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Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  104 responses

Players Filed Separate Anti-Trust Lawsuits Against the NBA


by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

For the foreseeable future, the only court that matters for NBA basketball players, owners, fans, partners, and all other interested parties, is the courtroom.

As expected, players filed anti-trust lawsuits against the League’s team owners, looking to get favorable results by filing separately in Minnesota and California.

CBS Sports breaks it down:

NBA players sued the league alleging antitrust violations Tuesday, in part using commissioner David Stern’s own words against him in making their case that the lockout is illegal. With two antitrust actions — one in California naming superstars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant among five plaintiffs, and another in Minnesota naming four plaintiffs — the players are seeking summary judgment and treble damages totaling three times the players’ lost wages due to what lead attorney David Boies referred to as an illegal group boycott.

The California case, filed Tuesday night in the Northern District, named plaintiffs who represent a wide array of players: Anthony, Durant and Chauncey Billups (high-paid stars); Leon Powe (a mid-level veteran); and Kawhi Leonard (a rookie). The plaintiffs in a similar case filed in Minnesota are Caron Butler, Ben Gordon, Anthony Tolliver and Derrick Williams. Boies said there could be other lawsuits, and at some point, they could be combined. It is possible, Boies said, that the players could get a summary judgment before the NBA cancels the entire season — essentially a two-month timeframe. By that point, with the clock starting on potential damages Tuesday — which was supposed to have been the first pay day of the season for the majority of players — treble damages could amount to $2.4 billion.

“We would hope that it’s not necessary to go to trial and get huge damages to bring them to a point where they are prepared to abide by the law,” Boies said.

Despite David Stern’s angry and dismissive remarks about the players’ shocking maneuver last week, the NBA and its lawyers will have no choice but to enter this legal battle, something they had hoped would never happen.

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  • kh

    wow! things just got serious!

  • http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2011/11/15/20111115_gametime_CBLOCK.nba/ IAMORANGE4EVER

    I agree with David Faulk, there is a 2 week window starting right now to save the season. When that window closes, there will be no 2011-12 NBA season. The hardliners on both sides need to be muzzled to allow a deal to get done. Click my name to listen to David Faulk speak about the current state of affairs…Faulk would be an excellent replacement for silly Billy.

  • http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2011/11/15/20111115_gametime_CBLOCK.nba/ IAMORANGE4EVER

    *Falk

  • Yesse

    This league is going to hell in a handbasket.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    @Nbak The illuminati is not concerned in trivial matters as politics, healthcare, or “lottery numbers.” It is purely focused on NBA basketball. The pentamatrix of the fifth dioses recognizes the geometrical relevance.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    EDDIE, GIVE ME LOTTERY NUMBERS……………

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    I’d feel like the players had some sort of leverage here, except for the fact that the owners can show financial documents that back up the fact that a majority of the teams are losing money. They can also justify all of their negotiating stances by showing how it enables all teams to be competitive regardless of the market they’re in. From what I’ve read, the players are basically building their case around a few Stern quotes and hoping that the courts will treat them the exact same way they treated the NFL…which was a completely different situation because most owners were making a profit.

  • http://null.com Anon

    Can the owners really show that they are losing money like they say they are? I doubt it. Plus I think it can be shown they weren’t bargaining in good faith

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Diesel
    Is the NBA a lose federation of related businesses or a single entity?
    If it is a federation it is illegal for them to band together to restrict work opportunities and control pay. If it is a single entity then the profits of the entire enterprise are equally as important as the performance of individual teams.
    The League has enough money to go around particularly at the 50/50 split. They just don’t want to share.

  • burnt_chicken

    ” In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the work stoppage. then you get the hard cap! Wait…..they did what?!?” –Davy Sterntana

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabriel-a-feldman/the-legal-issues-behind-t_2_b_1081107.html Allenp

    *loose federation.
    I don’t know enough law to speak definitively on this topic. But it seems like the entire professional sports system violates anti-trust laws. And that’s ok because they have unions. It’s not really about who is losing money, it’s about who violated existing law, and how the courts view things.
    The NBA has an advantage because the court system will even overlook obvious violations to protect the status quo and avoid too much upheaval for those in power.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The Illuminati sounds like a joke if you can’t give me a few paltry winning lottery numbers. And the owners filed an anti-trust suit in NY, the players in LA. The players lockout mascot is 2pac, the owners is Notorious BIG, both sides will prolly end up dead

  • http://wewew Zeiram

    If I´m the players you know who I would hire stat to replace Billy Hunter, a hint he rhymes with Garry Moon…

  • SesameBaller

    Time to get World Wide Wes involved! He is the man to consult now! Players, stop forcing a deal! Won’t work, will make owners angry, makes me personally angry!

  • MikeC.

    Maybe we can get Jackie Moon to negotiate this deal. It can all be settled with the Flint, Michigan Megabowl. I’m so exited I can’t feel my arms!

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    The NBA bargained in good faith and made concessions that they felt would sustain an economic model that would work in accordance to their finances. Stern has some good lawyers on his side as well, not to mention the accounting information that will back all of this up. Keep in mind that the NBA has anticipated this anti-trust law suit ploy for months now, and even filed a claim with the NLRB that “players never intended to sign a deal and always sought to find relief in the courts.” That will count in court.

