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Category: Lockout

NBA lockout: Negotiations are at a crossroads

David Stern/Adam Silver

Negotiations to end the NBA lockout are at a crossroads.

At a meeting Monday in New York, the players union can accept the owners' latest proposal of a 50-50 split of basketball-related income and some concessions. That would secure a 72-game season beginning Dec. 15.

Or the players can reject the deal and demand better terms. That would all but guarantee the loss of the 2011-2012 season.

No doubt, the NBA owners are mostly responsible for this work stoppage. The players union has already expressed a willingness to reduce its share of basketball-related income to 50% from 57%, a move that would cost the players $280 million a season. The owners' latest proposal would implement/endorse such a 50-50 split.

Setting aside fairness, however, the players face the possibility that they may not be able to win a better deal than the one on the table. Team owners appear prepared to follow through on David Stern's threat to follow a rejection of their offer with proposals even less appealing to the union.

As a result, prolonging the work stoppage won’t result in a fairer deal. Instead, it will result in more lost games and lost paychecks — and worse offers. For better or worse, the NBA owners have finally shown a willingness to end the lockout. Now's the time for the players union to accept defeat and agree to a deal. Otherwise, they could get hit with a punch far worse than what the league's already thrown.


Players need to hold formal vote on deal

Five things to note about owners' current proposal

Metta World Peace: 'I don't really base my life around money'

— Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: NBA Commissioner David Stern at a news conference in New York last month. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press

NBA lockout: David Stern tweets on work stoppage (Web links)

David Stern

The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights David Stern's effort in explaining the NBA lockout via Twitter.

—Stern also writes a memo to the players about what the latest offer entails.

Sports Illustrated's Sam Amicktalks to players' union executive director Billy Hunter, who says players will vote on various amendments to the owners' latest proposal. 

Fox Sports' Sam Amicowonders if the players' union will decertify. 

The New York Times' Howard Beck talks to various agents, players and union officials who believe Stern is bluffing in his so-called "final" offer.

CBS Sports' Ken Bergertalks with agent Mark Bartelstein, who accuses Stern of being greedy. Berger also highlights the various optionsthe players' union has in negotiations.'s Larry Coonlooks at the different paths the players' union might take. 

Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer argues that the players' union needs to accept the offer.

Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler reports that Laker profits will increase from $45 million to $60 million to in excess of $120 million when the 20-year, $2.5-billion deal with Time Warner starts during the 2012-13 season.

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Metta World Peace: 'I don't really base my life around money'

Metta World Peace might make other NBA players cringe when he talks about the lockout.

His goes on random tangents. He doesn't speak like a politician the way players' union President Derek Fisher does. And, well, how does anyone expect an owner or NBA Commissioner David Stern to take someone seriously after he changes his name to Metta World Peace?

So of course, some players may dislike what he said Friday afternoon about the NBA labor negotiations: "When I came to the Lakers, it wasn’t about money for me. It wasn’t about money. I didn’t even negotiate. I asked, 'What do you want to give me?' and I signed it. Other players have concerns, but I don’t really base my life around money."

But in his own zany way, Ron Ron offered some well-needed perspective on the current work stoppage while making an appearance Friday at the Hollywood & Highland Center promoting Sungevity, a residential solar company that features an ice cream truck that runs on solar panels and bio fuel.

"Instead of trying to become basketball players and a rapper, get a degree or become an owner," World Peace said. "Get into real estate. Really take your education seriously in college. Not everybody will make it. There’s only 400 players in the NBA. What are you going to do after that? How many more businesses are you creating so we don’t have to go through this and in the future we don’t have to go through this?"

World Peace raises a good point about the necessity viewing what the lockout means beyond money. That's why he appeared disinterested in analyzing the owners' current offer that features a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. World Peace, who signed with the Lakers in 2009 to a five-year, $33-million deal at the mid-level exception, stressed his disregard for money when he was asked his concerns about the next labor deal drastically cutting the MLE. He routinely described the lockout as "educational," arguing he had more experience handling his finances after drawing an 86-game suspension for his involvement in the infamous Malice at the Palace brawl in 2004.

