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

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  • The Jazz need changes

    In fact, one source with intimate knowledge of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' inner workings speculated that small-market-related economic hardships could force Jazz ownership to place a "For Sale" sign on the franchise. The source told the Deseret News that the Jazz were expected to report losses in the $17 million range for the 2010-11 season.

    "If I was a betting man," the source said, "my guess is that the Millers will sell the team within the next five years, unless this CBA changes the formula so that the team can make some money."

    Others say the Millers will never sell the Jazz.

    The late Larry H. Miller viewed the Jazz as a "community gift" to Utah. The self-made entrepreneur once put it like this, "Selling the Jazz would be like selling Canyonlands."

    From his vantage point, RSL owner and pro sports mogul Dave Checketts can't envision the Miller family selling the Jazz. He doesn't view their commitment as conditional.

    "I think the Jazz have a tremendous, tremendous fan following. I think teams like that will always exist in the markets they're in," said Checketts, whose resume includes time spent as the Jazz's president and general manager.

    "I don't think the Jazz are an endangered species."


    • What we've got here is failure to communicate.You see, some men you just can't reach.

      Years from now, people will study how the NBA’s owners and players allowed their labor dispute to descend into catastrophe.

      Why did this tale of brinksmanship go so horribly wrong?

      There are critical lessons to be learned — for labor unions, for Fortune 500 corporations, even for superpower governments.

      And they might determine that this was, above all else, a failure to communicate.

      The crucial moment occurred as the clock approached midnight on Nov. 10. After another marathon negotiating session, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the owners had put an offer on the table. Players either could accept it or instead face a much worse deal.

      Players viewed that statement as an ultimatum.

      Minutes after Stern completed his press conference, Magic player representative Chris Duhon told me, “This ultimatum is just going to make most players angry and go the distance.”

      That’s exactly what happened.

      The players rejected the deal. Their elected leaders decided to dissolve their own union and take their battle to the court system.

      What intrigues me is how Stern, and the owners he works for, could’ve made such a drastic miscalculation (assuming, of course, that they wanted a deal in the first place).

      They should have known that the union never would’ve accepted an offer under that level of public duress.

      If the union had agreed to the deal, the union’s leaders would’ve looked like weaklings.

      And in the macho world of pro sports, there’s one thing a group of 20- to 40-year-old men never will permit. They’ll never allow themselves to look like they’ve been bullied into submission. To them, that’s a punishment worse than losing millions of dollars in lost paychecks.

      How could Stern have not known that?

      Maybe he indeed was co-opted by that group of hawkish owners we keep hearing about. Maybe they’re the ones who carried the debate in the league’s closed-door meetings.

      Or maybe Stern has been doing this for so long, and been so revered, that he simply has lost touch.

      But he’s not the only one to blame.

      There are indications that the players didn’t communicate their stance well enough to Stern and the owners. If we’re to believe some of the reports that have relied on anonymous sources, people within the league office truly could not believe that the players would not accept the deal that was on the table.

      It might take years, and for bitter emotions to clear, for the truth to come to light.

      Follow Josh Robbins on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins and e-mail him at Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at

      Looking at it from this perspective, maybe the owners truly did not want a deal after all. I doubt it but I do not rule it out as a possibility.

      Regardless, in time, I believe the players truly will regret not taking the proposal.

      *all opinion there*


      • I don't know Matt. When the ultimatum was made there were reports that the hardliners we're angry that Stern made the 50/50 offer and were scared the player might accept it. I think this was more a case of the big markets not wanting to hide the money tree from the light of day while the small markets wanting to dominate and then the Owners in the middle being divided based on what they felt was best for them and the league.

        I really think the players would have got a vote IF the guys wanting to accept the deal had a strong leader. They didn't and were drowned out by the hot heads like Garnett, Wade and Pierce. I'm really interested on where Battier and Etan Thomas stood on the vote because they're both strong, intelligent individuals. I know Etan was outspoken(pro union stance) in the beginning back in May but he simmered down after that.


        • @Matt's post content

          I dont know about that reasoning. After about 20 hours of talking Stern had to stake out a firmer position other than "Well we have offered another deal and will wait for an answer from the PA". It's not like Stern had not mentioned the "threat" before (47/50) if talks broke down. He had obviously come to the conclusion that Hunter/Fisher were still not prepared to take the deal to a vote and he wanted to let the rest of the players (those in favour of playing or on the fence) know that it was time to take a vote. As it turns out a full vote was not taken. This will come to haunt Hunter et al in about a month.

          ps...I read where the players have withdrawn the suit filed in Cali and may resubmit (??). No other details yet. Yahoo reporting.
          Last edited by Bendit; Mon Nov 21, 2011, 08:05 PM.


          • "While the paycheck I get from the 76ers isn't the main source of income for me, seeing the players complain about the millions they want is very upsetting to someone making $7.15 (an hour)," Chernow said.

