Paul Pierce actually joined Fisher in the bargaining room today.

Via our Ken Berger of CBSSports.com
, who is in New York at the meetings:

Where is that number? Right now the players are somewhere in the 54 percent range. The owners are around 46 percent. So if they negotiate and find the elusive middle, that's 50/50! JUST GET IT DONE. What's it going to take though? Some will you say?

There better be a will. Because here's the thing: The players and owners met for almost eight hours Saturday. Then five more today. And all we're at is "setting the table" for a big meeting Tuesday? You know what this continues to sound like? Like someone's just trying to save face if there's inevitably not a deal. Are they even talking or just texting friends or playing Angry Birds in silence for five hours?

Derek Fisher on that front: "I wouldn't say we made progress today, but it wasn't time wasted, either."

Here's the rub:

Derek Fisher put it this way: "A lot of signs point to tomorrow being a very important day." So here we go again. Tuesday is D-Day for the NBA. Let's just hope that "D" stands for "deal."
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 2, 2011 1:56 am
Edited on: October 2, 2011 1:32 pm

NBPA shouts met with laughter by NBA owners

Posted by Ben Golliver


Saturday essentially represented the eleventh hour if ongoing labor negotiations were going to progress enough to save the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season, and the league's owners responded with all the urgency other people their age bring to planning a 2 p.m. nap. The owners wanted to save the season so badly that they agreed not to even discuss the money issue because it was so clearly a waste of time. The owners were so committed to avoiding a true work stoppage that they used the oldest trick in the book, "working late" on Saturday as an excuse to take off Sunday. 

The lasting scene from the last two fruitless days of labor negotiations is not Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade standing up to commissioner David Stern on Friday. No, the image that will endure is billionaire Heat owner Micky Arison cracking a joke about the exchange and then treating himself to a New York steak on Saturday night.

Sure, imagining Wade sticking it to basketball's bellicose bully is a great picture, but if you zoom out you can clearly see the league's owners yawning, or perhaps even chuckling, at Wade's confident petulance, knowing that his outburst stems from a growing sense of outrage and frustration at the lack of progress in the talks. "If the superstars are getting this upset," you can almost hear the owners thinking, "just imagine how mad the mid-level players must be."

Once the natural sense of satisfaction and vindication caused by Wade's confrontation with Stern wears off among the league's rank and file, they will soon realize that the exchange of words and, really, the entire appearance of stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at Friday's talks in New York was nothing more than a sideshow, a distraction from the fact that the owners have not meaningfully moved on the only topic that matters: the split of basketball-related income. Expecting Wade, James and Anthony to influence the mindset of owners dead set on a financial system overhaul is as ridiculous as the costume Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis wore to the proceedings. It didn't make any difference. The superstars, it turns out, are not a panacea. So, what next?

Aside from praying for a favorable ruling by the National Labor Relations Board and the longshot, that-ship-has-sailed option of decertification, the National Basketball Players Association is running fresh out of ideas. Patience has been the order of the day up to this point but panic seems like a more apt description of what should come next, given how unblinking the owners were this weekend. As a group, the owners have shown no real cracks and they even offered up a generous, expanded revenue sharing program to the surprise of many. Sure, they are getting killed for jeopardizing the future of their league and for being profit-hungry, and they deserve every word of it, but damned if they aren't unified in their questionable course of action. They are driving this season off the cliff in tandem. Thirty motorcycles will crash into the ravine simultaneously.

And that's why the month of October in these negotiations will be defined by the resolve of the other side, which already seems a touch shaky. NBPA president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter, despite their best efforts and tireless work, have struggled to maintain order and interest among their ranks. Only a few dozen players bothered to show up at a recent regional meeting in Las Vegas and the league's star players were virtually absent during this process until their brief cameo on Friday. The NBA's most popular player, Kobe Bryant, couldn't be bothered to break off from his overseas obligations. The NBA's MVP, Derrick Rose, has been seen fighting bullfighters in sneaker commercials but hasn't stepped into the labor ring. LeBron James, the league's biggest talent, is reportedly among a group of stars ready to dig in and take a hard line at 53 percent of the BRI, regardless of the consequences, but that's easy for him to say because he's made more money in a season, multiple times, than the average player will make in a career. He has copious, global endorsement opportunities to help ease the pain, too.

Dozens of fringe players have already bailed to play basketball overseas and, with the cancelation of regular season games just around the corner, middle of the road guys who had been weighing their options are likely to follow suit. Those who don't go will only get antsier and antsier, louder and louder, once this weekend's non-action sinks in and the missed paychecks become a reality rather than a threat. When that clamoring starts to pick up, we know where the owners will be: laid back with their feet kicked up, holding onto the same demands they've held since the beginning of the process, laughing all the way to the bank.