  • BoWeezy24

    #Killuminati

  • fruizm

    i just really hope that everyone thats somehow related to the NBA (except regular employees) lose A LOT of money.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If the players never intended for a deal, they would have decertified in June or July. And the players have already conceded enough money to ensure a profit for the owners. It’s like you have literally no idea what is going on, you just listen to what Stern says and buy into it like a little kid on christmas morning.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    No, I listen to both sides of the argument, its just that the owners side makes more sense to me from a business perspective.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Want to put a reason behind that?

  • anthony y

    Their was no good faith from the owners from the start. All they have done is hold their hand out and say players save us from ourselves. When the players would resist stern would start with the threats and take it or leave it deals. Where is the good faith at? It seems as if the players position got a lot better..

  • robb

    they should’ve done this since july I agree. I wanna kill somebody right now.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    David Stern may have made some mistakes during these negotiations, but that doesn’t wipe out all the good things he’s done for the NBA. Those that allude he’s racist are ignorant and desperate. Most of the blame for this lockout still going on should be placed squarely on Billy Hunter (along with his sidekick Jeffrey Kessler) and the hardline owners. This lockout needs to be over ASAP for the good of the game.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ yup.

  • ThaWindy

    If Stern is willing to miss a season then I am too.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    @Iamorange word up. Finally the boy speaks some realness.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Add D-fish in there as well. Can’t believe he didn’t manage communication between players better.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The initial reports about the League’s lawsuit had the courts laughing at their claims and likely moving to quickly dismiss them. Google it.

  • bike

    “We would hope that it’s not necessary to go to trial and get huge damages to bring them to a point where they are prepared to abide by the law,” Boies said.
    Translation: The likelihood of proving the owners were not negotiating in good faith is about 1 in 100,000. We hope and pray that the owners and players will get together and resolve this out of court. If not, most likely the players will get their skulls crushed and I might feel a very, very tiny twinge of guilt charging them so much money.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t understand the animus for Billy Hunter.
    He negotiated, made tons of concessions, and then told player reps what the deal was and had them vote.
    Stern issued ultimatums, he lied, he name called and he presented deal after deal that were basically middle fingers to players. I mean, you go from guaranteed contracts to contract roll backs, non guaranteed deals and a hard salary cap and that’s supposed to fly?
    Come on.
    People just want the season to start, and since they don’t believe the owners will ever cave, they want the players to fall on the sword. It’s ludicrous. Blame the random 30 owners who have the NBA as side businesses, not the people who actually use their checks to support their extended families.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I read a story that noted that Paul Allen could have paid all of hte losses of the NBA himself, and it would have been like the average person spending $600. Think about that.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And I’m sorry I have to keep telling y’all this, but this lawsuit is not about negotiating in good faith.
    It’s about whether the 30 owners of the only professional mens basketball league in America can band together and refuse to pay players, or only pay them a certain amount of money.
    It’s like if every fast found restaurant had a meeting and decided that servers, cooks and managers could ONLY make a certain amount of money regardless of the business they worked for. That is illegal. It’s called collusion. That’s what the lawsuit will be about. Whether the lockout is proof of illegal collusion by the NBA now that they League no longer has a union to bargain with.

  • bike

    Seems like the key question is who stopped the negotiation process. The players will argue that Stern’s ultimatum forced them to go another route and the owners will argue that this is a ploy by the players to send this thing into the antitrust arena. If not a key question, it is a good one…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Didn’t Stern say that there were no more negotiations and that the players either take the deal on the table or the deal will reset?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    On more than 1 occasion he said that, or something similar with the same stipulation.

  • http://sportsnickel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/silvastpierre.jpg Jukai

    Bike: It could easily be showed that the players gave up far more concessions than the owners did. It could also easily be showed that even the 52% deal the players wanted would have put the league up 400 million, giving them a 100 million dollar profit (if you believe their numbers, and trust me, the courts are going to go through those numbers).
    And remember, the courts just have to rule that ONE THING is illegal… the lockout itself, the lack of good faith in contract negotiations, free agency, the draft, the salary cap… just one of those… and the momentum will swing entirely to the players. And the balance of power will be shot.
    The question is, can the players reallllly hold out until then.

  • bike

    I’m guessing that this is an attempt by the players to get the owners back to the table and hopefully not go to court. If it goes to court, as I understand, it could take up to half a year to get resolved. But…I think if it does go to court there is a pretty good chance this lockout would be deemed illegal. And the owners know it. It’s an awesome game of who stares down who…first.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Who here is an actual lawyer and understands the chances that the players will succeed? Anyone? If not, just sit back and listen to Eddie. Austin Rivers is a dud.

