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The Lockout & the Raptors: Players approve CBA, Owners too! (1944)

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  • stretch wrote: View Post
    I don't understand. The numbers I am seeing are a 7% reduction in BRI portion for the players, a 12.3% total reduction in players salaries if the BRI maintains at 4 billion per season, which it will not due to a shortened season this year, the overall negative effect of the lockout and, of course, the economy.
    You are certainly correct there is a 7% cut to BRI but it is not as simple as that in terms of contracts to be awarded.

    To be honest, I don't really understand it totally either (in other words I have not read anything by a source I would consider an authority explaining it) but here is my understanding:

    The league has kept the salary cap and luxury tax the same for the next 2 seasons,
    the exemptions are still there for teams to use (MLE, new $2.5M exemption),
    minimum payroll will be raised to 85% for 2 years and 90% thereafter,
    the escrow tax is going to be raised to 10% and they are going to keep a little extra this year only to account for possible negative effects of lockout,
    and there are no roll back to contracts currently signed.


    To account for all the above with the lower BRI, I can only imagine the league is banking on never giving back the 10% escrow as the numbers will not allow it.

    I guess the thinking is either:

    1) with a freeze for 2 years on salary cap and luxury tax amounts, this is the 'gimme' to the players - new changes are to be eased in in 2 seasons time,

    2) the league is raising the escrow rate from 8% to 10% saving them money,

    3) in 2 seasons time, the new cap and luxury tax rate will reflect new BRI numbers and with (hopefully) increased revenues, the change will not be very dramatic.


    Anyone who knows different (and ideally can provide a source), please do!

    Comment


    • Matt52 wrote: View Post
      I disagree.

      The payroll floor - i.e. the minimum amount a team must spend - will go from $43.5M to 49.3M for the first 2 years and then to $52.2M for remainder of the contract. Percentage wise that is 75% of the cap to 85% for 2 years and then 90% after that.

      A new $2.5M exemption has been added.

      For over 50% of the league, this deal is better for them.

      As for the BRI drop, they have been guaranteed to keep the salary cap and luxury tax at the same amount for 2 years ($58M/$70M). The players will most likely not get the escrow back but, except for last season first time ever, that is nothing new.
      every team but 1 in the league already spends more than 53 mil (I think thats what the number was).... so the top is coming down while the bottom isn't really changing. Which means someone is getting squeezed. And as its been talked about many times before... the chance that its gonna be the top earners is unlikely. (they will ofcourse take a hit, but I imagine it will be proportionally less than the middle)

      Plus the NBA created another $2.5M exemption for teams.

      I think the majority are fighting on the principle of what they feel is 'fair'. They do not seem to realize that:
      1) previous CBA's were very much in their favour,
      2) the cost of producing every dollar of revenue has risen for owners,
      3) they have been shielded from the harsh realities of the economic world over the last 4-5 years.

      -how was the previous CBA in 'their favor'? From everything I recall the players were hammered in the previous negotiations by owners. Will the new one be 'less in their favour', yes.

      -The cost of producing every dollar may have gone up... but it hasn't been due to the player's salary. It has been 57% since the last CBA.

      -how do you assume they have been "shielded" from the realities of the economic world anymore than the next guy or any owner for that matter?

      Comment


      • GarbageTime wrote: View Post
        every team but 1 in the league already spends more than 53 mil (I think thats what the number was).... so the top is coming down while the bottom isn't really changing. Which means someone is getting squeezed. And as its been talked about many times before... the chance that its gonna be the top earners is unlikely. (they will ofcourse take a hit, but I imagine it will be proportionally less than the middle)
        It was actually 4 teams (Sacramento, Minnesota, Clippers, Cleveland).

        It would be interesting to see how many players are actually in this 'middle class' seeing as how 50% make less than $2.33M as it is.

        The exemptions are still there and there will still be a few teams able and willing to go over the luxury tax - just not as far with much smaller difference between teams

        Also, the difference between top spending teams and 'average' teams is sure to shrink.

        $75M now equals $82.5M
        $80M now equals $96.25M
        $85M now equals $113.75M
        $90M now equals $135M
        $95M now equals $156.25M

        Plus the penalty for the 4th year of luxury tax within 5 years.



