Players, owners leave angry, but also leave close to a deal

The mood wasn't good when the players and owners left. They left without scheduling a followup meeting, but they also left a mere 80 million per year apart on a new CBA.

There are so many interesting facets to this negotiation and how we've gotten to where we are.

Where are we at?

The owners informally offered a revenue split that was a minimum of 49% and capped at 51%. The players countered with a revenue split minimum of 51% that was capped at 53%. These were informal offers, the last official offers were 47% from the owners and 53% from the players.

They are down to an average gap of 2% on BRI using the informal offers. That's a small enough gap, that it's simply insane to not get a season going. The players would lose 500 million roughly over the entire length of the agreement to take the owners offer. They'll lose nearly that much by December if they don't.

That said....

Stern's solo bad cop, good cop routine has swung public opinion

The owners started off in completely insaneland with their offer. I noted this on several occasions. I also noted that this was likely a bargaining ploy and before a season was missed they'd get in the realm of reality.

By staying in insaneland so long, they made a massive give back look like an incredible deal. Now everyone looks at 50/50 as the owners caving and the players being completely unreasonable whereas if the owners started out in the realm of sanity like the players (say at 46%) then we'd be calling for them to meet in the middle at 52% instead of 50%.

I've still long thought that 50/50 was around where this thing was headed, that was likely the owners goal the whole time and the rest of the negotiating was merely a ploy to make the 50/50 number sound more palatable to the players because it represented massive concessions on their original offer.

The union isn't biting yet, but it now has public opinion swayed massively against them.

Billy Hunter is likely out of a job

The word is the players would probably ratify a deal at 51% but that Billy Hunter likely loses his job if that's the deal. The agents believe they have better lawyers and accountants than the firm the union hired to audit the NBAs numbers showing losses. They believe they can get more in court.

I think they're wrong, but that's a whole different article similar to the one I wrote yesterday.

Either way, if Hunter knows his ouster is coming after this negotiation, it puts him in a pretty interesting position.

I appreciate the way the players negotiated this thing for the most part [as a fan]. They started off reasonable in June and didn't make a bunch of BS demands simply to cave on them later and pretend they were conceding something.

I think he negotiated in good faith this entire time and didn't completely misconstrue things to the media like Stern has done several times [claiming the players are demanding 35% raises simply because they want a share in the growth of league revenues].

That said...

The PA objects to the term 50/50? Really?!?!

So a bunch of NBA analysts are saying that the NBAPA is upset David Stern said the league offered a 50/50 because it was 50% of BRI and not 50% of total revenue.

They've then gone at great length to create examples as to why this is so unfair and isn't a true 50/50.

Okay, yeah, no crap it's not a true 50/50, but every other offer we've discussed is in terms of BRI. Are we really upset that Stern said a 50/50 in terms of BRI? The players offer of 53% was in terms of BRI. The owners of 47% was in terms of BRI.

Does anyone following these negotiations really have any confusion that Stern meant 50% of BRI?

It seems like such a bizarre thing for the union to be upset about and for the analysts to try and explain away. I mean no crap Stern meant BRI, what the hell else would he mean.

It's like if I went and bought a new car and got pissed off that the final price was in dollars and I was hoping it was 30,000 yen. Well no crap it's in dollars when I don't live in Japan.

Conclusion: Game on

I think we'll have a season. It's hard to imagine this thing not getting resolved isn't it?

Much like the mood was negative coming out of other meetings but real progress had been made, we're at 80 million per year when we started this thing out at 800 million per year.

Even though much of the gap was artificial ploy to make the owners offer at this point seem better, that still represents closing 90% of the gap between the two sides financially. Not a bad spot to be on October 5th.


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  • what makes you think pubic opinion is massively against the players, doug?

  • In reply to Gavolt:


  • In reply to Gavolt:

    Just reading a bunch of basketball forums over the past 3 months. Initially you had a lot of pro-player people who felt the owners were unreasonable [and they were], and most of those people are now looking at the players like "wtf is your problem? take the deal!"

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    even if thats generally true (who knows really?), i doubt its because of anything stern has done. probably its because its october now and people want to start watching basketball again.

  • Doug ... WOW ... great stuff.

    The owners always whine about playing guys who aren't even in the league anymore ... umm ... who signed 'em?

    Sarver whines about not being able to make money ... hey doofus, do your due diligence BEFORE ponying up to get in the game. Shut up and sit down.

    Stern's public posturing is a disgrace but utterly in character with his past. One of the foulest tempered lugs in recent history stomps on anyone (owners, coaches, players) who complains about anything.

    While I despise the fiasco in Miami ... whole lot of praise to DWade for his confrontation with Stern ... where was DMZ when THAT happened!!!

    Not sure I remember how long the new CBA will run ... but the players will indeed lose more than a "paltry" $500mm if a deal doesn't get done.
    Too many of these knuckleheads have homes, cars, women and other toys mortgaged to and beyond the hilt.

  • Doug paints a rosy picture but almost everywhere else all I see is doom and gloom and about how the talks "collapsed". There are no more meetings scheduled and time is up. What are the odds the season starts on time?

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    I don't think it will start on time, but I do think it will be a short lockout [maybe a week or two missed].

  • You'd like to think they won't lose a season over $80M, but as much as people like to say "it's about the money," people get emotional during negotiations, and there are always other factors involved. You need look no further than the Mayweather/Pacquiao non-fight to see that sometimes money isn't enough.

    If the offer really was 50/50 BRI, I think the players are being foolish not to take it. They are going to get a much worse deal down the road unless the courts intervene massively in their favor. That's an awfully slender reed on which to build your hopes.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    The players didn't take it yesterday, but they offered 52%. They could simply be trying to squeeze an extra 1% in one further compromise.

    If they actually lose a season with 50% on the table then I agree, they screwed up bad.

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