    Forever yours, Eddie, Associate Professor-Illuminati University

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Eboy is a lawyer.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Isn’t T-money an attorney as well? And Bodie?
    But, unless they specialized in anti-trust stuff, they likely wouldn’t be able to speak to closely. My brother is an attorney and I asked him, and he said that he would have to really examine the case. It can’t be that much of a slam dunk for either side, or it wouldn’t ahve gotten to this point.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I don’t think it really matters. Court is the threat, not the solution. This will get resolved outside of court.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    @AllenP would you agree that all of the players should have been allowed to vote, especially with so many careers (both players and those whose livelihood depends solely or mostly on their being a season)? I feel that this deal would have passed if it didn’t stop at the reps. Eddie

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    In an antitrust lawsuit, the players are accusing the owners of participating in anti-competitive behavior. That has absolutely nothing to do with good faith bargaining. The players would have to prove that the owners are working together in some sort of NBA form of price fixing. What the owners are going to argue is that they’re not price fixing, they’re simply trying to negotiate a contract where all of its members have an equal opportunity to be profitable. Now the question that Allen asked about how the NBA will be perceived in the courts..as a single entity or 30 separate smaller business…that’s what I don’t know. If the courts treat the NBA as a single entity that’s profitable, then the owners could be in trouble.
    @Allen – your Paul Allen comment – so your saying if someone approached you about an investment opportunity where you paid in $600 a year and never got a return on that investment…all you had was the hope that what you’re investing in will be worth more when you decide to cash out… you’d take it?

  • CubicleWorker

    Diesel, there is no point arguing about investing or accounting with Allenp. As educated as he sounds, he doesn’t know the difference between revenues and profits. That’s about all you need to know about how much weight his opinion holds.

  • CubicleWorker

    Let alone the fact that he doesn’t believe in the validity of GAAP or audited financial statements..

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Cubicle
    You keep arguing that if you like. Did you know that the rents paid by teams to arenas are counted as expenses, even if the owners own those same arenas? So, a team could be losing money based on its rent, even if the same person who owns the team owns the arena. And that’s perfectly legal under accounting rules. Hell, I was at a city meeting where the city council and police chief were ready to skin the auditor because he told them that the fund balances they saw on funds weren’t actually backed by real cash, just the promise that cash would be available at some point. And that was legal too.
    So what I know that accepted accounting practices are different from balancing a checkbook.
    But I suppose you didn’t bother to read the story by the union’s economist on his take on the League’s books.
    Diesel
    When you buy a house, how much money do you get out of it every year? Does it make money for you, or is the hope that you will continue to have the benefits of a house until the time you sell the house, at which point the house will have appreciated in value enough to make you money on the resale?
    And yes, I own a home.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    One last thing Cubicle.
    Show me the figures for the NBA’s costs, revenues and profits.
    Show me a breakdown of how much each team spends, what they spend it on and how much revenue they draw from each source.
    When you can show me that, you can convince me that all $300 million of the League’s losses are legit losses, AND that the larger enterprise that is the NBA is losing money.
    The NBPA’s economist said that cost for the League that were in effect when the CBA was signed years ago have remained constant as a percentage of revenue. Those costs that are associated with players and the general putting on of basketball.
    So that means, the League has incurred additional costs outside of the standard costs it had back then AND those costs are concentrated among certain owners, not spread amongst everyone. So basically, there seems to be a big pot of money, but some people are getting larger shares than others, and they refuse to spread the money to their “partners.”
    The idea that I don’t understand profits, revenues and expenses is funny. That cracks me up for real.

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    From the interview:
    NBA.com: Management cites rising costs in marketing, ticket sales and other areas.

    KM: Ask them to show you how much their costs have gone up as a percentage of BRI. Our moving from 57 to 52.5 covers more than 100 percent of any cost increase they’ve had.
    You can click my name if you’d like to read the interview. He’s not an objective source, but he’s definitely a credible one.

  • http://nbasobrietystrike.blogspot.com/ CoolWhip

    This is ‘heartbreaking’ info. I don’t know if I can forgive the NBA for doing this to me (see site)

  • blakos

    Get back in your cubicle

  • Ronald

    I own a construction company and agree completely with the Owners in there decision to lockout the players. Players are spoiled, selfish, and overpaid. They make more in a year then most people will make in a lifetime for dribbling a ball up and down the floor. If the Owners want to make more money that’s called business and the players should just accept it. Auto Unions have had to accept that fact and have settled on lower wages and benefits to keep their workers working. The players should realize they are blessed. I don’t exactly seeing Dwayne Wade or Lebron James making more money doing something else. They would be lucky to get a job at Foot Locker in this economy. Well maybe not Dwayne because Marquette graduates are well represented at Foot Locker. I say let them stay locked out for a year or two. It will teach them a lesson. The Owners will continue to make money from their other businesses while the players will get poorer and poorer.

  • CubicleWorker

    I think you’re commenting on things you really dont know about. And balancing a companies books are NOT like balancing a cheque book. They aren’t under GAAP, IFRS, CRA, IRA or any other accounting or government body. Clearly it would be a futile effort to explain that to you, or that your story of city council was like Accounts Receivable, which is not technically cash, but still an asset. It’s the reverse of paying for something with a credit card. It’s selling to someone on credit. Completely reasonable

  • CubicleWorker

    As far as the owners paying rents to themselves for arenas that also makes perfect sense.
    1) The arena`s are most likely seperate entities. The same arenas are shared with hockey teams, concerts etc. Those costs have to be split up. I dont really want to get into it, but if Clippers and Lakers don`t pay rents, then are the Kings supposed to pay for the entire arena costs?? The arena costs have to be allocated appropriately
    2) Other owners who don’t own arenas have to pay a tangible cost for rents. Why should they get to deduct rents from their bottom line and other owners, who have made the investment decision to purchase the arena, not be able to deduct them? There is a market value which represents…. actually this really isn’t worth it. I have a university degree with distinction in accounting lol.. there’s really nothing you can talk about that I can’t respond to but clearly you know everything on the subject *rollseyes*

  • CubicleWorker

    Infact that’s even a generous analogy because that $500 would likely be going into equity.

