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Report: Players Association still considering filing collusion charges against league

Jul 19, 2010, 11:24 AM EST

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for stern ASW.jpgIn today’s latest sign that a lockout is coming next year and will seriously damage the sport:

The NBA Players Association is still considering filing collusion charges against the owners, according to the Sports Business Journal today. This had been considered before, but it had been quiet, so some thought the issue had been dropped.

Nope.

What has held them back is that proving collusion in a court of law will be very hard to do. The report notes they almost need a “smoking gun.”

Here’s the facts: Last summer the NBA was warning teams that basketball related revenue was falling and that would mean a drop in the salary cap this summer. The league projections said the cap could drop below $51 million, more likely in the $53 million range, from the $57.7 million it was this season.

Then the salary cap numbers were released for next year, and the salary cap is actually going up to $58 million. That means basketball revenue went up last season.

If you are a member of the Oliver Stone Conspiracy of the Month Club, you would say that the NBA released the possibly dramatically lower revenue and cap numbers to artificially lower salaries. Teams cut spending on players based on those lower projections, saving money on what they would have spent if they knew the cap would be flat or up a little.

Of course, the reality is that a year ago the economy was in much worse shape and now, while we can discuss whether there is a double-dip recession on the horizon or not, things are better than they were. Spending was up.

But NBA officials will tell you that revenue was up because of deep discounts in tickets and other inventive steps taken by the teams during the recession.

After a Board of Governor’s meeting — the owners — in Vegas last week, David Stern said they still lost $370 million last year.

Here’s what all this really means for fans: The owners are still very set on changing the economic structure of the game with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They want shorter contracts, non-guaranteed contracts, they want to bring down the money spent on deals. The players see the revenue numbers go up and think collusion.

We are headed for a lockout people. And nobody seems to think there is a way to stop this train wreck.

  1. Haha,... - Jul 19, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…
    Can’t prove the LeBron collusion so you can’t prove the owners are colluding. LOL!

  2. Petey - Jul 19, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    “We are headed for a lockout people. And nobody seems to think there is a way to stop this train wreck.”
    Meh. We’re watching a game of chicken. When you play chicken, sometimes a car goes off the cliff, and sometimes it doesn’t.
    Less metaphorically, we’ll either get a settlement right before the deadline, after we lose two weeks of games, or after a nuclear NHL type of breakdown.
    We do know it’s going to be ugly. We just don’t know if we’re going lose games. Or seasons…

  3. Kirk - Jul 19, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Just imagine starting your own company and even though you treat them well your top employees start telling YOU how things are going to be !
    Let’s have a couple years without NBA basketball. After 2 years of flipping hamburgers the players will be MUCH happier after the league resumes ! Without it the players will NEVER be completely happy. They make mad money now and aren’t happy. They sign for more money than a sane person will ever spend and their happy until they hear about someone else signing for more then next day. The agents and the union telling them hold out for more money will NEVER end. And unfortunately, these men who’ve achieved their life’s dream will now spend their time focusing on only chasing more and more money.

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