The owners are the perfect villians: rich beyond our wildest dreams and determined to squeeze out every possible penny, regardless of the collateral damage. The scary part is that they don't care how they appear to the public, the media or, even, to Wade. The terrifying part is that it's still not totally clear the players understand what they are up against yet.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 7:00 pm

NBA, NBPA have 'huge gaps' after 7-hour meeting

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for the second straight day in New York City on Saturday, but the talks failed to produce an agreement or even much progress. 

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the talks will not continue on Sunday as expected and that the two sides will be "back at it" on Monday in smaller groups. 

Talks lasted for more than seven hours on Saturday following a lengthy negotiating session on Friday that featured some tense moments and cameos by superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

Representatives for both sides addressed the media afterwards.

Berger reports that NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler said that the two sides did not discuss the most contentious issue, the division of Basketball-Related Income, and instead talked about system issues. NBPA president Derek Fisher, meanwhile, acknowledged that there were "still huge gaps" between the two sides, who decided to switch the discussion to individual system issues.

"Break down the mountain into separate pieces and tackle it one step at a time," Fisher explained. "We weren't going to be able to make major, sweeping progress on the entire economic and system at the same time. Maybe if we split them up and try to go at them one at a time ... we can at least get some momentum and some progress going."

USA Today reported that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said the two sides were still "miles apart."

Berger reported that Hunter believes the owners are still pushing for a system that resembles a hard cap rather than the soft cap that the players prefer. "If you gave them everything they're asking for, you'd ultimately have a hard cap," Hunter said.

On the other side of the table, Berger reported that NBA commissioner David Stern said that the two days of negotiations were "long and in some ways exhausting" and that the two sides were "not near anything." However, Stern noted: "We're closer than we were before."

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver painted the discussions as a clear exchange of ideas: "The owners certainly heard the passion from the players, and right back at them from the owners."

NBPA vice president Matt Bonner told MySanAntonio.com that both sides were "a little burned out" and only made "minor progress" on Saturday. His fellow NBPA vice president Roger Mason, Jr. tweeted: "Finished another long day of meetings. Unfortunatey nothing new to report. We are still very far from a deal."

Berger also reports that Stern acknowledged that he exchanged words with Wade on Friday. "There was a heated exchange of some kind."

The next steps for the NBA will be to announce the cancelation of the rest of the preseason schedule. On Sept. 23, the NBA announced the cancelation of the first half of the preseason. Once the entire preseason slate is wiped, a delayed start to the regular season, which is currently slated for Nov. 1, is essentially inevitable. Berger reports that Stern no announcement will be made on Monday but that the decision will be a "day to day" matter after that. 

This post will update with the latest NBA lockout news.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 3:13 pm

NBA apparel sales to drop 50 percent in lockout?

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

In 2006, shoe and clothing manufacturer adidas signed on to be the official jersey and apparel supplier of the NBA, paying a reported $400 million over 11 years. Now roughly halfway through that agreement, adidas is about to hit some choppy waters thanks to the NBA lockout.

The Oregonian reports that while sneaker campaigns built around star players, like one launched by adidas for NBA MVP Derrick Rose this week, are expected to flourish like usual during the ongoing labor negotiations, industry analysts are predicting that sales of team apparel such as jerseys, shorts and other items will take a massive hit if the NBA cancels games during the 2011-2012 season.

The paper quotes two experts, Matt Powell and Marshal Cohen, on the subject. 
Apparel sales will be hammered by a lockout of almost any duration, a prediction that would be especially damaging to Adidas -- the league's official apparel provider. 

Look for 50 percent fewer sales of jerseys and other paraphernalia for the duration of the lockout, Powell said. 

And if the lockout lingers, the NBA, Nike, Adidas and everyone else in the basketball business will see declining sales across the board because of declining interest, Cohen said. 

In that event, Cohen said, "people aren't playing as much, not thinking about it as much." 
The NBA lockout has led to a league-mandated gag order with regard to contact between teams and current players, and team websites have been scrubbed of references to current players. The NBA's official store welcomes online visitors with the option of customizing a jersey of a fan's favorite team and does not have any images or links to players on its main page, although jerseys of current players are still available. Obviously this stands in stark contrast to usual practices, which would see highly marketable star players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant front and center.

