Now that I have a full-time occupation, expect these posts to come more in the evening. David Stern, just like he currently is, had his whipping stick ready with Billy Hunter about to take the brunt of the blows. Tim Povtak did a spectacular job relating this work stoppage article mostly towards Magic fans. Povtak referenced the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Rony Seikaly, and Penny Hardaway. Then you have Orlando player representative Danny Schayes showing his frustration over the lack of progress and how the owners weren't being very eager to negotiate a new CBA. Sound familiar?
If the owners win the labor/management battle that has paralyzed the NBA, more than just the economics of the game are going to change.
They won't call it ``a player's league,'' anymore.
In addition to the new revenue sharing plan they want to institute - taking away the salary cap exceptions that have allowed payrolls to skyrocket - the owners and the league officials also want to regain the leverage they once had over the players.
In the proposal that was submitted to the players during last week's bargaining session, there were a number of dramatic changes from the previous collective bargaining agreement.
For example, the NBA:
Wants to prohibit any player option to terminate a contract early to become a free agent. That is the clause that allowed Shaquille O'Neal to leave the Orlando Magic and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, and the clause that Penny Hardaway is expected to exercise next summer.
Wants to require players to train under team supervision in the off-season.
Wants the right to terminate a contract if a player refuses to report to his new team after a trade. This likely would have forced former Magic center Rony Seikaly to report to Utah last season after he was traded instead of forcing the Magic to look for a lesser deal.
Wants twice-a-year drug testing for veterans. In the past, only rookies were tested. Marijuana would be added to the banned substances.
Wants authority to terminate a players's contract if he engages in violence against a team employee, an official or a fan. This is designed to avoid another situation such as the one involving Latrell Sprewell, who attacked his coach at Golden State but had his contract re-instated by an arbitrator after his suspension was served.
Wants players who are waived with guaranteed contracts to be required to play in the Continental Basketball Association or forfeit their contracts.
The players union will offer its response Tuesday when the two sides meet again in New York. The union negotiating committee, which includes 15 players, is expected to finalize its proposal during a meeting Monday.
``We still don't agree with a lot of things in their proposal,'' said Patrick Ewing, president of the players union. ``There is still a lot of work to be done.''
There are some dramatic economic issues also that have the players concerned. The owners want to put a maximum salary on the stars, making sure no individual player's contract is worth more than 30 percent of a team's salary cap. Michael Jordan, for example, was paid $33 million last season with the team's salary cap at $26.9 million. Under the owner's proposal, he would have been limited to approximately $8 million.
The owners proposal also would limit year-to-year increases in a contract to just 5 percent, or 7.5 percent for a veteran free agent who has been with his team for three or more years. Under the old agreement, raises were limited to 20 percent.
``There is a lot of progress to be made, but we still have the feeling that we're the only ones negotiating,'' said Magic center Danny Schayes, who is part of the union's negotiating team. ``It's like trying to clap one handed.''
Schayes will be at Monday's union meeting, but likely won't stick around for Tuesday's bargaining session. He is not optimistic about reaching a deal anytime soon. The NBA has promised that unless the two sides make dramatic progress on Tuesday, regular-season games will start being canceled on Wednesday.