  • CubicleWorker

    I honestly don’t understand why you try to argue with me about accounting, economics and business instead of trying to use my knowledge on the subjects to further enhance your own understanding of the situation. From someone who tries to portray the educated voice of reason here on slam and infact has his own column it’s really baffling…

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    CubicleWorker, I love your posts (no joke). @AllenP’s comment of “you go from guaranteed contracts to contract roll backs, non guaranteed deals and a hard salary cap and that’s supposed to fly?”. I know that was the stance of the owners initially, but the last proposal that the league offered wanted none of those things (rollbacks, non-guarantees, hard cap) from the players, focusing instead on the 50/50 BRI split, luxury taxes, MLE, etc. Also, even Boies has said that the hope is to settle this before a judgement is made – essentially, they are using it as a bargaining tool, hoping that the owners cave in at the threat of a potential “triple rate” loss if the judge is in favor of the players. According to Ken Berger, “a disclaimer isn’t a stronger hand than decertification, and unlike decertification, bargaining talks cannot continue between the league and union. All that can result is a settlement reached by the attorneys — which at some point would take the form of a collective bargaining agreement if a simple majority of players voted to reinstate the union and the owners decided to recognize it. But that eventuality is a long way off, and it would be a moot point if a federal judge rules that the union’s disclaimer tactic is a sham.” Like I said, the players are taking a gigantic leap with this move. I was mistake when I had assumed that it was about bargaining tactics, “good faith”, etc, so I stand corrected on that.

  • Maniac

    Like I said yesterday, I think Allenp & nbk have made great points, though I don’t agree with all of them. Personally, I have a really hard time siding with the players. Here’s the thing: the idiots who work for ESPN and other commenters on SLAM keep pointing out how the players have “given back” money. People are missing that you can’t give back what you don’t have. It’s the owner’s money. I really don’t like how some of you guys think it’s fair to compare the owner’s money to the player’s money. So what if the owners are making billions… they’ve earned it (most of them). I don’t know the story behind every owner, but from what I do know, these guys are business geniuses and have earned the right to make billions whether the lower and middle classes likes it or not. I really don’t see the problem here of why this deal can’t be accepted. It’s really sad that some of the players actually believe that they “deserve” more. No matter how you slice it, NBA players still get the best deals compared to any other team sport. I already said that I don’t exactly agree with everything the owners want, but the majority is reasonable. The NBA is trying to protect their league. I’m not saying they are going about it the right way, but face it… It’s the owners league. Players should have been able to stay at 51%-52%, but otherwise the owners are right. I think that all of the people who are siding with the owners either A.) is taking it personal that these rich a$$ guys ultimately call the shots or B.) can’t come to grips with disagreeing with some of the athletes who hold a place in their heart; otherwise I really can’t comprehend how one can truly believe that the players have a legit reason to throw away a season because their bosses aren’t seeing them eye to eye. If some of these guys truly “love” the game, a few small issues would not be holding them back. Yes, the owners are being unfair about some things, but the players have to understand that they were never going to get it their way in the first place. Now, because of the fools in charge (Fisher, Hunter, etc…) and the even dumber player reps whom most probably don’t even know what is going on (a lot of these guys are just going by what they are being told), the season is in serious jeopardy. Even worse, the players probably passed up on the best deal they were going to get.

  • Maniac

    oops I meant: I think that all of the people who are siding with the players either A.) is taking it personal that these rich a$$ guys ultimately call the shots or B.) can’t come to grips with disagreeing with some of the athletes who hold a place in their heart; otherwise I really can’t comprehend how one can truly believe that the players have a legit reason to throw away a season because their bosses aren’t seeing them eye to eye.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    Thanks, Maniac, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get at. It seems that many of the people who side with the players without considering the owners side hold the view of A; that is, these are are just some rich white guys who want to treat the black players like “plantation workers” (which was a sentiment I couldn’t believe was actually being defended on this board) because they can. No, they are paying these players millions of dollars to play a freaking game. They may be a rich jerks, but its not as if the players are making peanuts. Just like the players have worked hard to get where they are, so have the owners. The league handsomely pays its players, and even under the new proposed model, they would be an enormous amount of money on average despite the cuts.

  • T-Money

    semantics. players can’t give back what they don’t have but the money that they’re talking about has yet to be generated and both sides feel entitled to it. no revenues if owners don’t invest in teams and infrastructure but also no revenues if players are not making fans pony up dough to be entertained. one can’t exist without the other and both feel they should get their fair share.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The owners are locking out the players. The Owners are asking for not just enough to cover their losses, but more. The players already get less now then they got in the past. And after this it will be even less. You think that’s going to be enough for the owners when they convene for the next CBA negotiations? Actually, do you really think the revenue split is what even matters in the current talks? Wouldn’t the owners be transparent with their finances as owners if they truly were losing as much as they claim? I don’t understand anyone that is on the side of the group that is holding the league hostage. If the players weren’t after a deal they would have decertified earlier. Concessions v Ultimatums for more concessions. This is supposed to be a negotiation.