While any NBA owner can calculate how much extra money he will take home if the Basketball-Related Income split is rejiggered or if games are missed and player salaries don't need to be paid, it's a much difficult proposition to gauge the longer-term financial impacts of a lost season. The secondary and tertiary spending on things like memorabilia aren't as important as ticket revenue or television revenue, but, still, tens of millions of dollars are at stake.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:42 pm

NBA Lockout: Wade becomes the man on fire

By Matt Moore

Dwyane Wade spent the week shilling for an on-court traction product. It was very Bruce-Banner-y. He did a wide range of interviews for the product, talked about the Heat, flashed that Wade smile, did the whole publicity tour. Wade had been quiet for months regarding the lockout. He hadn't appeared at any of the Pro-Ams. He hadn't been a presence at the meetings. He hadn't been aggressively supporting the union in front of or away from the cameras. In short, some were beginning to wonder where Wade was in this whole lockout landscape, the silent superstar in a league full of big moneymakers who seemed to be just looking out for themselves and enjoying their summer. Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul (who serves on the union's executive committee) and Kevin Garnett seemed to be the only leaders from the star contingent. 

Then Friday came.

And Dwyane Wade took a flamethrower to the whole damn place.

It started early when Wade gave an interview to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, and discussed, essentially, being an underpaid superstar. Wade's understanding of the earning power of superstars in the NBA wasn't off factually, even if the timing was questionable.  It was a high-impact interview with a high-impact reporter that set the tone for the day. And Wade was only getting started. 

Next up, he drops comments across the board regarding the fact that the players "may lose a season." It was an odd and seemingly out of place set of comments considering the importance of getting a deal this weekend. Wade was essentially taking a hard-line position of saying "We want to play, but don't think we're not willing to lose the year just to get a deal." This from a player who notoriously is careful to avoid controversy. He's taken on a lot of flak this year as a member of the Heat from the backlash from "The Decision" and the formation of the Triad on South Beach, but Wade has always been popular with reporters for providing sound bytes without ever getting in trouble. He rarely if ever comes under scrutiny for his comments, and here he is being up front about the realities of the talks after saying that he's not getting paid what he could. 

Then there was the meeting.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed that at one point Wade stood up to David Stern's aggressive speech to the players. ESPN reported a direct quote from Wade:
Source: David Stern pointed his finger at players while talking. Wade shouted, "You're not pointing your finger at me. I'm not your child."
via Twitter / @RicBucher: Source: David Stern pointe ....

What the...?

Where's the baby-kissing, hand-shaking, lovable Dwyane Wade we've come to know? Where's the meek and mild player that no one was loooking to for leadership? Apparently all it took was Kobe Bryant having prior commitments with Nike in Europe to bring the Warrior Wade to the front... with a blowtorch.

Consider this, from earlier this week on the New York TimesNBA blog Off the Dribble:  
Wade said he has been in regular contact with Billy Hunter, the executive director of the players union, about the state of negotiations. But he said he felt no need to join the meetings himself, and he shrugged off the criticism directed at superstar players for their lack of involvement.

“That’s a silly thought,” Wade said. “I’ve been in a few meetings — I’ve been in three or four meetings myself.”

But none of the league’s top players have been a regular presence since the lockout began July 1, with the exception of Chris Paul, who serves on the union’s executive board. It has been suggested that a greater presence by the game’s superstars could push the N.B.A. toward a deal. Wade disagreed.

“The negotiation is the negotiation,” he said, adding: “We’ve been in there. Not only have they said their shpiel, we’ve said our shpiel, we’ve listened. We’ve taken notes. We’ve done all this. And we believe in our players association.”
via Negotiations Don't Need a Star Presence, Wade Says - NYTimes.com.

In two days, we've gone from Wade saying there's no reason for the superstars to be more active, to Wade himself aiming at the commissioner of the NBA to get his finger out of their face. Something happened, and it's likely not a coincidence that Wade suddenly came off the leash. The Players' Union needed someone with a big name and a face to come out guns blazing, to pull a Jordan '99 and Wade was the man to step up. For all the flak the Heat have taken, Wade is as respected as they come, and his foot forward spoke volumes. 

The players needed someone to go rogue and play bad cop.

Dwyane Wade pulled out the billy club on the start of the most serious negotiations in the entire process and started swinging from sun up to sun down. We'll have to see if this galvanizes the union to stick together, or if this came off as empty rhetoric from a player not representative of the league's primarily roleplayer whole.

Finally, consider this report from a Miami-based reporter who spoke with a player to gauge reaction to Wade's outburst Friday.  
Just spoke to an NBA player not in today's meeting. Said "400 guys in our league have a new favorite player tonight, and it's Mr. D-Wade."
via Twitter / @ByTimReynolds: Just spoke to an NBA playe ....

To quote a popular song for NBA players, "Say hello to the bad guy."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com