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Let the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving Era begin!
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 Christmas 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 Cleveland Cavaliers won't have much, if any cap space to work with in the abbreviated free agency period depending on the final parameters of the salary cap. They will be ready to begin the rebuilding process in earnest though with top pick Kyrie Irving and number four overall pick Tristan Thompson joining the roster to begin learning under Baron Davis and Antawn Jamison. That is, if both vets aren't moved before the season starts.
The Cavs 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.
In the latest development since NBA lockout negotiations went terribly wrong, players filed their first antitrust complaint against the league on Tuesday in Minnesota. Players are expected to file another suit in California later on Tuesday evening.
The first antitrust suit was filed in Minneapolis, where the AP reports that "NFL players had some level of success in a similar court proceeding this summer." Timberwolves guard Anthony Tolliver and forward Derrick Williams, along with Ben Gordon and free agent Caron Butler are the referenced plaintiffs in that case.
The complaint argues on behalf of the players that the lockout "constitutes an illegal group boycott, price-fixing agreement, and/or restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act."
Minnesota was the only team in the NBA with a worse record (17-65) than Cleveland (19-63) last season, and like Cleveland, they are one of the youngest, most inexperienced teams in the league.
The NBA lockout has claimed its share of victims already as the regular season should already be a couple of weeks old. The players rejected the latest proposal to end the lockout on Monday, though, leading David Stern to cancel games through Dec. 15.
The NBA would need about a month to get through everything it needs to get through to begin the regular season so the announcement is not exactly a huge deal as it basically does what the calendar has already done. SB Nation's Mike Prada puts it further into perspective.
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.
It's going to be interesting to see what the players' response will be if games continue to be cancelled considering Cleveland Cavaliers forward Samardo Samuels has already voiced his displeasure with the lasting lockout.
While Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter said the National Basketball Players Association - which is now officially disbanded - was unified in its' rejection of the latest proposal by the NBA owners, at least one Cleveland Cavaliers player admits he would have voted to accept the proposal.
Cavs forward Samardo Samuels - the perfect example of a player that will be financially impacted by the paychecks that are now being missed by players - told the Akron-Beacon Journal on Monday that while the NBA proposal wasn't perfect he would have voted to accept the deal. The only problem? Samardo and the rest of the rank-and-file NBA players never got the chance to accept David Stern's deal.
"A lot of people in the league are panicking," Samuels said. "You’re talking about missing paychecks. Those paychecks you’re missing are going to add up and guys have families and responsibilities and bills to pay. I’m just a guy that’s coming out of college. I’m 22 years old, I don’t have much responsibility."
Samuels goes on to talk about big-name veterans in the NBA that have financial flexibility that many players likely do not have. Paul Pierce, for example.
It's easy for Paul Pierce to say that. You've been in the league how long?" Samuels said. "You've got a decent amount of money saved up, but what about the guys just coming into the league who don't have [anything] saved up?"
That's when this will really get interesting. Do the voices of players like Samuels start to get louder as more and more money is lost?
The NBA players have decided their best attack on the NBA Lockout is to take matters to court. They decided on that direction earlier on Monday after rejecting David Stern's offer, choosing instead to immediately disband the union and file and anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA. Needless to say, the Commish is not to pleased with the players decision and released the following statement saying as much:
"At a bargaining session in February 2010, Jeffrey Kessler, counsel for the union, threatened that the players would abandon the collective bargaining process and start an antitrust lawsuit against our teams if they did not get a bargaining resolution that was acceptable to them.
In anticipation of this day, the NBA filed an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board asserting that, by virtue of its continued threats, the union was not bargaining in good faith. We also began a litigation in federal court in anticipation of this same bargaining tactic.
The NBA has negotiated in good faith throughout the collective bargaining process, but -- because our revised bargaining proposal was not to its liking - the union has decided to make good on Mr. Kessler's threat.
There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy."
If all this sounds familiar, it should. Much of the same lingo and legal posturing was used during the NFL Lockout last spring and summer, with both sides winning legal arguments before finally getting back to the negotiating tabel and hammering out a new deal.
Jeffrey Kessler, who is representing the NBPA in the court proceedings, was also part of the NFLPA's legal team. It is said that he was advocating that the players continue their legal wrangling with the NFL and it wasn't until DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell took control of the negotiations away from the lawyers that the situation was resolved.
The question becomes now, is the leadership on both sides of the NBA equation smart enough to do what the NFL and the NFLPA did in order to save their season?
