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The NBA owners and players began meeting on Friday at noon and didn't stop until reaching an agreement 15 hours later at 3:00AM Saturday morning. Yes, the NBA parties have agreed to a tentative deal that will end the NBA lockout and launch a free agency and training camp frenzy so the season can begin on Christmas Day.
As Adrian Wojnarowski reports, the deal must be finalized and approved by both parties, but commissioner David Stern expects that to happen.
"We're optimistic that the [agreement] will hold and we'll have ourselves an NBA season," NBA commissioner David Stern said at a brief news conference held in New York with Players Association executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher(notes).
Free agency and training camps will start on Dec. 9, Stern said. Under the current agreement, the regular season would have a 66-game schedule that begins on ahristmas Day with three games: Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks; Miami Heat at the Dallas Mavericks; and Chicago Bulls at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be among the most interesting young teams in the league to start the season. The Wolves won't have much cap space, depending on what the final cap limit ends up being, but with Kevin Love leading the young core group of players, including the addition of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams they will start the season as one of the more intriguing teams in the league under experienced, first-year coach Rick Adelman.
The Wolves will presumably begin their season on December 26th since the league is trying to squeeze in a 66-game season, but that is just speculation since the schedule will need to be redrawn by the league.
The NBA lockout went nowhere when the two sides attempted to negotiate with each other, leading to the next step in what is bound to ultimately turn ugly. The NBA players plan to file two lawsuits on Tuesday evening, one of which will feature Anthony Tolliver and Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The lawsuit filed in Minneapolis with the U.S. District Court is by one of the same lawyers that represented the NFL players in their lawsuit against the National Football League, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda. Along with Tolliver and Williams, Caron Butler and Ben Gordon are also listed as plaintiffs to get a thorough cross-section of the league involved.
Zgoda further reported that the lawsuit filed in Minnesota claims NBA conspired to deny them through "unlawful group boycott, price-fixing arrangement."
The Minnesota Timberwolves will have to wait a little while longer to get a start to their first season with Ricky Rubio on the roster and Rick Adelman holding the reins as the NBA lockout continues to take its toll. The latest news, unfortunately, is that NBA Commissioner David Stern has decided to cancel games through the 15th of December.
The move has more to do with the calendar than anything else as the league has long maintained it would need at least one month from the end of the lockout to get the season started. As SB Nation's Mike Prada noted, it technically even keeps a 72-game season on the table.
That would technically mean the NBA lockout has yet to claim any games from the owners' proposed 72-game schedule, which was rejected when the NBA Players Association elected to disclaim interest to challenge the lockout in court. However, it only seems like a matter of time until those games go as well.
More bad news is on its way, but this isn't exactly the worst scenario that could happen.
Bad news just keeps getting worse for the NBA and its fans. The possibility of losing the entirety of the 2011-2012 season is now an even more vibrant reality, as the "best and final" from David Stern and the league has been rejected by the NBA Players Association. The NBPA met on Monday, all 30 player team representatives, and ultimately rejected the proposed deal, continuing the NBA lockout and setting off a wave of litigation.
NBPA head Billy Hunter said that the the player's association will decertify (disclaim) and file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA. Hunter says that litigation is the best situation for the players to achieve and get their due process. The lawsuit would bring to question the legality of the lockout and, among other things, the legality of the "ultimatum" presented by Stern and the owners that set off this last meeting of the official Players Association.
It's a very pivotal point - the players association becoming a trade association, because the same thing happened earlier this year in the NFL. The difference is that the NBA has already cancelled two weeks of games for the 2011-2012 season and the NFL had only cancelled one game - the Hall of Fame game. The possibility of more cancelled games and a potential cancelled season is now a very real possibility.
After rejecting David Stern's latest offer, the NBA owners and players met again on Wednesday and Thursday to see if they could work out their differences. While Wednesday came and went without a deal in place, most signs indicated progress toward a deal was achieved:
"We can get there in the next day or two," one high-ranking league official briefed on the talks said. "But it’s still a volatile process, and egos can still get in the way. …But there’s a lot of reason to be hopeful."
According to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, movement was made on three system issues in particular.
David Stern's ultimatum deadline was Wednesday night, but that passed and Stern said the clock was stopped while the two sides continued to negotiate matters today. While Stern hasn't presented the owners with any final draft of a deal, Stern reportedly had a briefing call set with the NBA owners' labor relations committee for Thursday night and it is believed that the momentum is swinging toward a deal getting done.
Thursday's meetings broke without a deal in place, but an offer was put on the table for the union. Billy Hunter said, 'it isn't the greatest proposal,' but he feels obligated to take it to the players. If the union takes the deal by Monday or Tuesday, Stern says there can be a 72-game season which would start on December 15.
