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Conflicting reports on what owners want: Deal or ultimatum?

Nov 24, 2011, 12:01 PM EDT

NBA Commissioner Stern speaks to reporters in New York Reuters

Lots of rumors flying around about the NBA negotiations over the last 24 hours and what the owners exactly will push for — there has always been a divide among ownership on what exactly they want, and that gulf seems to be widening.

Whether that gulf is wide enough to kill efforts to get a deal this weekend and have NBA games on Christmas remains to be seen. The sides will resume talks Friday to resolve the lawsuit (which is akin to having a handshake deal in place).

On one hand, we have a report from Marc Stein of ESPN that some owners are pushing hard to get a deal done.

Sources identified Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers as the teams pushing hardest behind the scenes for a deal in principle by the end of the weekend to ensure that a “representative” season can be staged. And at least three teams that requested anonymity, according to interviews conducted Wednesday by, are highly optimistic that the framework of a deal can be struck by Monday.

Phoenix is interesting — Robert Sarver was once seen as one of the real hardline owners. Boston’s Wyc Grousbeck also had been in the hardline camp before but seems to think the owners have gotten enough and need to make a deal now.

On the other end of the scale…

David Stern is going to improve the owners’ offer to players but is going to tell them “take this or I cancel the entire season,” ESPN’s Ric Bucher reported on SportsCenter Wednesday night.

Another ultimatum. Not again.

My guess is that Bucher’s source is from the camp of a hardline owner. Stern can’t really be thinking ultimatum again, that would be just the worst negotiating tactic ever — “Hey, this failed twice, but let’s do it again.” Stern is not going to do that and risk a court thinking he is not negotiating in good faith.

Plus, Stern is not about to be the bad guy who cancels the season — he has been the master in this negotiation of making the players the bad guy, he’s not about to slip up now. The season as a whole will not be canceled before Jan. 1, and I was told by one source it’s more like Jan. 20.

That said, Buchcer’s source shows that the hardline owners are not going to just roll over to have games on Christmas.

There seems to be a real momentum toward a deal right now — a handshake deal this weekend that lets us open the NBA season as a Christmas present. Let’s hope the hardline owners (and players) don’t screw that up.

  1. clownsfan - Nov 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Christmas Christmas Christmas ….all this talk about not having games on Christmas …..who gives a sh!t? I don’t know anybody who’s worried about no Christmas Day NBA games. In the grand scheme of things it not that big of a deal.

  2. acieu - Nov 24, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Let’s celebrate the holy birthday by having thugs run up and down the court

    • rreducla1 - Nov 25, 2011 at 5:35 AM

      There is absolutely no reason to say this on an NBA blog other than just to be a dick. Take a hike.

      • yournuts - Nov 25, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        Let’s hope for a ultimatum. I would love to see a 45% BRI for the players now. Nobody really cares if they play this year. The fans would rather see the players lose a years salary and LEARN that you should not bite the hand that feeds you. Especially in an economy like this. The players want to create a socialistic basketball system and steal from the owners what the owners have paid for! It’s not like the 5.5 million dollar average salary is enough for the players? Now the players want to tell the owners how to run the league.
        To me the players owe everything to the owners, everything. How ungrateful are these players today? How much entitlement do they think they have? If I were part of the ownership group I would make the players rue the day they didn’t agree to a 50/50 BRI split.

  3. steviekthr3e - Nov 24, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Clowns..its the NBA that wants Xmas games. Everyone is home and the only source of entertainment is those games (aside of A Christmas Story of course).

    They say its a “2nd Opening Night” for a reason..the NBA is in a national spotlight, the fans of NFL teams not in the playoffs are looking for “new hope” and NBA newbies can see what the hoopla is about with star players and marquee teams playing against one another.

  4. mikeinthevine - Nov 24, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    In the overall scheme of things, does anyone care if they play this season?

    • rferrel - Nov 24, 2011 at 11:47 PM

      Nope. Not me.

      • football58 - Nov 25, 2011 at 9:24 AM

        of course you do dumb asses, that is why your reading and commenting on this article

  5. firemarshal1 - Nov 24, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    No one cares. I dare to say to the NBA players to be drug free, with random drug testing by a third party. Over 50 percent of the players would fail the test. Who really cares about basketball, the players over priced athletes. Make them earn a real living. Work five days a weeks, 8 hours a day, for $32,000 per year with maybe an HMO insurance plan, along with no retirement. That’s our new America. The best government that money can buy for the top 1 percent. The land of the greed, wealthy, and powerful. Cut more taxes the rich, so they can buy more and more lavish products. Hey, maybe we’ll create $10 per hour job out of it. That’s American.