The situation has gone from bad to worse in the NBA labor impasse. After reviewing what NBA Commissioner David Stern called the League's 'best and final' offer, the players have unanimously agreed to turn the NBA's offer down and begin the legal process, saying they will file anti-trust action against the NBA in the next two days.
Players Association leader Billy Hunter stated the NBPA will be transformed into a trade association, much the same way the NFLPA had done during the NFL Lockout in the spring and summer of 2011. The difference in that work stoppage, however, was only one game - the Hall of Fame Game in Canton - was lost. The NBA has already lost two weeks of regular season games with the possibility of the entire season being lost becoming more and more likely by the day.
NBPA President Derek Fisher has asked the media to respect that the situation is now a legal matter, that players cannot comment any further.
"This is where it stops for us as a union." Fisher said.
Hunter called the NBA's offer "a system under which we felt we couldn't function" and the players chose, instead, to disband the union immediately.
Where is goes from here is anyone's guess. The legal process will likely be long and drawn out. The will of the players, specifically the mid-to-lower tier players who will certainly begin missing their pay-checks, will surely be tested, as will the loyalty of fans.
The NBA owners are currently waiting on the players to review their latest offer for a CBA deal and end the lockout. Common conjecture around the league is that the deal will be rejected, and players are understandably frustrated by the whole process.
The latest player to wear his feelings on his sleeve is Cleveland Cavaliers' forward Omri Casspi, who took to his Twitter account to express his displeasure with the owners' negotiation tactics, urging the union to decertify:
"If the NBA claim loses of 300mil dollars, why they aren't opening the books to the players and letting us see it?" Casspi wrote.
"I know that it won't be good for the nba that the court will make them open the books and we all find out that there's big difference.
"I think it's time for us to give the NBA deal that we like and put the pressure on them. #decertify" wrote the NBA's first Israeli-born player.
Anthony Parker is the Cavs' representative who will travel to New York next week with the other player reps to decide whether or not to accept the owners' proposal.
After the NBA owners and players met on Wednesday, news broke that there was no deal in place and the two sides would presenting their side of the meetings in separate press conferences. However, progress toward a deal was reportedly 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 one of Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski's never-failing sources, movement toward a deal was made on three system issues in particular.
David Stern's ultimatum deadline was Wednesday night, but that passed without any action. Stern said the clock had effectively stopped and the two sides would continue to negotiate matters today, hoping to get something done before more games need to be cancelled. While Stern hasn't yet presented the owners with any final draft of a deal, it is believed that the momentum is swinging toward a deal getting done.
A bit of potentially good news in regards to the ongoing NBA lockout, as ESPN reports through sources that a meeting between the NBA's owners and players got underway at 1 p.m. eastern on Wednesday. After the NBA Players Association rejected the latest labor proposal on Tuesday, they asked for another bargaining session before the deadline on Wednesday evening. According to commissioner David Stern, that deadline signified a point where the current offer would be taken off the table.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been one of the faces of the so-called "hardline" owners during the protracted talks. He's long been one of the certified "hawks" -- the aggressive and hungry faction that was known to be seeking radical change.
However, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN.com that Gilbert has adjusted his position in recent days and moved into a more moderate mode, voting with fellow owners who are willing to accept a 50/50 share of BRI.
That really seems significant at this point. If Gilbert has been a force in meetings for the hardline, and the players are really only seeks fundamental concessions as opposed to huge structural changes, a major force for the owners taking a more passive role could be just what the deliberations need at this point.
NBA players rejected David Stern's latest offer, a day before the Commissioner's ultimatum deadline, which threatened that offers would only get worse from here on.
Embattled union executive director Billy Hunter reiterated that the deal was not fair for the players.
"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."
While the offer did not beget a formal vote from the players' union, Cleveland Cavaliers guard, oldest player on team (36 years old), and player representative Anthony Parker was among the consensus of players firmly against accepting the deal as proposed.
"Once the league's offer was spelled out clearly (during Tuesday's meeting), everyone said it was worse than they thought."
So, the players rejected the deal that hard-line Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is assumed to have never even wanted to offer in the first place, considering it to generous to the players.
The Cavaliers were slated to open the season on Nov. 2, and if last season was any indication, a late start might not bode well for the team: Cleveland won one game combined in December and January a year ago.
The Cleveland Cavaliers need to play as many basketball games as possible this season as their young players try to develop chemistry, but that is not exactly an option during the NBA lockout. NBA commissioner David Stern seems to plan to make that option even harder this week.
The Commissioner went on SportsCenter early Monday evening to discuss things. Bullets Forever's Mike Prada transcribed the event and, well, it wasn't exactly overflowing with optimism.
