In today's New York Times, Mark Heisler reports on an exchange, between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and NBA commissioner David Stern, from the early days of the NBA labor negotiations:
Several people in the room, none of whom wanted to be quoted in describing a closed-door interaction, said Stern asked Sterling for his view of the league’s labor situation, prompting this exchange:
Sterling: You don’t want to hear what I have to say.
Stern: Yes, we do.
Sterling: O.K., I would fire you. You’re great at marketing but you’re not tough enough with the union.
That report comes on the heels of Heat owner Micky Arison confessing that he was, despite his reputation as the owner most eager to get a deal done, one of the five owners to vote "no" on the current labor deal. Brian Windhorst explains it was a vote of protest over the revenue sharing agreement:
"I did everything I could behind the scenes and some not so behind the scenes to get playing by Christmas," Arison said.
"When you come down to it financially ... it's a tough financial deal for us. Particularly the revenue sharing piece of it. For us to have to pay revenue sharing to larger market teams was disturbing, and we will (have to pay). So that was a key kind of protest vote on our part."
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the only other owner who has publicly said he voted against the deal.
As the talks were going on Arison said his front office was constantly running numbers to determine if it was going to be able to keep the three stars together. The final agreement did make it possible. However, Arison could be facing massive luxury tax bills over the next five years.
"The original intent of the owners was to have a hard (salary) cap, which would've basically leveled the playing field between teams," Arison said. "Instead, because of players' refusal to accept that, they just made it extremely expensive."