            CNBC with an article on how the lockout is affecting those associated with the league who are not a player, coach, front office executive, or owner.


            • Players drop Cali suit and combine with Minnesota... so what does it mean?

              The plaintiffs in Carmelo Anthony et al v. the NBA et al withdrew their antitrust complaint against the league Monday in Northern California's U.S. District Court and will join up with the other players lawsuit filed last week in Minnesota.

              "The point is to expedite this and move it along. … If we had not done this, the courts would have," players attorney David Boies said
              "We assume that Mr. Boies was not happy with either the reassignment of the case from Oakland to San Francisco or the fact that the new judge scheduled the first conference for March 2012," Rick Buchanan, NBA executive vice president and general counsel said in a statement.

              "This is consistent with Mr. Boies' inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims."
              Boies denied he was forum shopping, a legal term for searching for a court that might rule in favor of the plaintiff.

              "Talking it through … we thought things would move faster in Minnesota," he said. "The docket is less congested there."

              Boies said he would have no problem initiating a phone call with league executives but he doesn't believe they are willing to discuss the lawsuit or a settlement.

              "They've made pretty clear they have no interest in talking to us. … I thought this was a case we ought to try and resolve," Boies said.

              "That's a waste of time to make a telephone call. If we thought there were any possibility of people being reasonable on the other side and being open to negotiating this lawsuit, ending the boycott and start playing games, we would pursue that."

              And yet he's not surprised by the league's virtual silence since the players rejected the league's last offer last Monday and dissolved the union.
              "It takes a while for a large institution to change course," Boies said. "One of the good things about lawsuits: I know I'm going to hear from them in about three weeks," meaning the 21 days the league has to respond to the filing.

              That means the NBA must respond to the Minnesota complaint by Dec. 5. Boies said he won't be surprised if there is a court date soon after that.

              Re-iterating what he said last week, Boies doesn't want antitrust litigation to play out, a process that could take years to resolve. He prefers the sides reach a settlement on the lawsuit, which potentially could lead to a new collective bargaining agreement and the start of the 2011-12 season.

              Negotiating a new CBA while settling a lawsuit is a process Toledo law professor and sports law expert Geoffrey Rapp termed "shadow bargaining."
              However, it is not known if the NBA is willing to bargain like that. That's a problem the NFL and its players faced for a brief period during their lockout this year. The NFL didn't want to meet with players if there were no union, and players didn't want to meet with the league unless they were going to settle the antitrust lawsuit.

              Complicating this legal clash is the NBA's lawsuit against the players filed in August in New York that argues the lockout is legal and exempt from antitrust lawsuits.

              Boies did not seem worried about that complaint, only suggesting the league could move to have the lawsuit just filed in Minnesota transferred to New York. But he maintained plaintiffs have a right to choose their forum.

              "Eventually, people come to the realization that litigation is not the best way to resolve most disputes," Boies said. "Most disputes ought to be settled. Trying a lawsuit is fun to lawyers. It's our form of competition. But it's not good for the system. It's generally not good for client, if there's an alternative.

              "This was the last resort for players."
              The bottom line: the sides need to meet to save the season and soon — if they want to salvage Christmas games.

              Source: USA Today

              When I read Boies quotes what I am hearing in my head is: "I hope the NBA doesn't call anytime soon because I make $1225 per hour."

              It also seems pretty clear reading this the suits are nothing more than a negotiating tactic that is doomed to fail. Why? Because if it is a negotiating tactic, my understanding is, the courts will throw out of antitrust courts and it will move back to labour law.

              Clearly the NBA will respond for December 5th when the players will have lost another pay cheque. They will also wait for an answer on their own legal case bolded above.

              With another couple missed pay cheques and/or a favourable ruling for the league, the players really will be by the balls and wishing they had accepted.


              • Kate Fagan: Boies confirms there has been zero contact between the NBA and the players since last week when union dissolved & filed lawsuits. #nohurry Twitter
                Does anyone see the bead of sweat rolling down many a player's face? I don't think they are getting the results they intended. They called the owners bluff. Now the owners have gone all in with a confident smirk.


                • The next NBA owners and players negotiations will likely be because a judge ordered them, a source close to the labor dispute told ProBasketballTalk.

                  Those talks — and maybe a settlement out of them — would happen in the coming weeks, in time to have a partial NBA season. And when those talks start there will be significant pressure on both sides to reach an agreement, more than there has been at any point up to now.
                  Over the weekend, we had passed along a report that there had been some recent “back channel” negotiations going on between the league and the players association.

                  That talk is “nothing significant” PBT was told.

                  Instead the battle remains on the antitrust legal front. The players’ attorneys are pushing for summary judgment (not an injunction, as the NFL tried and failed to get). Still, summary judgment hearings would not happen until the spring (April or May), which means by then the 2011-12 NBA season would be lost.