        -how was the previous CBA in 'their favor'? From everything I recall the players were hammered in the previous negotiations by owners. Will the new one be 'less in their favour', yes.
        57% of revenues. Sign and trade. Extend and trade. Opt outs. Team opt outs with players still getting paid - for example, VC has an $18M team option with $4M guaranteed. 10.5% raises for Birds RIghts players, 8% for non-Birds. 6 and 5 year guaranteed contracts without accountability for performance.

        -The cost of producing every dollar may have gone up... but it hasn't been due to the player's salary. It has been 57% since the last CBA.
        That does not help owners to continue pay for costs increasing faster than their split of BRI. The players need to (and to their credit have) reduce their share of BRI now to get a smaller percentage of a hopefully larger pie in the future.

        -how do you assume they have been "shielded" from the realities of the economic world anymore than the next guy or any owner for that matter?
        Guaranteed contracts regardless of performance. 10.5% and 8% annual raises. An income that will only cause a moderate reduction in the amount of discretionary funds due to the effects of rising energy and food prices.
        Last edited by mcHAPPY; Sat Nov 12, 2011, 05:51 PM. Reason: bad math

        Comment


        • The @NBA_Labor Twitter feed is, according to its own description, “Collective Bargaining news and facts directly from the NBA office”. By definition, this means that it is a biased, one-sided source of information presented from the side of the owners, but it also means that it is able to present certain details with a high level of accuracy.

          Friday, the account tweeted a number of details from the latest proposal the owners presented to the players’ association — a proposal, sources have already told ESPN.com, that the players are unlikely to accept.

          The details tweeted by the @NBA_Labor feed — that is, the details that the NBA wanted to be sure were well publicized — included the following (all quoted directly from their respective tweets):

          More mid-levels than 2005 CBA: $5M for non-taxpayers, $3M for taxpayers, $2.5M for room teams
          More cap exceptions for teams who are not taxpayers…
          Projected tax level ranges from $70M-$85M over next 6 years; more than enough money to keep teams together
          New trade rules to promote more player movement
          Projected max salaries range from $13M to $19M and growing
          Increased minimum team salary – from 75% of cap to 90%
          Plyr-friendly changes 4 restricted FAs: qualifying offers higher & 100% guaranteed, shorter match period 4 offer sheets
          Ability to stretch waived player’s salary frees up more money for teams to spend on FAs
          Players retain full Bird rights
          Repeat tax rates apply only when team is taxpayer 4 out of 5 yrs (not 3 out of 5)
          Source: SI.com

          A few more tweets not included in SI.com article:

          NBA_Labor NBA Labor
          .@Casspi18: Fact: 22 out of 30 teams lost $$$ in 2010-11 & we have shared our financial info with NBPA

          NBA_Labor NBA Labor
          .@JasonTerry31: Not true new deal would "eliminate middle class"; NBA proposal has more mid-level opportunities than 2005 CBA
          NBA_Labor NBA Labor
          Over last CBA, only 4 sign-and-trades by taxpayers that new rule would have prohibited
          NBA_Labor NBA Labor
          .@RicBucher Incorrect; only preliminary discussions have been held on NBA/NBA D-League relationship; nothing in 11/11 proposal
          NBA_Labor NBA Labor
          Fact: Under prior CBA, only 3 players per season received more than $5M salary using mid-level exception
          With all the B-issues left to address, it seems at least 1 more negotiation session is needed.

          Many of these B-issues are what many players seem to be upset about, however, NBA is saying they are still open for negotiation. As Alan Hahn tweeted:

          alanhahn Alan Hahn
          By the way, all this B-list stuff in the proposal that players are railing about? Not in the deal up for vote. Still to be negotiated.
          Therefore how can players vote on an offer that is not complete? Clearly one more negotiation session will be needed at minimum.

          Comment


          • This is what pisses me off about Nazr Mohammed and the players position in general:

            Via Nazr's twitter:

            I would love to give specifics but it's not my position to say. Only people who were in the meeting should share that info.
            The players never give specifics for their position. Give specifics and maybe the majority of fans will support you guys. I can only assume the specifics show their lack of desire for the majority of franchises to ever have a chance to field a competitive team capable of deep playoff runs.