Stern suggested that this would be the last proposal before reverting back to the hard cap and 47-percent BRI for the players, the above-referenced ultimatum he had previously set for Wednesday night.
NBA players rejected David Stern's latest offer, a day in advance of the Nov. 9 artificial ultimatum that the Commissioner's set as a point after which offers would only get worse, in essence calling Stern's bluff.
"The players are clearly of the mind that it's an unacceptable proposal," union executive director Billy Hunter said. "But because of their commitment to the game and their desire to play, they're saying to us that we want you to go back, see if you can go back, get a better deal."
With the rejection of the deal, focus is likely to turn to whether the players will proceed to decertifying the union. And Minnesota Timberwolves forward union representative Anthony Tolliver said that the players are split on that issue.
"Pretty much everything is split," he said on his way to the airport after playing in a charity game in Salt Lake City on Monday night. "Half of the people want to decertify. Half the people want to vote on it."
The players' association president Derek Fisher does not see a way of getting a deal done between now and end of business Wednesday, and hopes to meet with Stern soon.
The union did not conduct a formal vote of the players assembled in the room Tuesday, but sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the group reached more of an informal "everyone agrees" position that authorizes Hunter and Fisher to accept a 50-50 split of basketball-related income in future negotiations as long as the league makes some concessions on certain system issues.
The NBA lockout negotiations have steadily been getting uglier and uglier since they began, but it appears the newest deadline is Wednesday. After that, according to commissioner David Stern, things are going to get even uglier because he plans to take the current deal off of the table.
Stern appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter late Monday afternoon to talk about the next step and, as Bullets Forever's Mike Prada transcription tells NBA fans, things are not exactly pretty right now.
On the deadline: "We think there's a great offer on table, and we told the players, 'It's getting late.' The only rational thing is to make that deal because given what is going on in our business and our industry, it will get worse from there. We told the players ... an offer of 47% will become operative w/ hard cap in effect [if they don't accept]."
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the teams that will be hurt most by the lockout as they are too young to be missing valuable court time while they should be gaining chemistry. It will also probably take a bit of time for new head coach Rick Adelman to install a new offense and new point guard Ricky Rubio to adjust to American basketball.
The young Minnesota Timberwolves are still not close to hitting the court and tapping into all of that potential thanks to the NBA labor negotiations on Saturday evening that failed to produce a deal to end the lockout.
The NBA owners and players met for over eight hours on Saturday, with federal mediator George Cohen trying to help, before David Stern was credited with ending the session in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Stern brought discussions to a close with an ultimatum for the players to agree to the tweaked deal the owners put on the table Saturday or see that deal pulled for a far less favorable deal for the players along with the threat of closing shop for the season.
Here are more details according to Yahoo! Sports:
If the players don't agree by Wednesday to accept the proposal - which Stern described as including a revenue split that could give the players as much as 51 percent and as little as 49 percent - then the owners' new offer would drop to 47 percent of basketball-related income for the players and include a "flex" salary cap.
"We want to allow the union enough time to consider our most recent proposal, and we are hopeful that they will accept," Stern said, after acknowledging Kessler had already rejected the offer.
So the two sides physically moved closer to a deal with the owners proposing giving the players a 51% cut, although designating 1% of that for retired player pensions. But emotionally the sides remain miles apart, which was apparent in a post-meeting outburst from players' lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler.
"The players will not be intimidated," attorney Jeffrey Kessler said early Sunday after eight hours of negotiations stretched late into the night. "They want to play, they want a season, but they are not going to sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening on Derek Fisher's watch; it's not happening on Billy Hunter's watch; it's not happening on the watch of this executive committee."
The two sides will meet again on Wednesday and we'll find out if the owners offer was truly a take-it-or-leave-it proposition since it appears the union will not be taking it. Meanwhile, player decertification remains in play on the union side against the counter of canceling the season on the owners side.
Yep, Saturday was not a good day for the NBA.
Unfortunately, when talks resume on Saturday, the two sides won't be as close to a solution as they appeared to be this time last weekend. In fact, tomorrow could very well be the 2011-2012 season's boiling point [via ESPN]:
The NBA ownership group's labor committee will reopen talks with the players' side Saturday afternoon, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, a meeting one general manager, who has spoken with a few owners, described as "headed straight for disaster."
The talks will follow a meeting between the NBA's 30 owners Saturday morning in which they will discuss revenue sharing and the state of negotiations, sources told Broussard.
But optimism is not running high.