"It’s their business," World Peace said. "It’s not our business. As you can see, Mr. Stern can change rules whenever he wants. He does that a lot and sometimes it’s better for the game. But it’s educational for me." 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

NBA lockout: Players need to hold formal vote on deal

Derek Fisher/Billy Hunter

Little time remains on the clock, and it's critical the players union draws up the final play correctly.

The NBA owners issued them what league Commissioner David Stern considered their final proposal in Thursday's meeting, a deal that entails a 50-50 split in basketball-related income and mixed concessions in various system issues mostly tilted the owners' way. Of course, take deadlines and threats as nothing more than negotiating tactics. But Stern isn't kidding when he says a rejected offer will prompt the owners to offer only 47% of BRI, salary rollbacks and probably even more.

The players union has every right to reject the proposal. After all, they've made most of the concessions. Despite the players considering they'd accept a 50-50 split in exchange for better deals on system issues, CBS Sports' Ken Berger and's Marc Stein both report that the owners' offer Thursday didn't differ much from their earlier proposals. But before the players decide to decertify, they need to hold a formal yes or no vote among the 450-plus players representing the union.

The main forces driving decertification involve high-money players who can absorb a lost season and high-profile agents who will have streams of NBA clients for years to come. The rank-and-file players don't have that same luxury. Say what you will that any NBA player shouldn't have to be living paycheck to paycheck. But in the pure practical sense of what's best for the players, a formal vote will give the players union the best gauge of where exactly each one stands. 

That doesn't just give executive director Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher a more definitive gauge that measures the players' temperature. It minimizes further cracks in the union. A behind-the-scenes push for decertification could only cause resentment among players who just want to play, no matter how one-sided the deal is. It could also expose the reality that many players aren't prepared for a prolonged lockout. The union immediately caving to the owners' demands could only heighten animosity among the players who believe they've already conceded enough. But we won't know for sure what the odometer reads unless a vote takes place. 


Five things to note about owners' current proposal

Deal hinges on owners

Possible decertification threatens season

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players' union, speaks while standing near union President Derek Fisher, left, during a news conference early Thursday morning in New York. Credit: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

NBA lockout: Players union mulls over deal

Billy Hunter

-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner report the owners want a "repeater tax" that exceeds the luxury tax three times in a five-year period, but the players think it would curb spending.

--True Hoop's Henry Abbott finds it encouraging the rhetoric on both sides isn't as heated.'s J.A. Adande and's Steve Aschburner wonder whether the players union will accept the owners' proposal. 

--CBS Sports' Ken Berger talked to various sources who indicated the owners didn't really revise much of their proposal during Thursday's meeting. Berger also talks to Celtics legend Bill Russell, who believes the hard-line owners are being unreasonable

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding reports the Lakers re-signed Ryan West to their scouting department, plan to re-hire video coordinator Patrick O'Keefe and that Rudy Garciduenas won't be back.

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe explains why he's optimistic both sides will reach a deal soon. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky as well as Dave McMenamin debate whether there will be a 2011-2012 NBA season

--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen presents two options for the players union: accept the deal or decertify.'s Mike Trudell highlights the team's volunteer event at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey's Marc Stein talks to sources that indicate the owners made very few concessions on the system proposal the players union hoped they would make. 

-- Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski talked to several unnamed players who expressed frustration that the union has already conceded so much, and it's possible the players will instead just decertify.

Tweet of the Day: "Deals typically done when both sides see something they don't like but could live with. Hunter and Stern both sound that way tonight."  -- sam_amick (Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Sorry to everybody that thinks this is about greed. This is about just even holding a bit of diignity. Stern abused the players in 1999. Let's let the people we pay to see play have a bit of their own. The players have gone from 57% and only an effective but not declared salary cap to 50% and a chance at a hard cap and revenue sharing (which us Lakers fans are sacrificing). That is a sacrifice. The owners have given us nothing but lies about their profits." -- Phred Phredphredington

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo credit: John Minchillo / Associated Press

NBA lockout: Five things to note about owners' current proposal

Derek Fisher/Billy Hunter

1. The 72-game season would start Dec. 15. Should the players union accept the owners' current proposal, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters the playoffs and the finals would start a week late.