            Comment


            • Matt52 wrote: View Post
              This is what pisses me off about Nazr Mohammed and the players position in general:

              Via Nazr's twitter:



              The players never give specifics for their position. Give specifics and maybe the majority of fans will support you guys. I can only assume the specifics show their lack of desire for the majority of franchises to ever have a chance to field a competitive team capable of deep playoff runs.
              This is my big reason why I generally favour the owners. What the players want tends to be the complete opposite of what most fans want. At least the one's who aren't fans of the Lakers, Chicago, Heat, Celtics or Knicks. Either the NBA gets rid of every team that players wouldn't want to go to, or they make rules that restrict player movement enough to be able to give those teams a fighting chance to compete with the more favoured cities, er, teams.
              Read my blog, The Picket Fence. Guaranteed to make you think or your money back!
              Follow me on Twitter.

              Comment


              • Tim W. wrote: View Post
                This is my big reason why I generally favour the owners. What the players want tends to be the complete opposite of what most fans want. At least the one's who aren't fans of the Lakers, Chicago, Heat, Celtics or Knicks. Either the NBA gets rid of every team that players wouldn't want to go to, or they make rules that restrict player movement enough to be able to give those teams a fighting chance to compete with the more favoured cities, er, teams.
                I wonder if there was any consideration given to the application/restriction of team content not containing more than two unrestricted signed free agents at any time...or some variation of f/a signings. That would do it for me I think in terms of trying to spread the talent around.

                Comment


                • Comparing offers

                  The most detailed article I have come across yet. It seems a lot of the issues the players have been 'kicking up stink' about are not here:


                  New offer

                  Presented to union on Nov. 10:
                  • A 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI), either straight or in a 49-to-51 "band" adjusted for growth figures.
                  • A mid-level exception for non-taxpaying teams with a starting salary of up to $5 million in contracts up to four years in length.
                  • A MLE for tax-paying teams starting at $3 million with a maximum length of three years, available every year.
                  • A new "room" exception for all teams below the salary cap starting at $2.5 million for up to two years.
                  • Sign-and-trade deals available to all teams, including -- in Years 1 and 2 of the CBA -- taxpaying teams.
                  • Maximum annual raises of 6.5 percent for "Bird" free agents (players re-signed by their current teams) and 3.5 percent for others.
                  • Minimum payroll requirement -- known as "the floor" -- of 85 percent of the salary cap in Years 1 and 2, increasing to 90 percent thereafter.
                  An allowance for teams whose use of the full MLE would put them over the luxury-tax threshold. They would be permitted to conform by reducing payroll by an Oct. 15 deadline, either through trades or the "stretch" provision in which a player would be cut, with his remaining salary spread out over a longer period of time (two times the years remaining on his deal, plus one). This lower salary figure could enable the team to get down below the tax.
                  • A mutual opt-out clause in the new CBA after 6 years, conforming to NBPA preference.
                  * * Other provisions in the new offer -- relating to escrow money (10 percent, up from 8), stiffened luxury-tax penalties, a 12 percent drop in rookie and minimum-salary scales (to accommodate 12 percent drop in BRI share from 57 percent), the limiting of bi-annual exceptions to non-taxpaying teams, a 6-month buffer on extend-and-trade deals and other items -- remain essentially unchanged from the previous proposal.


                  Previous offer

                  Presented to union on Nov. 5:
                  Same as above, except:
                  • The MLE exception for taxpaying teams would have started at $2.5 million for a maximum of two years and been available to use only every other year.
                  • No "room" exception. Teams under the salary cap would only have that cap space available for free-agent signings.
                  • No sign-and-trade deals for taxpaying teams.
                  • Maximum annual raises of 5.5 percent for "Bird" players and 3.5 percent for others.
                  • The minimum payroll requirement in past CBAs was 75 percent of the cap number.
                  • The mutual opt-out in the 10-year CBA would come after 7 years.


                  "Reset" offer

                  To be presented if the union rejects the current offer:
                  • A 47 percent share of BRI for the players.
                  • A hard salary cap set $5 million above the average team salary.
                  • Rollbacks of individual player contracts "in proportion to system changes" to allow for spending on free agents.
                  • A MLE exception with a starting salary of $3 million and a maximum term of three seasons.
                  • Maximum contract lengths of four years for "Bird" free agents and three years for other players. Each team could give a five-year deal to one designated player.
                  • Maximum annual raises of 4.5 percent for "Bird" players and 3.5 percent for others.
                  Source: NBA.com


                  From the above it would appear the two issues I said yesterday (double tax and full MLE not available if it takes you in to the tax) leaves us with just one. Teams would have until October 15th to get under luxury tax via stretch provision - or I would assume trade as well.

