Complete Speculation: Players and Owners Will Agree on a New CBA Shortly

Published: October 18, 2011

I can’t help but think the Players Association headed into today’s mediator led meeting with their number one goal being getting a deal done in principle. That definitely looks weird when I put it on paper since one would think that this should have always been their intention, but the history of negotiations makes me think otherwise.

The reality of the situation has long been that the Players weren’t going to agree to a sizable pay cut. They had their chance on October 4th, but they wouldn’t go for a 50-50 split and said there was nothing more to discuss. So the league cancelled two weeks of the season. Now there is obviously more to discuss.

The Players and owners have been setting themselves up all along for this final battle. In the end, this is what it all comes down to. Tell me that you really thought the players were going to take a 50-50 split in July. Or September. Or even on October 4th. They weren’t.

So the league cut games. That should be enough to make players realize that 50% of a huge pie is a hell of a lot sweeter than 100% of no pie, which the owners have made very clear they are willing to serve up if they don’t get their way. Fair or not, that’s how this bakery is being run now. The players lost, and will continue to lose more and more as long as valuable pie preparation and baking time is lost.

Anyway, today is the first time an independent mediator (George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) has been really leading the negotiations. In all likelihood, he’s going to cut through the crap and end up proposing something that is more in line with what the owners have offered. Not entirely, but mostly. I imagine it will be something the owners will agree to after a few grumbles. After all, the details can be hashed out later.

Three months ago the Players Association would have laughed at the offer. Maybe Wade would have yelled at Stern or something.

Now, though, games have been missed. They have been informed that their multimillion dollar contracts are essentially worthless without a new CBA in place. Guys are finding it harder and harder to get adequate insurance to play overseas. The contracts overseas are a small fraction of what they would be making in the NBA even if they agreed to a 50% pay cut (way more than the owners have offered).

I speculate that they have come to their senses and that there will be hell to pay for Billy Hunter if an agreement isn’t reached. Even if that compromise isn’t exactly what the players want or think is fair, I get the idea that they want to agree in principle to a deal, and therefore we will see some positive resolution in the next two days.

For what it’s worth, I’m an eternal optimist. Might want to keep that in mind before joining me in drinking miracle juice and blowing lines of magic pixie dust.


  1. 42

    October 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I see next to nothing coming from this. I’d be surprised if the session isn’t called after, say, 6 hours.

    There seems like too much swirl, too much division, to get knocked out in a day when the courts etc. are sitting there with potential magic bullets for each side, but likely more for the owners.

    I hope you are right if the deal is 42-friendly. I hope wrong if not.

  2. paul

    October 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    The owners already know much of the blame is on them.
    THAT is the reason they are forcing changes. The changes they are asking for…rules they want their fellow owners to abide by…the players are fighting against.
    Owners want larger, richer markets to not drive the train.
    You talk about it being the owners giving the contracts, but it is SOME owners, thus forcing the going rates for players to continually rise.
    The result is the mad contract numbers you are scolding ALL owners for.
    In fact, it is some owners and the other owners now are demanding the rules be fixed to prevent this. It is their game board, so they should be able to change the rules.
    Players can always begin another league…IF they really wanted to be owners and all the responsibility it all holds. They say they are business men. They say they have the money to hold out.
    So, OK players…hold out just enough time to invest your monies into buildings and a new league. But just watch their own rules change to become just like the owners today.
    We will suddenly see the real player greed come out. They speak out against the owners greed, but in reality, they are really the same. They couldn’t trust each other any more than owners do each other. That is the reason many owners now want some sanity brought to the game.
    The players do not wish this as they want the drunken spending of a few to continue to drive the salary numbers up for all.
    But the truth is…they are hurting and MOST players are not the big names and want a deal…and a deal now.

    This come to a close and soon.
    I agree.

    • paul

      October 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      this is a reply I sent out to an angry fan who had been ranting on about it all being the fault of greedy owners that caused these salaries and the problems we have today….

  3. NolaHog

    October 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I’m with 42. There will be no deal coming anytime soon.

  4. 42

    October 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Coming up on 12.5 hours unofficially.

    • Joe Gerrity

      October 19, 2011 at 12:15 am

      Makes me feel good. They must be on a roll of some sort. Let’s hope they can finish it out

      • 42

        October 19, 2011 at 12:20 am

        My interpretation is that each side is waiting on the other side or the moderator to call it so that they can’t get a finger pointed at them.

  5. 42

    October 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Doing a painful math problem and giving Elvis Costello a periodic whirl.

    Will they go past 15 hours?

  6. 42

    October 19, 2011 at 12:55 am

    They are seemingly wrapping up soon, but we heard that before.

    They are wrapping up soon and seemingly still have enough hurdles to have a biggest hurdle . . . that being the tax . . . therefore cap . . . therefore system . . .

    Speaking of, were they good and decided not to end talks, or bad and then decided not to end talks?

  7. Rocco

    October 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    When a deal is finally done I honest to God hope that the following occurs:

    The deal allows small mid to small market teams a better chance to compete. We need more than just a financial wrap on the knuckles for the Cubans and Busses of the world. Also, no more Miami Heat situations.

    The league hires a new commissioner. Its time for the troll with the sh*t eating grin to go. Stern makes me ill and its partly because of his smug attitude that things have arrived at this dismal point.

  8. da ThRONe

    October 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Both parties are responsible no denying that. However at this point I put the majority of the blame on the owners. The players have conceded a lot and aren’t gaining anything they didn’t have in the pervious CBA. I don’t like the luxury tax system and I think it’s still give some teams a large advantage. Just a heavier slap on the wrist. If parity is really important to the owners a set limit on spending have to be established, but lets face it enough of the owners don’t want a set limit on spending. So that’s one of those things the league ask for only to have something to “concede” to the players.

  9. 42

    October 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Done for today. Picking up tomorrow.

    No official status.

    Unofficially… no progress. Building block kinds of language… so zip.

  10. David

    October 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Thing is, NBAPA cannot decertify like the NFLPA did. This will stay in negotiation, and in negotiation the owners WILL ALWAYS WIN. The only way for the players to win is to go to litigation. The reason why they will no decertify is because if they do, all of those huge, bloated, undeserved guaranteed contracts that were negotiated under umbrella of a Collectively Bargained Agreement can be terminated on the spot because if there is no Union then the CBA terms are null and void. The NFL players contracts aren’t guaranteed anyway so they never had to worry about this. Once money starts leaving their wallets, the players will crack rather quickly. They better, because if they don’t they will end up w/ a crappy deal like the NHL players did.

    • 42

      October 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      Whether the contracts are torn up depends to some extent on a ruling. Stern asked for permission to do this, and to my knowledge, has not gotten an answer back.

      They will not decertify while their options as a union are still potentially fruitful, that is certain.

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