Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NBA Union Head Hunter: CBA Proposal “Regressive”, “Repressive” & “Non-Starter”

Next week, the NBA and NBPA will meet to try and find common ground on a new CBA.

The issues dividing the parties are significant. The NBA is looking for major changes to its business model, very much like the NHL did in 2004-05, when the league shut down for an entire season.

Here are 3 key demands being made by the NBA:

1) Reduce the salary cap from $58 million to $45 million
2) Non-guaranteed player contracts
3) $800 million rollback in salaries

As mentioned in my column on Bill Daly’s year in review, Hunter spoke two weeks ago at a conference. Below is a breakdown of his comments. As we approach next week, his comments are relevant. As well, NBA Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that it will be “a challenge” to reach a deal on a new CBA before the current one expires in a month (source: Yahoo!).

Listening to Hunter in person, I did get the sense that the Union is looking to make a deal and might be amenable to certain concessions.

Here are Hunter’s remarks:

On the State of the NBA

“Things are going extremely well in the NBA”. It has been the “best year in history”. Television “ratings are up” and “attendance is up”. The NBA has exciting new talent in "Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant”. The NBA has also enjoyed strong market penetration in “China and India”.

On the Big Issue Under CBA

The “big struggle between us and the NBA is how we divide up the revenue being generated”.

On the NBA’s First Proposal 2 Years Ago

“As many of you know, we started our labor negotiations two years ago”. The first proposal made by the NBA was “draconian”.

Last summer, the Union responded with a counter proposal, and about a month ago, the NBA made a “new proposal”. The proposal was a “regressive proposal…and we thought first proposal was bad”. The second proposal made “repressive demands” and was “worse than the first proposal”.

On Expectations Moving Forward

“There has not been any movement and I don’t know whether there will be any between now and June 30”. The NBA has not provided any indication as to whether it is “inclined to soften its demands”.

One Word to Describe the Current Proposal


On the Ongoing NFL Litigation

NFL antitrust litigation is “casting a giant shadow”. We were “high-fiving when Nelson ruled”.

On the Possibility of Not Reaching an Agreement

It would be “asinine for us not to reach an agreement".

On a Possible Lockout

“We are ready for the lockout”. If the options are the current proposal or a lockout, “gimme the lockout”.

On Striking

The Union would not expect to “strike in the face of the expiration of the agreement”, although “all options are on table…and we will continue to engage in hard knuckle bargaining”.

Our Revenue Sharing

“Our contention is that there may be some teams losing money but that can be resolved through revenue sharing”.

The Union is “prepared to back off the 57% guarantee” but that’s not enough for the NBA.

On Players Playing Overseas During Lockout

The NBA should be “very concerned” with players playing abroad during a lockout.

Final Message

“Put the message out – we very much want a deal - a fair deal”.

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