                  I would like to know how the 6 month buffer on extend and trades work. If the trade deadline is at the end of February, that would mean the end of August would be the deadline. Or would it be 6 months before the start of the final season on the deal? *EDIT* See post 1527 for the 'loopholes' - this provision is not what it appears.
                  Last edited by mcHAPPY; Sun Nov 13, 2011, 03:12 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Players and agents misinformed on numerous issues

                    Despite Stern's threat that this was a take-it-or-leave-it situation, players could simply ignore the parameters he has set forth and give the league a deal that they claim could be done. But numerous agents who spoke with SI.com were frustrated by the lack of information coming from the union at such a crucial time, as they were attempting to educate their clients but often doing so with either incomplete or inaccurate information. There were no widespread updates on the proposal, the union's strategy or its stance beyond private conversations between members of its executive committee and player reps with their innumerable colleagues.

                    Thus, agents and players spent Friday and Saturday scrambling to piecemeal the details of the deal.


                    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz1daOFNPvi
                    So most of the players have no idea what is going on. Great. Yet they continue to bang the war drum. Very intelligent.

                    Stern also disputed a claim from some within the union that it had not received a written version of the owners' offer, thereby making it more difficult to properly educate its members.

                    "That would be a lie," Stern said. Then he paused, saying he would look up the e-mail to which a written summary was attached. "Nov. 11 at 1:42 p.m., from [NBA general counsel] Rick Buchanan to Billy Hunter," Stern said. "It was sent by electronic and overnight mail. So I doubt you'll hear that [there was no written version] from Billy or Derek."

                    So what does Stern expect, assuming the players are fully informed by the time they weigh the merits of the latest offer on Monday?

                    "Hopefully we'll have Dec. 15" as the season's new opening night, he said. "It's in the hands of the players and the unions."

                    http://www.nba.com/2011/news/feature...bor/index.html
                    The players really are bush league. Wow.

                    Hours after the N.B.A. delivered its final collective bargaining proposal to the players union, the rumors and the rhetoric began to flow.

                    The deal would let teams send players to the development league and cut their pay.

                    Teams that used certain salary cap exceptions would lose the right to re-sign their own players.

                    “Bird” rights would be jeopardized.

                    The middle class would be eliminated.

                    These and other concerns filled Twitter timelines on Friday, a day after labor talks concluded. They turned out to be unfounded, speculative or simply false.

                    The D-League is not mentioned anywhere in the seven-page proposal that was delivered to the union on Friday — a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.

                    Nor are there any measures that could curtail “Bird” rights. While some provisions might crimp the N.B.A.’s middle class, others could boost it.

                    In the absence of official documentation — neither the league nor the union released the proposal publicly — the rumors have prevailed.

                    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/sp...r=1&ref=sports
                    Hopefully the correct information is starting to reach the (empty?) space between player's ears.


                    NEW YORK — Players reps from all 30 NBA teams are arriving in town today, and tomorrow they’ll get debriefed on what is and what isn’t in the owners’ latest proposal.

                    Up until now, they’ve been getting fed plenty of bad information in the two days since the owners and players went their separate ways at the conclusion of Thursday night’s bargaining session.

                    Case in point: ESPN.com drew 5,000-plus comments on a story about how players could be sent down to the D-League and have their salary reduced to $75,000 during their first five seasons. A dealkiller, right?
                    Maybe it would be, except it is NOT in the owners’ proposal.


                    “It’s of grave concern to the league that there is an enormous amount of misinformation concerning our proposal, both on Twitter and in the more traditional media,” Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner, told the New York Times on Saturday night. “We believe that if the players are fully informed as to what is and is not in our proposal, they will agree that its terms are beneficial to them and represent a fair compromise.”

                    http://sheridanhoops.com/2011/11/13/...les/#more-1981
                    Last edited by mcHAPPY; Sun Nov 13, 2011, 08:55 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Stern addresses decertification

                      And Stern told reporters in a phone interview on Saturday that the crowds pushing for decertification are the ones that concern him most.

