UPDATE NBA LOCKOUT: “Let’s Play Ball” [Tentative Deal Reached]

Say It Ain’t So!!! It has been 149 days since the players & 0wners have been in disagreement over their Collective Bargaining Agreement. As of early this morning, the players & owners have come to a TENTATIVE AGREEMENT that MAY END the NBA LOCKOUT. Now I am hoping that it does end the LOCKOUT. It is tentative but it is looking like it is a very strong possibility that the needed approvals will pass & the season will commence on December 25, 2011. GO LAKERS!!! <<< no HEATERS now LOL

LA Times reports It took 149 days and countless hours of hand-wringing, but the NBA lockout finally appears to be over. Representatives for owners and players pushed back from the negotiating table after agreeing on the framework of a deal early Saturday morning in New York, creating the foundation for a 66th NBA season.

Prospects of an agreement were rocky as recently as last week when the players dissolved their union, but the 2011-12 season was scheduled to start Christmas Day, NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals … but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin on Dec. 25,” Stern said at a news conference at about 3:30 a.m. ET Saturday.

There were plans for a 66-game regular season that would last until the final week of April, about a week longer than usual. The NBA Finals could potentially end in late June. A majority of the NBA’s 450 players will have to agree on the new collective-bargaining agreement in a vote, as will a majority of the league’s 29 owners. A 30th team, New Orleans, is owned by the NBA and will vote in favor of ratification. “We’re confident that once we present it [to players], that they will support it,” Billy Hunter, executive director of the disbanded players’ union, said after emerging from the 15-hour negotiating session.

Players and owners are expected to take at least another week to agree on smaller issues such as draft eligibility age and disciplinary items that include drug testing. The NBA had canceled games through Dec. 15, but the Lakers were still scheduled to play the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 25 at Staples Center. Training camp will open Dec. 9, the same day free agency begins, Stern said.

“We’re on an incredibly tight schedule as you might imagine between now and opening on Christmas,” said Adam Silver, deputy commissioner of the NBA. This week showed a surprising turnaround from last week, which started with the players’ union disbanding and ended with players filing antitrust lawsuits against the NBA, claiming the league was unfairly hindering their earning potential. Players are expected to quickly retract their litigation and then reassemble as a union for the ratifying vote. They certainly seemed excited on Twitter.

“LOCKOUT OVER …. About time,” Clippers guard Eric Gordon said. Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said he felt like waking up some of his relatives, putting on a Thunder hat and crying. Indiana forward Danny Granger was more reserved: “I’m pretty sure the [players'] vote will happen either [Saturday] or Sunday … let’s all pray this turns out well.”

Until this weekend, players and owners couldn’t close the gap in key areas such as luxury taxes for free-spending teams and salaries for mid-level free agents. For the big-ticket item of basketball revenue, the sides reportedly agreed on a sliding scale in which players would annually receive 49% to 51% of revenue. They received 57% last season.

There is bad news for teams that like to spend: They will be hit with more severe luxury taxes in the proposed collective-bargaining agreement. “I think it will largely prevent the high-spending teams from competing in the free-agency market in the way they’ve been able to in the past,” Silver said. “The luxury tax is harsher than it was in the past deal and we hope it’s effective.”

Silver did not specify the exact new workings of the luxury tax. The Lakers had the league’s highest payroll last season, doling out $91 million in player salaries and another $21 million in luxury-tax penalties. Stern looked like he finally ended one of his darkest off-seasons as commissioner. “We want to play basketball,” he said.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan Bresnahan reported from Los Angeles.

UPDATE NBA Lockout: Players Are Taking The League To Court

Well, first of all sorry BRON BRON looks like you won’t be getting a RING this year!!! SMH will the Owners budge? Will the Players give in? Could it be that the 2011-2012 NBA season will not commence on 12/15/11…is there any hope?

NBA.com reports —

PROPOSAL REJECTED, ANTITRUST ACTION TO BE FILED

– 2:19 p.m.: In the words of union executive director Billy Hunter, the “collective bargaining process has completely broken down” and the players have refused the league’s latest proposal. They have already begun the process to disband union. But they have not decided to decertify, there is a difference.

The players are filing a disclaimer of interest, an antitrust action against the league within the next two days. In basic terms, they are taking the league to court.

This decision puts the 2011-12 season in jeopardy and obliterates any hopes of the 72-game season that would have begun on Dec. 15 which was in the proposal the players rejected.

Hunter says players were not prepared to accept NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s ultimatum, saying they thought it was “extremely unfair.”

MEETINGS OVER, PRESSER IN MINUTES ON NBA TV AND NBA.COM

– 1:47 p.m.: Meetings over!

Brace yourselves folks and tune into NBA TV and live here at NBA.com to see where things stand after the player reps’ review of the current proposal from the league.

… NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS

– 1:37 p.m: We thought things were wrapping up in New York when we saw some tweets suggesting that the end of the meeting might be at hand.

But Asch informed us it was a false alarm. Someone mistook a break in the action for the end of the meeting. Oh well, back to what you were doing folks.

