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David Stern threatens NBA season as negotiating tactic

Sep 28, 2011, 6:49 PM EDT

David Stern AP

Everything David Stern says right now to the media is spin. Everything is designed to put pressure on the NBA players and get a deal the owners like. (It’s the same for Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher, save they are trying to pressure the owners.)

But he stepped up the rhetoric after Wednesday’s negotiating session. Following two days of talks that have seen enough progress to warrant larger talks on Friday featuring owners and players negotiating committees, Stern decided to throw down the gauntlet (a quote reported several places including TrueHoop).

“Let’s get the two committees in and see if they can either have a season or not have a season. That’s what’s at risk this weekend.”

Stern also was going to threaten to cancel the entire NBA season if real progress was not made this weekend, ESPN reported. Something Stern and the league denied.

Be clear, this is not a total bluff — if there is not a handshake deal by the end of the weekend the first regular season games are in danger.

But David Stern is threatening the entire season now because he wants a deal now. On his terms. We don’t know exactly what those terms are, we don’t know exactly what the latest suggestions by the owners have been, but they appear to include a dramatic change in the division of basketball related income (the players offered 54 percent as their take, the owners suggested 48 percent), a reduction in the exceptions that allow teams to exceed the salary cap, and a much more stiff tax on the teams that do exceed it.

The players are not likely to be bullied by Stern’s tactics. The question is can they live with some variation of that deal?

Stern and the owners also wanted salary rollbacks, which likely would be a line the players will not cross without a lot of games missed. The players also will not allow league revenue to be decoupled from the salary cap — as league revenues go up with new television deals they want a piece of that money.

But is there really a deal in all that to be made? Maybe. If both sides are willing to give a little more.

If not games will certainly be lost. But to threaten the entire season is a bit much.

  1. lampe21 - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Stern is a joke always has been I hope the players take there show overs seas

  2. irish2u2 - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    This whole lockout isn’t so much about money as it is David Stern’s ultimate power play. Stern has always had an agenda and that agenda is to gain power. Now he stands at the cusp of being the ultimate power in the league. Not the players. Not the owners. Not the agents. Not even the fans. David Joel Stern. This what he has worked for all these years. Every one of his dogmatic decisions from who to ban and for how long to what the players wear to their games has been a carefully planned and executed mission to become the defacto face of pro basketball. I’d be willing to bet Stern hates the players and maybe doesn’t even like the owners but he does like power and now he can grab it.

    This guy is angling to be the face of basketball and the ultimate irony is I doubt he ever really played the game. As far as I am concerned all that is bad with pro basketball begins and ends with David Stern and my ultimate nightmare is about to come to fruition. Stern will win a favorable deal for the owners after losing part or all of the season and then there will be “parity” between the 30 teams of the league. They will all suck.

  3. eltex - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    please, let it end. no one cares about the NBA anyway. all the basketball we need can be from the colleges. let the NBA just go away. no one will even miss it.

  4. wettennis - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Players don’t give in. The big bosses are making their money over your backs.

  5. kickingiant - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Hail the Dallas Mavericks. Only team to hold the championship for two years winning only 4 finals games.

  6. paulfountaine - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    Go ahead David, it will make it much clearer how little the NBA really means to us, and maybe all you folks can go find real jobs.

  7. berbes - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    millionaires vs. billionaires and no nba for us…hmmm, who do i hate more?

  8. jollyjoker2 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Na… outsource the NBA. .If the owners can’t make money, let em all play in europe at a higher price. ! Ain’t that the american way noadays!

  9. jwformersonicfan - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    After the way that Stern has managed all of the NBA teams so far, I can’t believe that all of the owners and the players haven’t left anyway. He is a scum sucker, at best. Here’s hoping that the NBA disbands and Stern has no job to go to. He does not deserve to have a job. How about being the GM of the teams that he has let transfer to other cities. Go to hell, Stern. You are a pig!!!!!

  10. denverdude7 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    Mr. Stern,

    Don’t just say it. Do it !!! Cancel the season now and do the country a favor. Bron-Bron can choke in the clutch in China or some other foreign country.

    The NBA is dead, you just forgot to bury it.

  11. treetops1957 - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I like NBA basketball. Let’s compare this situation with the NFL. NBA players have a much better situation. NFL union is much weaker. Were you saying during the NFL labor situation that they should just cancel the season? If you’re not a fan of the NBA then why even comment here?

  12. asublimeday - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    I’d love to get a running start and kick David stern in the junk.

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