  • Maniac

    Exactly, the owners are locking out the players. It’s not hard to realize that the owners put the power in the players hands once they gave “ultimatums”… if that’s what you want to call it. All the players had to do was get off their high horses and accept. The players are acting as if they are on strike. A union goes on strike when they feel they are not getting treated fairly by their employers (sound familiar?… that’s exactly what the players are crying about now). So what if the players are getting less. Ever heard of paycuts? If the owners are losing money, then the player’s must receive less. It’s simple business. There is nothing wrong with that. Like I said, I’m not sure of all the owner’s agendas and I can agree that maybe the owners are offering little less than the players are expecting, but there is very little that can be done about that. It’s not like there is a HUGE gap between the two. How can you say that it will be less next time. That is pure speculation. Do you know what the economy will look like 5-10 years from now? Even economists don’t so that can’t be proven. Why do you care about the future player’s contracts? I can say with confidence that most of the players aren’t TRULY considering the players of 10 years from now. They have their paychecks to worry about now. Why does that even matter? The future will take care of itself when the time comes. I can agree with some of you that claim that the owners ultimate goal is to get back control of the league. The %’s are cover ups. The owners don’t want anymore “Decisions”. What is wrong with that? Would you want your product being tampered with by the shenanigans of the players who want to team up on everyone else? It all depends on how the league does financially. The owners aren’t holding anyone hostage. The idiotic executives of the NBPA is holding the league hostage if you want to go there.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    What are you talking about? “Get off their high horses” The players dont have to compromise AT ALL. What was the consensus after the last lockout? Answer that. Then try and make sense of trying to rationalize what the owners are now demanding…..without showing any proof to back up their claims. If the owners can show a loss of money to the point where their current demands seem reasonable then I won’t have much of an issue with what they want.

  • Maniac

    And the players are full of s*** at this point. I am not going to claim if they wanted to deal or not, but I can say that they are f***ing themselves over, as well as the fans. Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher are politicians (in the business world). Most to all of politicians can’t be fully trusted. This goes for Stern and some owners as well. They are the ones making the decisions and “negotiating”. We truly don’t know what their agenda is. They could have had this planned prior to the summer for all we know. Here’s one thing… basketball players are not business men (most of them). They get paid to play basketball, not make executive decisions about masses of money. That has been proven by the fact that a lot of ball players have atrocious spending habits. This is why agents exist. These ignorant men (not all of them) are being manipulated by the executives of the NBPA who know the in’s and outs of BUSINESS. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Majority of the players don’t know what is really going on and know just as much as we do. We are missing a season because of all of this.

  • Maniac

    And yeah thanks ODB. You’re the one guy who I’ve completely agreed with throughout the past couple weeks; and I see you checked David Friedman out. He’s a real intelligent guy and I’ve been following his writings for the past couple years. His blog is ridiculous extensive.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    They have admitted this was the plan. And I’m not arguing that the players have essentially f*cked themselves and the fans. I am saying the owners outrageous demands and ultimatums. Asking for the Sun in the beginning and conceding your demands to just asking for the moon is not a “good faith” negotiating tactic. They initially proposed a 62/38 split in their favor. $500Million + 68% of $2Billion+ from $500Million + 42% of $2Billion+ was their original demand. The talks are now at 50/50 so obviously the owners look like they are compromising from what they originally proposed. But in reality, they are still asking for Billions of Dollars, Billions they haven’t proven to actually need.

  • Maniac

    nbk, Forbes financial calculations are completely independent of the NBA’s input. They have numbers showing loses. Check that out. Did you seriously just say, “the players dont have to compromise AT ALL”? Are you aware of the definition of the word “compromise”? Wikipedia: To compromise is to make a deal where one person gives up part of his or her demand… no explanation needed. Negotiation involves compromising. I don’t think there was any “consensus” after the last lockout; both sides “compromised”.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    Of course the players are going to get less now than they have in the past – have you seen the economy compared to the last CBA negotiations in 2005? Changes to the NBA’s economic model aren’t just a nagging preference by the owners, its a necessity. A 50/50 BRI split was mutually agreed upon; what the players are griping about is the restriction on player movement, and like I contended yesterday in another post, the owners want to restrict movement in order to prevent a top heavy league where small market teams continually suck and have to watch coveted superstars leave for big cities/markets while bolting their own. Yes, it reduces player salaries (though the league average will still be high), but ultimately it benefits the players because things like shorter contracts and changes in Bird right retentions allows for a more even playing field among the league’s teams, which in turn will generate more revenue (thus retaining more in BRI) since even teams like Charlotte and New Orleans can potentially get into the mix.

  • Maniac

    Do the players need those “billions”? The owners demands have not been outrageous.. though the 47% threat was out of line.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com OTB

    “They initially proposed a 62/38 split in their favor. The talks are now at 50/50 so obviously the owners look like they are compromising from what they originally proposed.” — So everything the players have done is genuine and in good faith, while everything the owners have done is shady with ulterior motives? A compromise is a compromise. A 50/50 split technically still puts players in a better position than the owners when it comes to the BRI because owners have to account for the EXPENSES they incur that helps generate revenue (such as marketing and promotions for ticket sales, for examples) while the players do not – they simply take 50% of the generated revenue, end of story.

