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What stands in way of deal? Issues around high-spending teams.

Nov 10, 2011, 10:56 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six Getty Images

We’re on the cusp of an NBA labor deal and games, but we’re not all the way there.

What stands in the way comes down to this — the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title last season with the third highest payroll in the league, and the Lakers the two titles before that with payroll at the top of the league. Small market owners see that, see what LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony did — leaving smaller markets to play in bigger ones with more stars — and freaked out.

Small market owners want to tie the hands of big market owners to just spend. The players want those big market owners to have the means to spend if they want.

Multiple reports say basically that is where we are stuck. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com summed it up well.

Union president Derek Fisher had made clear that, in return for that willingness to negotiate further on the economics, it was expected that the league relax its position on several system-related deal points — chiefly dealing with additional penalties for repeat offenders above the luxury tax, a prohibition of sign-and-trade transactions for tax teams, and the size, length and frequency of mid-level signings for tax teams.

The owners have said from the start — and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver emphasized again last night — that they see the financial and system items as totally separate. You can’t trade one for the other in their eyes, even though that is essentially what they are doing.

The players want teams paying the luxury tax to be able to use the full mid-level exception at $5 million, the owners proposal calls for a mini mid-level of $2.5 million for tax paying teams they can only use every other year. Basically, the owners want to make it very hard for the Miami Heat to bring in good role players every year. The players think that if teams are willing to pay the tax to spend, they should be able to.

That is where it stands. The two sides will sit down in a room again at noon and try to clear those last hurdles.

  1. sfoens - Nov 10, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Since the inception of the NBA in the late 1940s, nearly 3/4ths of the championships have been won by the large market teams. Basically, what the players are saying is that they will only play where they want to play. That means the championships will only be won by the Lakers,Celtics, Knicks, Heat, Bulls, and maybe the Mavericks. Your local team doesn’t stand a chance of competing. This is one of the many reasons I’ve turned away from the MBA.

    • n2thaizzo - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      Why can’t the other teams figure out how to raise more revenue instead of figuring how to cut expenses?

  2. dcipher80 - Nov 10, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Why is this an issue!?! I can’t think the rank and file player wants to blow the system up on the ability of the best most star studded line ups in the leagues getting better.

  3. chargerdillon - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    So what I gather is that when a business can’t stay afloat, it either disolves or is sold off.

    When companies in America started losing major money because of zonging laws and taxes, you know what they did? THEY RAN FOR THE FREAKIN BORDER, they found a place where the could financially operate and still be successful.

    There’s your business model for the future of the NBA. NBA teams existing in ONLY LARGE MARKETS! You’ve got your LA, New York, Boston, and from there you have other big markets like NORTH AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE, AFRICA!

    Guess what just because Michael Jordan our all american fanboy cant afford to pay players on his team, Mikhail Prokov (name butchering) can afford to and THATS WHY HE’S AN OWNER!

    All we need to do for the NBA work without the pathetic-not-rich-enough-wannabes is bring in BIG MONEY PLAYERS. Make a definite rule that to be an owner in any capacity you must have a certain level of money that goes above and beyond all operating costs, so that at no time can their be an excuse from any fan, player, media outlet that any particular owner isnt as driven to win as the next.

    You cannot expect fair play when you have an owner like Jerry Buss and Donald Sterling playing 2 very different kinds of business in the same business model.

    Somebodys gotta go (and its the poor billionaires)

  4. mikeewright7 - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    mE PERSONALLY I DONT SEE A PROBLEM WITH A PLAYER WANTING TO PLAYER WHERE EVER OR WHOEVER THEY WANT TOO….YOU CANT FORCE A GREAT PLAYER ON A BAD TEAM AND IF MANAGEMENT/OWNERS ARENT BRINGING IN TALENT AROUND THE GUY HE CAN WORK WITH THEN ITS SIMPLE, THE PLAYER SHOULD LEAVE ….LEBRON WOULD NEVER WIN WITH THOSE GUYS UNLESS THE CELTICS GOT OLD, VERY OLD ND EVEN THEN THE CAVS WOULD LOSE TO EITHER BULLS,MAGICS,SPURS,MAVS, GREAT TEAMS BASICALLY..

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