As soon as the meeting wraps, though, you need to be here. As my main man John Schuhmann tweeted earlier, if there’s a press conference it will be on NBA TVand right here on NBA.com.

STERN: NO TWEAKS

– 12:09 p.m.: Well, so much for adding a few notes and sending that proposal back to the owners for a few revisions.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league was done “negotiating” last week and he meant it. More from Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press:

“I want to answer this diplomatically. The next time we meet to discuss anything, we’ll be discussing the 47 percent proposal. This is it …  we’ve been negotiating this for 2½ years. The owners authorized a revised proposal, and they said if it’s not acceptable and they want to keep negotiating, we present them with a 47 percent, flex cap proposal. They know it.”

This was in response to Mahoney’s question Saturday night asking whether or not the league would accept any tweaks for further negotiations.

That, my friends, is what the good folks at Merriam-Wesbter call an ultimatum!

AGENT(S) STRIKE BACK

– 11:29 a.m.: You had to know a weekend of direct hits aimed at agents representing NBA players would be met with some sort of rebuttal from said agents.

Well, Mark Bartelstein countered, courtesy of Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:, with a straight right of his own:

“If the players are going to make the concessions to address over $300 million a year in a shift in revenue from the players to the owners, the one thing the players should get back is flexibility, freedom, freedom of choice and a more vibrant and free-market system, because it’s a zero-sum game,” Bartelstein said. “Instead, they’re ratcheting down the system in the name of competitive balance, and that’s completely disingenuous.

“A negotiation is supposed to be about making trades,” Bartelstein said. “The biggest part of any negotiation is the dollars. That’s the biggest part of this negotiation. The players are giving the owners the dollars. If the owners are concerned about competitive balance, it can absolutely be handled through revenue sharing. And the myth they’re putting out there that they can’t share losses, there’s no truth to that argument whatsoever. Revenue sharing has nothing to do with sharing profits and losses. It’s about making sure low-revenue teams can have more revenue so they can be more competitive and you can have a better product. That should be done through revenue sharing, not through getting concessions from the players.”

These are scraps we’d rather were not a part of this negotiation, but this is where we are!

SCOLA ROCKS THE VOTE

– 10:37 a.m.: Whatever the player reps decide today, there is no mistaking Luis Scola‘s position on the lockout talks. The Rockets’ big man wants the latest proposal put to a vote of the entire union.

He said as much on Twitter this morning:

At this point I believe that all the players should vote. not only the 30 reps.

Hard to disagree with him at this point. If nothing else, hearing from the entire union (rank and file, middle class and stars alike) would give us all a much better measure of where they stand on this latest proposal.

PLAYERS ARRIVE

– 9:46 a.m.: In addition to the player reps and executive board members in attendance at the meeting in New York today, our very own Steve Aschburner is on the scene with camera (phone) in hand. FULL STORY

UPDATE NBA LOCKOUT: NBA Players Reject Owners’ Offer

Looks like we won’t even get the NBA season as a CHRISTMAS GIFT!!! I get the difference of 1% is a lot, but can we come to an agreement. The NBA has already cancelled games through November 30, 2011, and from what I am reading it looks like it will be cancelled throughout December as well. The Owners have given the Players an ultimatum to accept the TERMS as is by EOD on Wednesday, November 9, 2011; or else they would be possibly take chances on getting a WEAKER DEAL. Now call me NAIVE but you don’t give people an ultimatum & on top threaten to give them an even shittier deal. SMFH!!!

LA Times reports — After a meeting with team representatives, the NBA players’ association on Tuesday rejected the league’s latest contract offer.

After a 4 ½-hour meeting with 43 players and 29 of the 30 union representatives from NBA teams, players union President Derek Fisher and union Executive Director Billy Hunter said they had been given clear orders.

“Right now, the current offer that’s on the table from the NBA is not one that we can accept,” Fisher said in a news conference in New York.

Fisher and Hunter said they also were ordered to continue negotiating with NBA owners. Hunter said he would reach out to NBA Commissioner David Stern Tuesday night or Wednesday to see if they can set up a meeting.

Stern had given the players an ultimatum to accept the owners’ latest contract proposal by the close of business Wednesday or risk getting a weaker deal.

Fisher said they want to continue negotiating over the proposed split of basketball-related income. The players are seeking about 51% of the BRI, while Stern has offered about a 50% split.

However, Hunter said there are several other key issues to be resolved, including sign-and-trade restrictions by teams and the luxury tax penalty teams would pay for signing players.

“Without those improvements in the system, we don’t see a way of getting a deal done between now and the end of business tomorrow evening,” Fisher said.

Hunter said he’d heard through the “underground” that the NBA is considering canceling games through Christmas if no deal is reached by Wednesday. The NBA has already canceled games through November 30.

Hunter also said there was “very little discussion” Tuesday about possible union decertification.

Fisher said they all want to get a deal done so they can end the NBA lockout.