                      "By some combination of mendacity and greed, the agents who are looking out for themselves rather than their clients are trying to scuttle the deal," Stern reportedly said. "They're engaged in what appears to be an orchestrated Twitter campaign and a series of interviews that are designed to deny the economic realities of the proposal."

                      "No one talks about the rise in compensation under the deal, no one talks about the amount of money being spent. ... I just think that the players aren't getting the information, the true information from their agents, who are banding together, sort of the coalition of the greedy and the mendacious, to do whatever they can not to have fewer opportunities for the agents to make money."


                      Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz1daXbIT1S

                      The NBA in August filed a lawsuit with the NLRB, asserting not only that the lockout is legal but also that decertification of the union is not and would result in the possible voiding of existing player contracts. All of which has Stern concerned.

                      "Yes, I am worried," Stern said, "because they're talking up this thing called decertification which is not a winning strategy on the one hand. On the second hand, it'll take three months to teach them it's not a winning strategy, which would not augur well for the season.

                      "The agents misunderstand it and all it does is delay things. They themselves think that if the players decertify, then the league will change its offer. And that will not happen as a result of decertification. It's a losing strategy for them."


                      Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz1daXmDdpU

                      Obviously Stern is putting the NBA spin on this. Time will tell but I don't think decertification helps the players.



                      Weighing the pros and cons of decertifying the union, or turning to a disclaimer-of-interest in which the NBPA basically recuses itself from negotiations, would be the players' next big consideration.

                      Such a move, in theory, could provide some leverage if talks continued while the union dissolution played out in the courts. Then again, it could backfire, either failing in court or creating chaos that could cost the entire 2011-12 season -- and perhaps much more.

                      "This talk about decertification," Stern said, "would be one last violent effort by the agents to destroy the season, cause their clients to lose the money for this season and destroy $4 billion in guaranteed contracts that exist. Because if the union doesn't exist, the contracts aren't going to exist." The NBA already has filed a lawsuit arguing that point, which the NBPA has challenged.

                      http://www.nba.com/2011/news/feature...bor/index.html
                      Last edited by mcHAPPY; Sun Nov 13, 2011, 07:57 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Tim W. wrote: View Post
                        This is my big reason why I generally favour the owners. What the players want tends to be the complete opposite of what most fans want. At least the one's who aren't fans of the Lakers, Chicago, Heat, Celtics or Knicks. Either the NBA gets rid of every team that players wouldn't want to go to, or they make rules that restrict player movement enough to be able to give those teams a fighting chance to compete with the more favoured cities, er, teams.
                        The union's interpretation of when a team crosses the luxury-tax threshold -- before it uses the full mid-level exception or after -- is part of the dispute. But most of the displeasure stems from the roadblocks intended to keep free-spending teams out of the marketplace for free agents.

                        The NBPA believes that its member should have to right to earn the same money, via equal cap exceptions, wherever they choose to play. The league wants to direct free agents to franchises whose rosters are less stocked, in cities that might not be the most alluring. It contends that -- because the BRI split is guaranteed, a zero-sum game in which the players receive 50 percent (or whatever) as a group -- they will wind up with the same money, just paid more evenly across the league.

                        "It's the most important point for us on the competitive front," Stern said. "This is not going to be a league where, every year, L.A., Boston, Dallas, New York and potentially Brooklyn are going to be the competitors because they have the most money. That's what this negotiation is about on the system.

                        "We're going to be able to tell fans in Milwaukee or Indiana or Sacramento that because we have a system that compresses salaries -- that is to say, the same amount will be paid but it will be distributed more evenly over teams and will be accompanied by revenue-sharing -- it will be a better league because of it. More teams competing and, probably, generating more revenue in which the players will share."

                        Stern said the biggest misperception among players and some fans about the current offer is that it "would eliminate the middle class, which is of course false." He said the proposed exceptions allow for movement to all teams (assuming the big spenders willingly incur the tax and the free agents accept lower salaries).

                        http://www.nba.com/2011/news/feature...bor/index.html
                        That is another issue I have with players. They are not losing the opportunity to go to a certain market - they are losing the opportunity to go to that market at top dollar. Make a choice like everyone else.