2. The basketball-related income would involve a 50-50 split. In what remained to be the biggest hurdle in these negotiations, this should sprout at least some optimism that both sides could reach a deal after the players union meets with team representatives Monday and Tuesday. This nugget also perfectly reflects just how much the owners have forced the players union to concede time and time again. The players union dropped from 57% to 53%, and held onto that percentage for a significant part of the work stoppage. They then offered to drop to 52.5%, 52% and then considered a 50-50 split so long as the owners compromised on various system issues. Should both sides accept a 50-50 split, the players union would give the owners an additional $280 million per season after contending the league lost $300 million last season.

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NBA lockout lasting longer than NFL lockout [Web links]

Derek Fisher/Billy Hunter

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner mention that the players union appeared to come closer to accepting the owners' demand for a 50-50 split of basketball revenue but wanted victories on peripheral issues. They also noted the NBA work stoppage has lasted longer than the NFL's previous lockout. 

--True Hoop's Henry Abbott believes both sides will agree to a 50-50 split in basketball-related income.'s David Aldridge examines how both sides can use the media in helping themselves get a deal. 

--Fox Sports' Sam Amico remains conflicted on whether both sides are making progress toward a deal.  

--CBS Sports' Ken Berger explains why both sides remain in a stalemate about a deal. 

-True Hoop's Larry Coonexplains how teams' value rises as the owners' split grows. 

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer highlights Rick Barry's criticism of NBA Players Assn. executive director Billy Hunter as "one of the worst things that happened to the NBA."

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky wonders who Kobe Bryant's rival is.'s Marc Stein explains why no major progress was made in Wednesday's meeting. 

--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen argues Thursday's meeting will largely determine whether the NBA lockout ends. 

--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski talks to one league official who believes both sides can reach a deal "in the next day or two."

Tweet of the Day: "My feeling is a deal will happen. If not today then in the near future. They're too close for a canceled season to be the end result." -- thechrispalmer (ESPN The Magazine's Chris Palmer)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day:"I love basketball. I think its totally ridiculous they are fight over the difference of pennies.... whatever happened to the love of the game" -- Linda Lindholm

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players' union, speaks while standing near union president Derek Fisher, left, during a news conference early Thursday morning in New York. Credit: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images

NBA lockout: Deal hinges on owners

Derek Fisher

We already know of one threat that never materialized: NBA Commissioner David Stern had said that if the players union didn't accept the owner's latest proposal by 2 p.m. PST, they'd immediately pull the offer.

 Well, the two sides are still talking in New York. It's better than the alternative featuring both sides storming out, but this fact doesn't necessarily mean things will end well.

It's clear, however, if both sides fail to reach the deal, the blame falls entirely on the owners. The NBA players union may have staunchly rejected the owners' proposal to accept a range of 49% to 51% in basketball-related income, but they indicated they are open to accepting a 50-50 split in said revenue. Considering how much both sides had clashed on this issue, that alone is progress. It also reveals just how much the players union has already conceded, relenting from 57% to 53% to 52.5% to 52%, all while the owners kept asking for more and more. For those keeping score, a 50-50 split would result in an extra $200 million per year for the owners after they claimed the league has lost $300 million annually. 

That doesn't guarantee profitability, but it shouldn't. That's why it's inexcusable if the owners refuse to give the players union some leeway on some of the system issues. That could include an easing on the luxury tax, which would inhibit teams to show a willingness to spend more to secure top-level talent. That includes increasing qualifying offers and trade exceptions, and allowing sign-and-trades, all factors that give players more freedom as free agents. That includes increasing incentives in rookie contracts so that players actually performing at an elite level are compensated more quickly. 

