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Thursday, December 22, 2011
Micky Arison voted against new CBA

By Brian Windhorst
ESPN.com

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat's Micky Arison was one of the owners who strongly pushed for a new collective bargaining agreement in time to play games on Christmas Day. But in a move to protest the ramifications for his team in the final deal, Arison was one of the five NBA owners who voted against the agreement earlier this month.

Arison also said that he felt resentment and hostility from fellow owners during the CBA talks in the wake of his team signing stars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in free agency in 2010.

In a rare interview with a small group of reporters on Thursday, Arison disclosed his vote and his reasons for it. The new CBA includes a significantly more penal luxury tax and a revenue-sharing system that will force the Heat, who play in a mid-sized market, to pay into the system instead of receive revenue.

"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."

Arison said he was treated coldly by other owners during the negotiations. At one point he was fined $500,000 by the league for posting disparaging comments to other owners on his Twitter account. He said his relationship with his peers has changed dramatically over the past 18 months.

"There's no question there was some resentment," Arison said. "I had a discussion with one owner and had to remind him ... that there's 29 other owners in the league that would've done the same thing if they had the opportunity."

Brian Windhorst covers the NBA for ESPN.com.