                        Comment


                        • Loopholes of new agreement

                          The new agreement prohibits the extend-and-trade, but you are permitted to acquire a player with an expiring contract or an opt-out and then sign him to an extension after a six-month waiting period.

                          So, if a deal is reached, the Knicks could attempt to trade for Paul in December and technically be allowed to sign him to an extension by June, before he hits free agency.
                          This is not what I thought the Carmelo Anthony Rule or banning of extend and trade would entail.


                          Another loophole in the revised proposal that may benefit the Knicks later in the deal involves the midlevel exception. A team that goes into the free agency period under the luxury tax threshold may go over it to re-sign its own players and still use the full midlevel ($5 million). This is key for a team that may need one more critical piece for a title run.

                          In this exclusive case, similarly to NFL cap rules, the team would then have until Oct. 15 to get back under the tax threshold to be in compliance.
                          Source: Newsday


                          I'm starting to hope the players turn this deal down. I can see why some owners are as well.

                          Comment


                          • Player reps to vote on revised version of NBA latest offer

                            When reached on Saturday night, however, Hunter told SI.com that his intention was to have the player representatives vote on a revised version of the NBA's latest proposal before moving forward.

                            "We will vote on the NBA's proposal," Hunter wrote in a text message. "The proposal will be presented with some proposed amendments."

                            Despite Stern's threat that this was a take-it-or-leave-it situation, players could simply ignore the parameters he has set forth and give the league a deal that they claim could be done.


                            Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz1daoCYsbr
                            .

                            Comment


                            • Beck/NYT: Potential issues and misconceptions for union

                              Improvements for players:

                              $3 million for three seasons, and available every year. The league had been proposing a $2.5 million exception for two seasons, and available every other year.

                              Misconceptions or more concessions for players:

                              To partly compensate, the league last week created a new exception, worth $2.5 million, for up to two seasons, for teams that are just below the cap. In the past, teams with cap room were not permitted to use any exceptions, even after they surpassed the cap in a given off-season.
                              The league also proposed raising the minimum team salary to 90 percent of the salary cap by the 2013-14 season, which should increase spending by the more frugal franchises.
                              12 percent reduction in rookie and minimum-scale contracts, cutting them to 2007-8 levels.

                              That provision was not listed in the prior proposal, which was sent to the union Nov. 6.
                              Big issue, I think.

                              may have a minimal effect. Since 2005, only four players have been acquired by luxury-tax-paying teams through sign-and-trade deals. Those teams used the full midlevel exception only nine times in that period.
                              I don't think this is any different that the cap holds free agents had on teams in the past. For example, for the Raptors to execute the Turkoglu trade, they had to renounce free agents at that time essentially meaning the Raptors lost the Bird Rights to re-sign the players.

                              As for the D-League, the N.B.A. does want to grant teams the right to send any player with up to five years experience to its minor league. However, that provision is not contained in the proposal that is now up for union approval. Rather, it is one of 30 to 40 secondary items that have yet to be negotiated. Those items are typically discussed after the main framework of a deal is approved.
                              Two way contracts were supposedly something agents have suggested in the past. It would suck for the 14-15th players on the roster but it would create more money for players 1-13. It would also allow development of a 'farm system' similar to MLB and the NHL.


                              Source: Howard Beck, NYTimes.com

                              Comment


                              • Etan Thomas (bright guy, very thoughtful in general) also doesn't get it. This is why I'm skeptical that the players will come to their senses.