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 b/c 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."
On the owners being unified: "They're unified in their willingness to make this deal through Wednesday, then they'll be unified in willingness to negotiate the 47 percent proposal that goes on table at close of business Wednesday." In other words, they're unified because I said so.
Hopefully a deal gets done in the next couple of days ... or else.
Cleveland Cavaliers fans will have to wait to get a glimpse of rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson 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.
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 some steamy rumors that the players union is seriously considering to send a strong message by decertifying, 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 -- the owners are dead-set on not pushing the share of revenue anywhere beyond the 50/50 split, which many owners are even beginning to renege on.
On the very night that the NBA season was originally scheduled to start (the Cavaliers were slated to start Wednesday night in Boston), NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter sent a letter imploring members to stand strong and united.
Hunter lashed out specifically against David Stern’s negotiating tactics:
“We will not be intimidated by public threats, ultimatums and manufactured drop-dead dates. We will stand firm in our resolve to negotiate a fair deal for our current membership and those who will join our ranks in the future,” Hunter said.
Basketball-related income remains the chief dealbreaker, and Hunter outlined specifically why he refuses to accept the supposed half-and-half deal of 50/50 that the owners have proposed.
“By comparison, we received 50 percent of total revenue under the previous CBA, and our 53-47 proposal would reduce the player share to 46.4 percent of total revenues,” he explained. “In addition, compared to our former 57-43 split, the owner’s proposed 50-50 shifts more than $300 million per year to the owners, which equates to more than $3 billion over a 10-year deal,” Hunter explained.
You can read the full text of Hunter’s 1,225-word letter to the players here.
The NBA lockout was expected to be coming to a close when the wtwo sides met on Friday morning. By Friday evening, however, there was a much more demure outlook as NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled another two weeks of the NBA season.
The cancellations don’t exactly come as a surprise considering there were reports that it could happen as soon as Monday, but the fact of the matter is that a deal should have been done by now … at least in the eyes of many following the merry-go-round that has been the lockout negotiations to this point in the process.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are perhaps one of the teams most negatively affected by this mess. With a young roster featuring multiple rookies that could compete for starting spots, it doesn’t help that they won’t be able to build chemistry with the rest of the team.
Hopefully this charade ends soon, but with all of November canceled, that doesn’t seem likely.
The three-day mediated talks between the owners and players ended so badly last week, it was crazy to think there wasn't a legitimate shot that the NBA season was hanging by a strand of David Stern's used floss. There were no plans to reconvene and two more weeks of the regular season had just been canceled. It was bad.
But in a wild turn of events, after getting together for two days in the middle of this week, the breath of fresh air around town is that the lockout could be over within the next few days.
Determined to work out a deal and save the 2011-2012 NBA season that has already lost four weeks of regular season games, the two sides apparently made "significant progress" yesterday on system issues. After 7.5 hours of negotiations today, there are still "a couple sticking points" to hash out, but David Stern is all but expecting a deal to be in place by the end of the weekend.
When Stern was asked after Thursday's negotiations if he knew what a new deal would look like, Stern responded, "Yes," which could mean nothing, or it could mean that there is an actual frame work in place that merely has some loose ends to tie up. Although Stern added that it's not a guarantee a deal will get done, he believes that it would be a huge failure if it was not reached within the next few days.
We could be talking actual basketball by Monday, or maybe not.
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, including a home game against the Miami heat and former Cleveland star Lebron James.
The following games would be affected for the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Nov. 16 vs. Charlotte
Nov. 18 vs. Miami
Nov. 19 at Charlotte
Nov. 23 vs. Indiana
Nov. 25 at San Antonio
Nov. 26 at Dallas
Earlier this afternoon, there was hope for the NBA and its fans. After all, owners and players -- coaxed by a mediator -- entered its third straight day of aggressive negotiating, triggering rumors that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Tonight, disappointment took over, as the mediated talks between the owners and players broke down with both sides still butting heads and no set plans to reassemble and hash things out.
Consider this from NBA scoop man, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!:
Shortly after the talks ended, rumors swirled that the owners, led by Spurs' owner Peter Holt, made a take-it or leave-it offer of 50-50 before getting into the other specifics and the players would only move from 53-percent down to 52-percent. I'm sure these were scintillating discussions.
It's likely the next big news we hear about the now 112-day-old NBA lockout is that more games will be canceled, as neither side is as dedicated as they say, you know, since they walked out of Day 3 without any set plans to meet again.
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