Add in heavy rumors that the NBAPA is seriously considering to send a strong message by decertifying the union, something labor law experts lament would (further) jeopardize the entire season. The tactic certainly isn't likely to get the owners to budge from their stubborn stance:
Owners are determined to reshape the league by creating a system like the NFL or NHL, where spending is capped and small-market teams truly can compete with the big boys. But reforming the NHL's financial structure required a lengthy lockout, wiping out the entire 2004-05 season. And the NFL is making money, not losing it.
The players have offered to reduce their share of revenue from 57 percent to 52.5 percent, a concession they feel is more than enough to cover their end of the league's stated $300 million in annual losses. Owners have offered a 50-50 split, along with significant changes to the system that include a more punitive luxury tax on teams that exceed the salary cap, shorter contracts and a lower mid-level exception.
After giving fans hope last weekend, the NBA has done nothing to reassure fans that they are determined to prevent a season from being canceled entirely. In fact, the fans appear to be a distant thought at this point altogether.
The NBA lockout has not been pretty, though things seemed like they might be taking a swing for the better following Thursday's negotiating session. All of the optimism was once again sucked out of the building on Friday, though, when Commissioner David Stern announced that all NBA games through November have been cancelled.
This is bad news for everyone, but it hits the Minnesota Timberwolves pretty hard. The Wolves are a young team with a new coaching staff so it'd be nice if they were able to get a bit of chemistry going before the games started to count. That won't happen now, however, as things will no doubt be hurried along ... if and when there's a 2011-12 season.
The NBA doesn't have any further negotiating talks scheduled so it's tough to guess what the next step might be. It can't get much worse than it did on Friday, though, so it might be time to step away and regroup for awhile.
I wouldn't hold your breath, but the NBA lockout could be coming to an end in the next few days.
After three-day mediated talks took a turn for the worst last week, the owners and players got together Wednesday and Thursday and apparently made "significant progress" toward resolving some important issues. Granted, there are still "a couple sticking points" to hash out before a deal can be signed and sealed, but David Stern would view it as a massive failure if a deal is not reached in the next three days.
Now, this might not mean anything -- he could just be envisioning his desire for a deal -- but when Stern was asked after Thursday's negotiations if he knew what a new deal would look like, he responded, "Yes." Stern added that it's not a guarantee a deal will get done, but the two sides are going to give it a "heck of a shot."
The owners and players are expected to discuss everything on Friday and are willing to go as long as it takes until a deal is reached. If only they had that attitude over the summer.
Either way, stay tuned.
After labor talks between the owners and players broke down late last week it was likely that more games would be canceled during the 2011-12 season. That will be confirmed tomorrow as the league is expected to announce the cancellation of all games through November 28:
According to the Daily News' source, this latest cancellation would total at least 102 games and run through Nov. 28.
The source told the Daily News that the NBA will announce the latest cancellation of games on Tuesday.
There are no new rounds of negotiations scheduled. Already all games through November 14th have been canceled, but now the first four weeks of the season will be gone.This latest round of cancellations will affect the following games for the Minnesota Timberwolves:
Nov. 16 vs. Milwaukee
Nov. 18 vs. San Antonio
Nov. 19 at Memphis
Nov. 21 at Houston
Nov. 23 vs. Golden State
Nov. 25 vs. Houston
Nov. 26 at Washington
Thursday was the third straight day of mediation between the owners and players in an attempt to put an end to the lockout that has already taken two weeks of NBA games. Heading into today, talks were centered around a 49-51 range of the basketball-related income to the players, and possibly near a resolution.
Whelp, whatever progress was made during the first two and half days ended with what is being said as a huge setback, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski:
What ensued after news started to surface that the meetings tailspinned was an onslaught of tweets and comments from NBA players and owners talking about how disappointing today has been, and that they're still dedicated to reaching a compromise and not missing anymore games. Easier said than done. Rumors are swirling that the owners, spearheaded by Spurs' owner Peter Holt, made a "take it or leave it" offer of 50-50 and the players wouldn't budge past 52-percent.
The sides are so dedicated, though, that there are no plans to reassemble at this time. The next news we hear could very well be the clipping of more games.
Thursday will be the third consecutive day of mediation in the NBA Lockout, and while there are no concrete details, there is at least hope that a deal may be coming. since meeting with a mediator starting on Tuesday, both sides have been involved in serious negotiations for 24 hours of a 32 hour period. Both sides met for 16 hours on Tuesday, then resumed Wednesday morning for another eight hours.
It appears that the issue of a salary cap may be hanging up a potential deal. The owners are seeking a 49-51 split in terms of revenue favoring the players, but the players do not want anything resembling a hard salary cap:
Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that the owners are once again offering a 49-51 range of the basketball-related income to the players. That is essentially where the players would get a minimum of 49 percent of BRI or a max of 51 percent depending on how much revenue the league takes in that year.
This mediation session appears to be the only thing standing between the cancellation of games through Christmas.
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