                                http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/s...r-negotiations

                                1. To his credit, David Stern can spin information with the best of them. That being said, I have not met one player who, after fully understanding the particulars of the NBA's proposal, concluded that this is an acceptable deal. So my question is, what will it take for the NBA CEOs to understand that they are not going to be able to manipulate the players through the media?
                                What about agents manipulating players without requiring the media? Owners aren't manipulating, they're stating and explaining their position. Why won't the players do the same? Because it's hard to rationalize turning down millions of dollars just for the sake of being able to choose where you live and work. Most of us regular folk don't have that luxury.
                                2. The NBA CEOs know that their proposed system functions as a hard cap, because no team will be willing to pay that strict a penalty for going over the luxury tax. Do they think the players can't see that?
                                No, they're not trying to put one past you, Etan. It's right there in black and white. It's the intent of the system change.
                                3. Do the NBA CEOs think the union can't see that this "new revision" is worse than the proposal they gave us last week, even though the "clock has stopped" on their ultimatum?
                                The new version IS better than the last one they presented you. Have you read it? Sounds like most of you haven't yet, and are relying on hearsay instead. It's pretty ridiculous when half your fans know more about the proposal than the players, and doesn't make you or your union look very professional.
                                4. Are the NBA CEOs convince the union can't figure out that the way in which they constructed and defined the mid-level exception, no team will ever use it?
                                Don't buy that for a second, but even if true, again -- that's why it's been designed that way. It's an "exception"; to be used in exceptional circumstances.
                                5. Did the NBA CEOs believe with Michael Jordan to the negotiating table we were going to be intimidated or awed to the point that this awful deal would start to look more attractive to us?
                                Not really important in any way. You players are way too emotional about a business negotiation.
                                6. David Stern obviously issued his "terrible deal now or even worse deal" later ultimatum because he wanted to scare the players into meeting his every demand. Did he really expect that his threat would cause the union to come running with apologies for being bad employees and beg him to let us go back to work?
                                I think he hoped so. But I think he also realizes you all are getting bad advice from your agents. Better question: do you really expect that your threats of decertification will cause the owners to come running back to you?
                                7. When the union was given the two options of a horrible deal now or an even worse deal later, why are people really surprised that we chose neither?
                                Not surprised, give the past couple of months. Disappointed you don't see the forest for the trees? Yes.
                                8. During recent negotiations, reporters continuously tweeted and wrote articles citing "anonymous sources" saying that we were closer to a deal then we actually were, or that progress was being made. Why do reporters keep giving false hope to fans?
                                If anything, the reporters are helping you by spreading the inaccuracies about the current proposal. Careful what you wish for. You guys seem to think you enjoy some swing with fans; check the polls - majority want you to accept the deal.
                                9. During the 1998 lockout, David Robinson made the statement after one of their failed negotiation sessions, "They don't negotiate. They tell you how it will be, and they don't want to listen to the players." Isn't it interesting how history repeats itself?
                                Yep. Isn't it interesting how you seem focused on facilitating it repeating?
                                10. When someone buys a fast-food franchise, they don't just get keys and a congratulations card. They receive instructions on how to successfully operate the business. Instead of the NBA CEOs attempting to create rules to save them from from themselves , wouldn't the NBA be better off with a training session by David Stern, teaching each NBA CEO how to successfully run his business and avoid the pitfalls of CEOs past?
                                Are you really that naive? Wall Street needs rules to avoid both idiocy and intentional system cheating. We saw where not having adequate controls got us in that scenario. Why do you think NBA owners would be any different? Do you try to get away with hand-checks and elbow digs when the ref isn't looking, even though you know it's "against the rules"? That's what I thought.
                                11. Why wouldn't the NBA consider a rollback on the salaries of the presidents and general managers who mismanaged their teams and were the ones ultimately responsible for their financial problems?
                                Ha ha! 1. Because they own the league. 2. Because they're also bearing all the risk. Player bear none. You get paid regardless of whether the team is making/losing money.
                                12. Political sportswriter Dave Zirin asked me if I thought the concession workers, parking lot attendants, janitors, food vendors, secretaries, scouts, trainers, mascots, dance teams and every other employee affected by this lockout would turn their anger on both sides and follow the lead of other protestors around the country. What if they start "Occupy the NBA?"
                                You actually think anyone cares that much? This is part of the problem. EGO.
                                13. If Occupy the NBA were to happen, would the occupiers see the NBA CEOs as the 1 percent who want to impose their corporate greed, power and will on their employees?
                                Yes. But see answer to next question. Both sides are greedy and petty, at the expense of fans and the ancillary employees that you mention above.