Of course, none of this resonates with a general public tired of seeing billionaires fight with millionaires. But from a pure negotiating standpoint, there's no need for the owners to delay any more of the 2011-12 season just so they can run up the score. For better or worse, the ball is in their hands. 


Owners, players focus on fixing system issues

Five thoughts on Wednesday's supposed ultimatum

Possible decertification threatens season

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Derek Fisher, center, president of the NBA players union, is joined by union Executive Director Billy Hunter, right, and other NBA players during a news conference Sept. 15. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

NBA lockout: Owners, players' union still at odds (Web links)

Derek FisherThe Times' Mike Bresnahan talked to an agent who said there is "absolutely" no way both sides will reach a deal Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports players and owners plan to meet Wednesday. 

True Hoop's Henry Abbott believes the owners will reach a deal now if they care about salvaging the season. 

Fox Sports' Sam Amico says NBA owners are still in control of the labor dispute. 

The New York Times' Harvey Araton profiles NBA Commissioner David Stern.'s Steve Aschburner outlines the various system issues both sides need to fix. 

The New York Times' Howard Beck notices that this is the first time the players' union appears willing to take a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. 

CBS Sports' Ken Berger explains why the hard-line owners could ruin a deal. 

The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights Kobe Bryant's Italian GQ cover.

Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer highlights Derek Fisher's visit with Bill Clinton. 

ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky breaks down a few nuggets regarding the collective bargaining agreement.

Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe explains the players' union's defiance against the owners. 

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix breaks down the various system issues the players union and owners still need to iron out. 

The Washington Post's Amy Shipley talks to players' union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who claims the NBA owners have been treating the players like "plantation workers."'s Marc Stein reports that the players' union is prepared to take a 50-50 split in basketball-related income.'s Mike Trudell highlights Magic Johnson's 20th anniversary since his HIV announcement. 

The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman wonders if a new collective bargaining agreement will end the Lakers' dynasty.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that David Stern is authorized to make tweaks to the various system issues. 

Pro Basketball Talk's Ira Winderman explains how the length of a CBA could prove crucial to the labor deal. 

Forum Blue and Gold's J.M. Poulard looks at the final years of Kobe Bryant's career. 

Tweet of the Day: "I think there is a real possibility lockout ends today, as I've been convinced owners will give on some system issues in exchange for BRI." -- sam_amick (Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The Owners are Multi-Millionaires and Billionaires, while theirs a handful of players that 8 figures the rest make a doctors salary, which isnt that bad, but tell a doctor not to work for a job...what do you think is gonna happen. my point is that some or Most Owners are Greedy the Union already gave you 100millon per year (43 to 47 percent= 100 million per year over the next 10 years =1 billion)" -- Jeff Hall

— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at

Photo: Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players' Assn., speaks during a news conference Tuesday in New York. Credit: Associated Press Photo / Frank Franklin II.

NBA lockout: Five thoughts on Wednesday's supposed ultimatum

Derek Fisher/Billy Hunter

1. Both sides need to meet ASAP. The players' union formally rejected the owners' offer for a deal Tuesday, which involved accepting between 49%-51% of basketball-related income, depending on that season's revenue. But they maintained a willingness to speak with the NBA before Wednesday's supposed ultimatum that the owners will pull the deal off the table by 2 p.m. PST. So far, both sides haven't met and that's inexcusable. 

2. A failure to reach the deal Wednesday won't end the season, but it will get uglier. Don't expect the NBA to suddenly cancel games through Christmas or even the end of the season. But should both sides fail to reach a deal, things will only become worse. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said the next offer would entail the players receiving 47% of league revenue in the next proposal and that existing player contracts would be rolled back by an unspecified percentage. Meanwhile, a push for player decertification could heighten even more, which could allow players to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA in a long and costly court battle.  Never take rhetoric seriously, but both sides need to stop playing the game of chicken. It's getting old. 

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