  • Maniac

    I agree OTB. The owners are essentially protecting their product. They don’t want the superstars teaming up. Interesting we’re talking about this because some guys on ESPN are saying that LeBron is partly responsible for some of this lockout… which I agree.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    There are 450 players who don’t have multi million dollar businesses away from basketball. There are 29 owners who do. The other owns the Lakers. Who should split up
    The extra money in your opinion? Where you work, does your owner make more then all of his employees, combined? All I’m saying is, if this is truly about money and not control, prove it. Otherwise I’m going to trust the evidence infront of my face.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I’m fine with restricting movement, assuming the players get paid fairly. In a normal business you don’t choose where you work, but you also get to take the best offer you get. It is one without the other. Not both. You are saying the owners should have the ability to limit how much the players make, while restricting where the players play, and taking half of the money from their labor. We don’t go to watch the owners. Remember that.

  • Maniac

    It is not the owners fault that they are ridiculously rich and the players aren’t. That’s the economy and how the world works. Sorry if that hurts anyone’s feelings. The guys who are billionaires worked their way up there… positively or negatively doesn’t matter. It sounds to me as if this is getting personal with some people. Stop comparing the NBA to the rest of the working world. It isn’t the same. The players are employees, but they are also products. It is not a law that the owners have to “spread the wealth”. It doesn’t matter how much the owner makes. That should not be a concern. IT IS THEIR BUSINESS. NBA players are not paid like normal people so their financial situations can’t be compared to normal people. If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett owned teams, would you complain that the richest guys in the world don’t want to give the players a lot of money for playing a sport? I’m sorry that these old white guys are good with money and happen to have a networth greater than everyone in my family combined for the past ten generations, but that’s how the world works. I never said it was about money. I agreed that control has somewhat to do with this.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    They get $500 million before the BRI split to cover expenses. I realize it doesn’t cover all expenses, but it covers a good chunk. So $500M/30 = Roughly $16.5M per team for expenses. Plus approximately $53M each owner took home from the BRI split. Plus the extra revenue from the money not included in the BRI, and these owners can’t cover costs? Not to mention tax exemptions and the “depreciation of assets” (which is code for a tax break because your players get older everyday, even if the team has technically gotten younger).

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Stop worrying about how much anyone makes. The players get paid great because they earn that money. We pay to watch them. I’m not comparing them to the working world. I’m comparing the business practices of the owners to what is right. The last group of owners that drove their players to the point of holding out because they weren’t being fair was Major League Baseball. You want that in the NBA? Cuz if we did want this to be like the working world, where corporations have multiple franchises that share revenue, that is what the NbA will look like. Like I’ve
    Been saying this whole conversation, I wouldn’t have a problem with the owners demands if they were justified, but they aren’t, they are out for blood.

  • Maniac

    And yes I know we watch the players, but people have to remember that we CAN’T watch the players the way that we do without the owners. Look, I am not one to complain that athletes get overpaid. If one understood that the players are the actual product, then it is not hard to comprehend that they are properly compensated for their work. With that said, the players can’t just be handed millions of dollars for playing a game and be able to do whatever they want. The owners should be able to dictate what is going on in their league.

  • Maniac

    I’m not worrying about how much someone makes. That was you who was throwing out numbers. And I’m sorry, but not all players earn their money. That’s fact man. Being born with physical gifts and height does not mean you earn your money. Yes, the SUPERSTARS, which is a very small percentage of sporting leagues, earn their money, but not all athletes. I think the point that the owners call the shots is being missed here.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Your still not justifying the owners taking more money and making more regulations to restrict the players. I showed you numbers to try and help you realize what the owners are claiming can’t possibly be true. It had nothing to do with what the players make. And you are clearly focused on that, in the same comment as saying “I’m not worrying about how much someone makes.” you say “Yes, the SUPERSTARS, which is a very small percentage of sporting leagues, earn their money, but not all athletes.”. Stop focusing on how much each guy makes, it evens out. 50 % of revenue is 50% of revenue. As for every dollar that is overpaid, there is a dollar underpaid somewhere else. Yes the majority of that money is sacraficed by the superstars, but they are players sacrificing what they could make for the greater good of the league. The Owners are not giving up anything by giving some guys more than they deserve. That idea is a fundamental problem in your line of thinking.

  • BBaller

    Are the people who support the players on this, over the age of 18?
    Have they worked for more than a decade? Do they believe just because you’re in the NBA you should be paid $millions!Rookies fighting for 500k plus, GTFOH.Go get a real job that sucks for $10 an hour and do it for 10 years then you’ll see a different perspective.Players are greedy, all wanna be paid like Mike.