                                14. A few friends of mine told me that although they appreciated my support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would never be considered as part of the 99 percent (they made the distinction that I was more like the 5 percent). My question is, if an Occupy the NBA were to happen, would the players be lumped in with the 1 percent because of million-dollar salaries?
                                Yes. You ARE among the richest Americans, you ARE among the top percent. Don't you get why this makes it SO hard to have any sympathy with your cause?
                                15. While the issues raised by the Wall Street occupiers differ from the issues of this lockout, aren't there obvious parallels in power imbalance?
                                Parallels, maybe, but the first part of your sentence is more important. Very different issues. It's borderline insulting to people who really are affected by the gap between rich and poor that you even make this parallel. Have you players lost all sense of scale?
                                16. Who is in the same position of power as the 1 percent ? Who wants a bailout for their own mismanagement decisions? Who is more closely aligned with the corporate interests from which the Wall Street occupiers are looking to reclaim the country?
                                Yadda yadda. Owners are rich, greedy people who want it all. Players? Not much difference.
                                17. More than 46 million people are living below the poverty line, unemployment is at 9 percent, and those who are employed are in constant fear of losing their jobs. Many people are unable to make mortgage payments or buy their kids clothes, much less think of college tuition. And rumors are spreading that unless a deal is reached this week, David Stern will cancel games through Christmas, even as some fans don't know how they will celebrate Christmas. With that economic reality, what if we simply lose the fans altogether?
                                What are you saying here? Sign the deal and that problem goes away.
                                18. Do the NBA CEOs understand that if the fan base shrinks that could decrease game attendance, lower TV ratings, lower overall interest and reduce the overall value of each franchise?
                                Oh, I think they understand that very well. Do you? And who stands to lose more in that scenario? Contraction = fewer jobs for players. Lower revenues = lower contract values. Seems like you guys should be asking yourselves the same question.
                                19. Could the outrage of the fans push the negotiations along more effectively than any labor committee, union, board of governors or mediator?
                                Not so far. And if it did, I think you might be surprised where that outrage is directed.
                                20. Why does race always have to be injected into this power struggle? Do people understand that the only color the 1 percent care about is green? They have a lot of it, they want a lot more of it, and they will step on anyone's (black, white, brown, etc.) neck to get it.
                                Excuse me? Who brought race into this? As I remember it, it was your union's lawyer. Of course this is all about "green", on both sides. We get that. It's why we don't sympathize much with the players. You guys seem to want max salaries and freedom to play wherever you want. As mentioned above, regular folk don't get that. As you seem to understand yourself, a lot of us are struggling just to find a job, let alone one that pays us at the highest rate of anyone in the world doing the same job.
                                21. During the lockout of 1998, Michael Jordan famously said to Wizards CEO Abe Pollin "If you can't make a profit, you should sell your team." That was then and this is now. Why do people have difficulty understanding that he is no longer a player but currently joined at the hip with the rest of the CEOs of the NBA, who -- like Bank of America, Wall Street and the rest of the 1 percent -- not only want but expect a bailout for their own actions?
                                If owners took that advice, you all would have fewer places to play. Don't you get that it's not all on "bad management" but also on the system?
                                22. During the NFL's lockout, Troy Polamalu said, "I think what the players are fighting for is something bigger. A lot of people think it's millionaires versus billionaires and that's the huge argument. The fact is, it's people fighting against big business. The big business argument is, 'I got the money and I got the power, therefore, I can tell you what to do.' That's life everywhere. I think this is a time when the football players are standing up saying, 'No, no, no, the people have the power.'" Isn't it interesting how the common theme here is power and greed?
                                Again, on both sides. If you told me I could make $500,000 a year to do what I love to do, with full benefits and numerous other perks, and that money would be guaranteed for the next 5 years, I could retire at the end of that time and never work a day in my life again. I wouldn't bitch and complain that I wasn't making $750,000, or that I couldn't move to Florida for the same money. When you're making millions of dollars to play a kid's game, you don't get to play the "we're standing up to The Man" card.
                                23. If your boss came to you and said, "Listen, I know we are coming off of record overall profits as far as overall revenue and the most lucrative year in history but we have made some individual decisions that we are not happy with and we need you to take massive pay cuts. We need you to agree to construct the rules so that we can no longer make those mistakes, and we want you to make it easier for us to get rid of you if we choose." What would your reaction be? Would you say "Some money is better than no money," or would you gather the rest of your fellow employees and stand up for yourselves?
                                My reaction would be "Great. We know you guys can't control yourselves. but we also get that your success means more success for us. So if you think these new rules will help you control yourselves, and will still keep us atop the list of all pro team athletes in terms of salary and benefits while making the overall league healthier for all teams, then we can handle that."
                                Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.

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