Saturday, November 26, 2011

Predictably NBA Settles On New CBA & Next Steps

News broke early Saturday that the players and the NBA have agreed to a new deal. Technically, since the players disclaimed interest (or blew up the Union), these were settlement discussions and not CBA negotiations.

Even in the face of the Union disclaiming interest, this case had a profile for settlement. The sides were a couple of percentage points aparts. Bridging that gap by itself wasn't going to do it though (ie, meeting in the middle). There were also system issues that needed to be addressed as well, such as free agency rules and the luxury tax.

The key was striking a comfortable balance between revenue sharing and system issues. Once that was accomplished, we would have a deal. We haven't seen details of deal - however that is likely the scenario.

This is why I put a picture of a see saw on this blog a few weeks ago. Strike that balance and we have basketball again.

As I've said on Offside for some time, these were fairly obvious areas of compromise and that meant likely settlement.

Remember this: once and only once has a North American lost an entire season to a labor disruption and that was the NHL in 2005.

It wasn't going to happen here - not given how close the parties were to settling.

A report will follow on the key points of the new agreement once the terms are made public. I suspect we will be looking at a 50-50 split but we shall see. That will help the players safe face.

Next steps:

1) Sides will hold press conference, which will be filled with tired smiles and hugs.

2) Players will be informed of deal and then will vote to reform the Union (assuming they are ok with it). Right now, they don't have a Union because they disclaimed interest, which dissolved the Union and turned into a trade association. Now they reform or reclaim interest. This is akin to Superman flying around the earth backwards to turn back time (or like that Cher video on the navy ship). To reform, need a majority of the 450 NBA players (51%) and the NBA to recognize the Union. The players will also asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

3) Negotiate non-economic issues like drug testing and league discipline. Can't negotiate these if don't have Union.

4) The sides then vote on new deal (move to approve or ratify). Need the majority of NBA teams and players to vote "yes" - so that's 15 of 29 teams (league owns Hornets).

The NBA is aiming to open training camp on December 9, and to allow teams to sign players and make trades starting on that same day. The NBA also plans to start the season on Christmas with a triple-header.

Only once the CBA is signed will the lockout be lifted. Informal lockout may start earlier.

In the NFL we saw a lot of injuries that many blamed on short training camps. It remains to be seen if we will see the same with the NBA.

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