  • http://sportsnickel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/silvastpierre.jpg Jukai

    BBaller: Hate to be mean, but you only work $10 an hour because you have no valuable skills, bro. You’re at the bottom of the food chain. My internships paid more than that.
    When you’re at the top of your industry, you have the right to demand insane amounts of money. You know, like the owners are trying to do.
    Good for Allenp and NBK still quoting sources and explaining things logistically in every post, and guys like OTB and Maniac saying “THAT’S NOT VALID” and giving their opinions. It’s like saying, “well 2+2=4″ and hearing others say “oh come on, THOSE TWOS DIDN’T WORK TO GET TO BE THAT FOUR!!!! THOSE TWOS ARE GREEDY!”

  • bails1

    I think Russ Bengston’s sneaker collection should be the mediator. The passion for this game is too indescribable. I find myself on Thursday nights so confused why i can’t see Wall get more than 5 steals or Reke euro-step two trees. It has come to this yet again. I’m with you SLAM like always. We have gotten through this before and we will again. After one of the best seasons I have seen, it is disheartening to have to bum everyone out. Lay-up lines helped but they are not gonna get us through this. NBA TV really needs to step it up during this and not show the same three games for a month. It would be nice if they had top tens and current AND old school games and docs like NFL TV. Been down since day one and I have never been so upset with my favorite sport.
    .

  • Justin

    A lot of what they’re saying is opinion also. “The owners don’t completely open up their books so in my opinion they’re lying” is basically what they’re saying. Both sides have very valid arguments but the ones that are complaining that the owners shouldn’t be the ones in control are completely wrong. I also think it’s a joke that it’s OK for players to collude when it comes to playing together and discussing what each is willing to get paid in order to make it happen but it’s illegal if the owners are getting together (nearly impossible to prove in court I would think) to try and counterbalance what the players are trying to do

  • Mike From Spain

    @Maniac: Whoah, I didn’t see that one coming… Lebron is to be blamed for the lockout, I like that.

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    Like I said a long time ago, the lockout boils down to whether you think players are lucky to make the money they make, or whether you think they earned the money they make.
    Lots of people attribute their high salaries to luck. Thus, they should just be content with continuing to be lucky, if slightly less lucky.
    Lots of folks have been trained to believe that rich businessmen attained their riches through a higher level of intelligence and hard work. Athletes just hit the genetic lottery.
    If that’s what you believe, there is no way to reason you away from that position. One group in the Lockout equation is clearly inferior in your opinion and they should be paid as such.
    That’s all there is to this debate.

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    Justin
    You should research antitrust law and figure out why workers are allowed to band together and why business owners are not.
    Like seriously, there is a history behind all the laws we have in this country.
    And I said that if you make a claim, prove it. That should be standard operating procedure particularly when the numbers that have been released show you make $2.14 billion a year to divide between 30 teams AFTER you’ve paid your largest expense, which is labor.
    Show my how you are losing money. What are you spending money on? What are your revenue sources? There reasons why owners don’t want to have a really robust revenue sharing program is because they know that many of their fellow owners are doing a piss poor job of managing their assets, and they don’t feel like they should have to subsidize incompetence. hell, that’s been talked about from the beginning of the lockout. So, instead of the owners subsidizing each other, they’ll get the money from the players. Come on man, this is basic stuff.

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    Cubicle
    You have more knowledge than me of accounting practices.
    What you also have is a clear willingness to overlook salient facts that weaken your position, which you’ve basically admitted in the past.
    That’s intellectually dishonest.
    You know the League hasn’t opened its books to prove its claims, and yet you’ve taken them as fact. That’s because that’s what you want to do.
    I don’t have to prove something is not true, the person making the claim has to prove that it IS true.

  • CubicleWorker

    So I doubt this will show up, but the only fact I ever didn’t acknowledge was the $500M off the top expenses because I hadn’t done research on what it consisted of (which apparently neither have you) THAT $500M COVERS PLAYER LUXURIES LIKE PRIVATE JETS, TEAM BUSSES, 5 STAR HOTELS ETC. Of course those should be deducted from BRI. You still haven’t acknowledged that though…

  • CubicleWorker

    And the league has opened its books… to its stakeholders. They aren’t obliged to show them to the public. They may have to show them to municipal governments but that doesn’t mean they have to be made public for the world to see. NBA isn’t a publicly traded company. Get your head out of your ass

  • CubicleWorker

    That $500M isn’t expenses to cover the costs of the business, it’s to cover player luxury expenses. I’m sure the owners would be willing to add back that $500M if the players agreed to stay in Super 8′s and take the greyhound but nobody wants that so its not a dispute.

  • Justin

    You really should stop with the condescending posts. “Basic stuff” to you is not so basic to others, especially if they don’t live in your country where your laws are different. It is amusing to me that you don’t think the players are equally at fault though. You keep preaching that back in ’99 it was considered a victory for the owners. Well, it looks like that wasn’t the case after all, especially with the economic downturn of the past 5 years. You talk about the owners doing a piss poor job of managing their assets but the players are just as bad. Like I said before, there are valid arguments to both sides (although I don’t recall you ever seeing the owners’ side on one issue but I also do not come on here 12 hours a day either) and it’s sad that it’s come to this

