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Former Stern right hand man not optimistic about CBA negotiations

Mar 7, 2011, 12:44 PM EDT

Russ Granik Getty Images

You remember Russ Granik as the guy everyone cheered for when he came out to announce the second round of the NBA Draft every year (until he retired).

Granik did more than just that and pick up David Stern’s dry cleaning as NBA Deputy Commissioner, however, he was the NBA’s lead negotiator when the last Collective Bargaining Agreement was hammered out.

This time around he’s outside the room, an interested observer. But he told Sam Amick of NBAConfidential (bookmark that site) that things look tough.

“I think the NBA has a more difficult problem (than the NFL), because it’s harder to see where there’s an easy compromise. On a relative basis, they’re looking for greater moves by the players and I think it’s going to be more difficult. They’ve got a lot of smart people on both sides, so hopefully they’ll come to a good conclusion.”

Part of it is that while the NFL has started to feel the pressure of real deadlines — and the immediate threat of a lockout — to push negotiations along, the NBA has not gotten there yet. Granik said progress tends not to be slow and steady on these things but to move in big leaps.

“Nobody really gives up anything important until it’s all done. It’s always got to all be part of a package, because nobody wants to give something unless they know where they’re going. So if you’re not in the room, and even if you are sometimes, it’s hard to know where you are. But it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a deal. And so when the parties are ready, they’ll get the deal done.”

Granik also had an interesting point about revenue sharing — it’s ultimately about the big number, the percent of basketball-related income (BRI) that goes to the players that determines what they make. How the owners divide it up should not bother the players.

“I don’t really think it should matter to the players (if revenue sharing is negotiated in the CBA) if you have a salary cap… But in the leagues that have salary caps, there’s already a minimum team salary, so whatever happens the players get 57 percent (of basketball-related income). At the end of the day, players get 57 percent. That’s how it works. And so, revenue sharing is not going to change that. It might affect who gets it, but it’s not going to affect what the players get. So I think there ought to be less concern when you’ve got a salary cap system on the part of the players about how the owners share revenue. You know you’re going to get your cut.”

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