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|Billy Hunter (left) and David Stern have under a year to prevent an NBA work stoppage in 2011.|
“The owners declined to invoke an option to extend the current CBA to 2012, deciding instead to let it expire in 2011. Their primary motivation is financial. The players are guaranteed 57 percent of the league's revenues -- and that's gross revenues, before expenses come out. This has led to what commissioner David Stern cited as a loss of at least $200 million per year in the first four years of the agreement and $370 million in 2009-10. According to Forbes' 2009 report on NBA team valuations, 12 of the 30 teams lost money in 2008-09, which led the league to take out a $175 million credit line in 2009 to help bail out financially strapped clubs. Stern places the blame squarely on player salaries. "[They're] too high," he said in February. "I can run from that, but I can't hide from that, and I don't think the players can either. Those are the facts, and that's what we are dealing with. We are fact based." Players Association executive director Billy Hunter disputes these facts, going so far as to label Stern's claims "baloney." According to Hunter, much of the reported losses came from depreciation and interest on debt, which should not factor into the league's balance sheet. "There might not be any losses at all. It depends on what accounting procedure is used," Hunter said. "If you decide you don't count interest and depreciation, you already lop off $250 million of the $370 million." Hunter's point is that costs associated with the purchase and sale of teams are separate and distinct from those associated with the operation of those teams. Just as the players aren't entitled to a share of the profits when teams are sold, they shouldn't be encumbered by the costs related to team purchases. Responding to Hunter's "baloney" comment, Stern stuck to his guns. "I grew up in Stern's Delicatessen," he said in June. "He has his meat wrong. This is substance." So we have an impasse, with the two sides disagreeing on how to interpret the same information.
I grew up in Stern's Delicatessen. He has his meat wrong. This is substance.” -- NBA commissioner David Stern responding to Bill Hunter's claim that his take on player salaries is "baloney."
|After witnessing a stoppage in '98, players union president Derek Fisher hopes to avoid another.|
|Will commissioner David Stern's infamous 1998 "lockout beard" return this offseason?|
“The owners have the upper hand in the event of a lockout. They usually have more financial reserves, own other businesses that continue to provide income and act as a more coordinated and cohesive unit behind the commissioner. They are also relieved of their greatest expense (player salaries) along with the cost of putting on the games. The teams that are losing money are better off not playing at all than playing another season under the current system. Some view a lockout as a foregone conclusion, and are planning accordingly. "I'm preparing for a lockout right now, and I haven't seen anything to change that notion," Hunter told ESPN.com. "As of this moment, it's full speed ahead for me in preparing the players for a worst-case scenario." Fisher, on the other hand, remains optimistic. "A lockout is not the end result that I want, nor any of our players, and if the owners aren't interested in having a lockout then we'll come to an agreement," he said. If the owners hold the trump card in the form of a lockout, what countermeasures do the players have at their disposal? For one, union leadership consistently urges the players to be prepared for any contingency. "Part of our yearly mission, even in the first year of our collective bargaining agreement, is urging our players to be smart and savvy about their financial planning," Fisher said. "It's something we do every year, all year, and during a year before a potential lockout those messages are hammered home even more."
I'm preparing for a lockout right now, and I haven't seen anything to change that notion. Hopefully I'll see something over the next several months.” -- NBA union director Billy Hunter in July
|The absence of a new CBA has weakend Carmelo Anthony's leverage with Denver.|
The salary cap, luxury tax, maximum salaries, limits on free agency, age limits and draft would all be under attack.