Roadblocks to Labor Deal: Team Contraction, More Drug Testing?

by November 14, 2011

According to Yahoo! Sports, some of the biggest issues standing between the League and its players’ union include contraction of teams in the future, and more rigid drug-testing (items that weren’t really discussed during this weekend’s aggressive media blitz): “One of the most prominent issues that has been raised in talks includes the NBA’s desire to cut into the players’ share of the revenue split should owners decide to contract teams over the proposed 10-year deal, sources said. The owners are offering a 50-50 split of revenue, but the possible elimination of two teams would cause the BRI to be adjusted with a smaller percentage for the players, sources said. The NBA also wants to be able to contract teams without consulting the union. In a coordinated Twitter push on Sunday, Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver were said to be answering questions for fans. In an answer to a question about team contraction, the league officials responded that it ‘had been discussed,’ and that it was not a ‘complete solution.’ Also, the NBA wants to conduct out-of-season drug testing of players, including testing for some drugs and performance-enhancing substances that could only be done through blood samples. Currently, the NBA does random in-season testing of urine samples for such drugs as marijuana and cocaine. If the players were to vote to accept the terms of the owners’ current proposal, the litany of B-list issues – including contraction, drug testing, Developmental League assignments and draft age eligibility – would still have to be agreed upon. There’s a growing belief that Stern doesn’t have the ownership support to pass the very proposal he’s been pushing all weekend, and that owners would ultimately kill this deal with the list of non-negotiable B-list issues the players would oppose. This way, the league can say it worked hard to cut a fairer deal with players, but in the end, the owners will get the draconian ‘reset’ proposal that many of them have wanted all along.”