                  Hope of a partial season springs from the fact in the next few weeks we can expect a judge to order more mediated negotiations between the two sides, PBT was told. Mandated mediation is commonly part of anti-trust lawsuits, essentially a chance for the judge to make sure the two sides really want to go down this path. To give the sides one more chance to settle their differences without a judge involved. (It is possible one side picks up the phone and calls the other to ask for a negotiating session, but that is the less likely scenario. The owners have said they wouldn’t do that and players attorney Boies said he would not because the league is not receptive.)

                  A judge likely will order mediated negotiations by the middle of December if not before, according to the source. Talks would start soon after. This would be similar to the talks when federal mediator George Cohen sat down with the sides last month.
                  In addition, the threat of summary judgment — which would certainly be a huge loss for whichever side did not convince the judge of its case — is another motivation for both sides to figure this out.

                  The challenge is that people from both the owners and players have suggested they will come into the next negotiations with the last offer they made off the table. Stern has threatened a “reset” offer of 47 percent of BRI for the players and a “flex cap” that is really a hard cap. The players have suggested in kind their last offer of a 50/50 BRI split with more system issues leaning in their favor is something the owners may never see again.

                  Source: ProBasketBall Talk,


                  • Boies said that if there had been time to talk to all the players and lawyers initially, only one lawsuit would have been filed in the first place.

                    "It was a desire to get things moving. It was not a competition," he said of the two suits. "This was not anything in which people were going different directions."

                    The courts would have consolidated the suits anyway, so doing it now saves time. And with the first month and a half of the season already canceled, time is of the essence.

                    Boies repeated that the players' side would prefer to reach a settlement instead of taking the litigation to its conclusion. But there was no indication that either side would be contacting the other anytime soon.

                    "In the face of somebody saying, 'I don't want to talk to you. We've got an offer -- take it or leave it. This is an ultimatum. We're going to make no more proposals,' and somebody saying, 'This is baseless; it ought to go away," Boies said, "that's a waste of time to make a telephone call."


                    • Boies repeated that the players' side would prefer to reach a settlement instead of taking the litigation to its conclusion.
                      Players are willing go back to the Negotiating table now that they've reloaded on 'leverage'. haha

                      Whether its real or imagined, I really hope it works. I want some Raptors!


                      • joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
                        Players are willing go back to the Negotiating table now that they've reloaded on 'leverage'. haha

                        Whether its real or imagined, I really hope it works. I want some Raptors!
                        I do not think the lawsuit has done anything for the players. If anything the lawsuit has harmed them as they will miss another pay cheque on Dec. 1st and again on Dec. 15th. That is three lost cheques. Also, I believe the players thought the owners would come calling soon after and obviously that has not happened. I think the owners have gone all in and are waiting for the players to fold. Even if an early judgement goes the players way, what are they going to get really? Full MLE to teams under the tax before its use but over after and sign and trades permitted for luxury tax teams when the league has taken Birds Rights away from players (5th year and 6.5% raises) in sign and trades anyways - regardless of tax status.

                        I definitely agree with the bolded section though.


                        • Chris Sheridan: Speaking afterward, Boise conceded that picking up the phone first wouldn't necessarily be the worst idea. Perhaps by Wednesday, he said. Twitter
                          I'll certainly have a little more respect for the guy if he does. Although, I'd be calling all day at $1225 per hour. Even a one minute phone call with Stern's secretary - or administrative assistant - would be $20.41.


                          • Is it just me or is Boise more flippant than Flipper?


                            • Complicating this legal clash is the NBA's lawsuit against the players filed in August in New York that argues the lockout is legal and exempt from antitrust lawsuits.

                              Boies did not seem worried about that complaint, only suggesting the league could move to have the lawsuit just filed in Minnesota transferred to New York. But he maintained plaintiffs have a right to choose their forum.
                              There seems to be some confusion with/in the above.

                              Firstly, the NBA purposefully filed that lawsuit in NY because a) NY's appellate court is historically friendly to the league viewpoints b) it was done in anticipation of the current eventuality of future suits being brought by the PA elsewhere. The logic as I understand it: secondary suits are moved to where the primary one was filed in order to combine hearings in the same dispute in the same location.

                              Boies has to know this and seems to come across like he wants settlement to occur.

                              I dont understand the part where he says that the league can move their suit from Minn to NY (I think that was supposed to be reversed). And why would the league do that?


                              • Bendit wrote: View Post
                                I dont understand the part where he says that the league can move their suit from Minn to NY (I think that was supposed to be reversed). And why would the league do that?
                                Maybe they hope they'll get some Timberwolves fans on the bench. You've gotta know that the better deal the owners get, the better it is for teams like the Timberwolves.


                                I just discovered the PLAYERS are moving their suit from California to Minnesota, so my comment doesn't work. I guess they better hope there are no Timberwolves fans on the bench, though.
                                Last edited by Tim W.; Tue Nov 22, 2011, 02:43 AM.
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