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    Cubicle
    Where players stay is not contractually obligated. Each team decides how they travel and where they stay.
    You do realize that, right?
    Players used to travel by coach and stay in regular hotels. But the problems with logistics once the League expanded to 30 teams and began playing so many games on the far West Coast changed that.
    Owners made that decision because it made it easier to put on games, not because they are obligated to do so by players. Just like owners decide what type of training facilities they have, what type of staff they employee, what types of meals they provide for players. These are all costs decided by owners. Some provide one thing, others provide something else.
    Cubicle, what do you imagine is the “cost of the business”? There is $4.3 billion total.
    Players receive $2.16. That’s your largest salary cost, and the one that owners have the least amount of direct control over.
    Then you have $500 million for the “luxury” costs related to transporting players to 41 away games and lodging and feeding them.
    Now, you have, $1.64 billion divided among 30 owners to pay all other costs not related directly to players.
    That includes coaches, general managers, scouts, advertising reps, whatever.
    I have no idea how much each team spends on this. Neither do you. What I do know is that the players have agreed to drop their percentage from $2.16 billion to $1.9 billion.
    It seems to me, that the real problem here, the one that so many fans gloss over, is that the owners don’t want to share money with each other. There is a way for all of them to make a healthy profit through revenue sharing, but the rich ones don’t want to give away their money because they believe the less rich ones don’t deserve it because they are poor businessmen.
    It’s funny to me that so many fans assume that the owners are shrewd business men despite the fact that their colleagues clearly don’t agree, despite the fact that these same fans (erroneously) believe the owners got hosed in the last collective bargaining agreement, and despite the fact that many of these owners recently paid a PREMIUM to join the NBA.
    I just don’t get it. YOu believe these very smart hardworking people have such little respect from their peers, and have track record of making poor business decisions and that’s not even including giving Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas $200 million.
    How do you reconcile all these clearly conflicting beliefs?

  • http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html Allenp

    And I seriously, seriously doubt it costs $500 million just to pay for charter flights and lodging. That’s not keeping with the rates available for public consumption on how much those things cost.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The league is bigger. Bigger than it was during the last negotiations. Bigger than it has ever been. Just like the recessions of the past, sports league’s thrive when people have no money for vacations and their usual leisure activities, so they spend more time on local entertainment. If the owners can’t show how they are losing money then there is no reason to just believe them. Logically explain how the owners are right, not based on what David Stern says too the media. Based on the factual evidence that has been presented. Believing what the owners are saying at this point is like believing the tooth fairy exists, to the point where your complaining that she is underpaid.

  • CubicleWorker

    Ok so $1.64B is revenue that goes to teams. That means under $55/million per team. Is it really unfathomable to see how $55M gets spent on non player expenses?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It isn’t unfathomable, but, if they aren’t willing to prove it, why am I supposed to take them for their word?

  • CubicleWorker

    They have presented audited financial statements to the players union. Also I found out today that under the previous CBA the NBPA has the rights to look at 5 different teams audited financial statements per year… why haven’t they been doing that prudently on an annual basis?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The players union is under terrible leadership. and I didn’t know about their right to audit 5 teams. Does that financial information pertain to all finances, or just those that have an effect on BRI? Also what audited financial information did they present to the players? And where did you read that?

  • CubicleWorker

    Was listening to ESPN radio, source: Stephen A. Smith. They have access to any 5 teams audited financial statements. So that includes any financial information under the reporting corporate entity (aka the team they chose). I beleive the information presented to the NBPA is the consolidated financial statements, which would consist of the aggregate of every teams audited financial statements (basically a summary of every teams financials). That’s the report that would show the bottom line $300M loss or w.e they claim it is. So from my understanding, the option to look at 5 teams per year would give some indication of that bottom line consolidated number. Over the course of 5 years then they would be able to reasonably look @ almost every teams financials (and could make educated estimates pertaining to that teams numbers in future years).

  • CubicleWorker

    Basically they could do analytical procedures to estimate whether that $300M loss is plausible or not. Although the purpose of the independent audit is to provide assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatements. Basically, the financials of the league shouldn’t (and in fact no longer are) be in question of the NBPA.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I understand that the players are no longer hung up on the financial situation, their current offer guarantees a profit for any decently run organization (is what they said), it’s about the owners trying to make it so a player’s rights to pursue market value are totally restricted to be followed with the aformentioned % drop in income. It doesn’t make any sense to support the owners taking total advantage of their power. They are restricting all of the players rights in pursuit of a system similar to the NHL. A league with nowhere near the revenue stream of the NBA. I support the stated goals of the owners, profit + competitive balance. But I don’t support how the owners are going about trying to achieve those goals. (for the record, I don’t really “support” the players either, their decision making and courage -up until now, which seems more like blind courage- have had about as positive of an impact on this situation as Donald Sterling has had for the Clippers.)

  • theakinet

    1. Profit/loss is irrelevant to anti-trust law.
    2. “Good-faith” negotiations are irrelevant to anti-trust/labor law.
    3. There is no such thing as a “sham” disclaimer/decertification…However, if Hunter/Fisher/Exec Comm. continued to negotiate *directly* with NBA owners then courts would delay anti-trust case until they stopped negotiating.

    BTW the NBA players are 3-0 in anti-trust cases. Oscar Robertson 1971-1976, Oct 1987 decertification, 1995 *threat* of decertification.

  • http://jackiemoon.com Jackie Moon

    Haha looks like Jackie Moon did get a deal in place!

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