“But not under any circumstances will [we] negotiate from a position of weakness and being given ultimatums and demanded that we have to accept a particular deal,” Fisher said.

We think that there’s a great offer on the table and what we told the players is it’s getting late, the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal because given what’s going on in our business and our industry, it’ll get worse from there. -David Stern

Will We Have a Basketball Season? NBA Lockout: Steps To Make A Deal

My thought, is just agree on the damn 50/50 split in basketball related income. More money is being lost, with cancelled games because the two parties CANNOT come to an agreement. It seems that the OWNERS are more unified than the PLAYERS themselves (a lot of sidebar conversations, going on). It has come down to greed, but what is more upsetting is all of the people that are out of jobs (outside of the NBA players) whom are suffering from this NBA LOCKOUT. So far all games for November have been cancelled.

1. Stop the in-fighting. I’m not in a position to assess the accuracy regarding the report from Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock that says NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher made a side deal with NBA Commissioner David Stern to accept a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. Nor am I going to try parsing the statements made from Fisher, players union executive director Billy Hunter and Stern. But the mere fact that these stories emerged indicates there’s a split within the players union.

Peep these tweets from various NBA players, about the lockout & how the 66th NBA season still remains at a standstill. TWEET TWEET

Fisher acknowledged to me weeks ago that it’s harder to keep the players union more unified than the owners since he can’t levy fans and has more constituents in players and agents to please. But the  union’s inability at least to make it appear they are on the same page hurts their cause for a CBA in their favor because the owners know more and more they can cause the union to crack even more.

2. Both sides need to be willing to compromise on basketball-related income. As the New York Times’ Howard Beck recently noted, both sides are actually near a deal, but remain $100 million apart mostly because of their disagreement on how to split $4 billion in revenue. The players union made concessions starting from 57% to 53% to 52.5%, all the way to 52%, and Hunter refused to lower that number in Friday’s meeting. Meanwhile, the owners have offered a 50-50 split three separate times, but the players union hasn’t budged. Each BRI percentage point, as Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick notes, is worth $40 million for each season. Considering the both sides stand combine to lose about $800 million due to canceled games through November, it’s simply illogical neither side is going to budge.

3. Iron out a few system issues.  That proved to be the union’s strategy last week when it devoted two days of avoiding talk about how to split up BRI. Amick reported both sides agreed on player contract length (shortened six to five years) and an amnesty clause (each team can waive one player under contract for CBA’s duration). But there’s still some unresolved issues. The league is reportedly proposing annual increases of 5.5% for Bird players and 3.5% for non-Bird players, while the NBAPA wants increases of 7.5% and 6%, respectively. Both sides disagree on whether to have early termination and sign-and-trade options. And lastly, the NBA wants a 10-year CBA with an option to terminate after the seventh year, while the players union want that option after the sixth and eighth year. Should any side make consessions on these issues, it might be easier to further bridge the BRI gap.

Update NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Focus On Fixing System Issues

LA Times reports — The fatigue wore on their faces, but it hardly masked their enthusiasm.

NBA Commissioner David Stern smiled as he struggled recalling what day it was after wrapping up a 15-hour negotiating meeting early Thursday morning.

NBA Players Assn. executive director Billy Hunter smiled as he joked that players union vice president Maurice Evans should answer questions for him.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver smiled when Stern needled him for “allowing all hell to break loose” when he missed last week’s contentious meeting because of flu symptoms.

National Basketball Players Assn. President Derek Fisher smiled when he acknowledged what he called a “slim” possibility both sides could salvage a full, albeit delayed 82-game season should they reach a deal by this weekend.

The reason for such a sudden mood change less than a week after talks broke off points to one simple reason: After reaching a stalemate on how to divide the basketball-related income, both sides instead talked about system issues. Neither side would quantify the exact progress. Stern still acknowledged the likelihood the league will scrap the games played in the last two weeks of the season. And he said, “There’s no deal on anything, unless there’s a deal on everything.” 

But the talks proved at least productive enough for another meeting to take place in New York at 2 p.m. EDT, with some optimism that Thursday’s meeting will bring both sides closer to a deal.

That a 15-hour-long meeting resulting in only undefined progress on system issues would bear such optimism surely reflects on slowly the lockout has proceeded. But it also shows owners and players recognize that they were better served focusing on that area rather than on the basketball-related income.

After all, that issue caused last week’s talks to end abruptly. The players union dropped their percentage from 53% to 52.5%, and even considered a bandwidth between 50%-53% depending on how much revenue the league accumulates. But Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt accused the players union of refusing to continue discussions unless they met their basketball-related income demands. Likewise, Hunter and Fisher accused the owners refusing to budge on a 50-50 split.

“If we had any hope of trying to recapture the lost games, we had to get back in and talk,” Hunter told reporters. “So we parked the [basketball-related income] and talked about the system.”

It’s possible meetings will go sour as soon as both sides return to that issue. But for now, the strategy shift at least has ensured more meetings, more agreements and more possibilities of brokering a deal.

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