  6. steviekthr3e - Nov 24, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Funny you folks come into an NBA blog to post comments bashing the sport.

    So, in essence, you take time out of your day to hate on the NBA. Pretty sad.

    I don’t give a what about NASCAR, and I know I won’t take the time to read articles and comment on them hating on people that do care.

    Take your opinions elsewhere.

    • garyaroot - Nov 24, 2011 at 9:18 PM

      I am interested in professional sport! I would like to see it go broke. I hope the players get their way because their expectations are unsustainable and will bankrupt many of the owners. I would love to see professional sports shut down and all of those spoiled brat millionaire athletes lose their jobs.

  7. firemarshal1 - Nov 24, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Oh, Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re NOT WORKING at a retail store tonight. We’re the hardest working nation on earth now, we make the Chinese worker look lazy. Hey work hard for the rich, we can say the lead the world with the most Multi Billionaires. That’s the new American slogan. Be a banker or work on Wall Street, or better yet be an American CEO of a large American corporation. You can outsource all high paying jobs to China. Maybe, there is still some good left in America. I doubt it. They have been bought off. Reform campaign financing. A government for the people, by people, not by the few and wicked.

  8. steviekthr3e - Nov 24, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    That’s where you’re off.

    You shouldn’t work for anyone but yourself. The economy is in the dumps. No better time to chase you’re dream job regardless of pay.

    Quit blaming everyone else. Control what you can.

  9. stadix093 - Nov 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    How about you leave the NBA blogs to the NBA fans, and you just go and watch football? I care about christmas games and I’m proud to say it. NBA come back please so I can stop dealing with these trolls.

    • garyaroot - Nov 24, 2011 at 9:15 PM

      It is the players that are the buffoons!

    • rferrel - Nov 25, 2011 at 12:02 AM

      Only difference is they don’t care about you one iota. I am an NBA fan also. Have been my entire life. But when they infer “the fans” in their pleas for them they might as well be inferring “those, those, those, yeah them”.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 25, 2011 at 5:34 AM

      Yes, indeed. If there is a deal this weekend, I will be interested to see if the lockout trolls and ownerfanboys leave the site. It will improve it if they do.

  10. steelerchicken - Nov 24, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Christmas is always Opening Day for me!

    There needs to be a season for the people who work at arenas, hotels and restaurants so they can pay for their Chritmas gifts. Plus, the NBA playoffs are fun to watch

  11. garyaroot - Nov 24, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    The owners face ultimatums when they have to write the checks and keep the business going — so there is absolutely no reason that the players should not have to face the same ultimatums. They are all in it together. The players should not expect the owners to foot the bill for their millionaire salaries. I actually hope that the players get their way and about half the teams go broke — shutting down the league. I am sick of the players’ unrealistic expectations.

  12. steviekthr3e - Nov 24, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Gary you seem like a real upstanding citizen of America rooting for the failures of others.

    Have some humanity in you.

    The players “needs” may be extraneous, but to hope for the league to collapse entirely and watch millions on the business ops side lose their way of living is straight-up pathetic.

    Get a life, take a hike. We don’t need your comments on this blog.

  13. n2thaizzo - Nov 24, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    It seems lots of people here seem to believe the basketball players are “overpaid”. Can someone please explain to me how individuals responsible for bringing in BILLIONS of dollars are overpaid? Explain how the BEST BASKETBALL PLAYERS IN THE WORLD make too much money. Please someone explain this to me…

  14. steviekthr3e - Nov 24, 2011 at 10:44 PM


    There’s extremists/hardliners on both ends- like Democrats & Republicans.

    Obviously, your on one end. I suggest take a step back.

    Successful partnerships are founded on acting along some sort of middle ground. Hence, everyones giving a little something up.

    Until the NBA & NBPA* do, this playground fight will keep going.

    • n2thaizzo - Nov 25, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      Oh, I agree, both sides need to compromise more in order to get the season started. I’m not placing blame on either party, because both are, in part, to blame. I just disagree with people claiming that nba players are overpaid. Some players might be overpaid based on their producttion, but in general, the plauers get what they are worth. As a whole, the NBAPA* deserve AT LEAST 52% BRI in my opinion.

  15. rferrel - Nov 24, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Cancel the season. Who cares now. Half a season or anything but a full season is not a season. For some reason they think we are on the edge of our seats waiting for a resolution. Even if they do “save” part of the season its not going to be good basketball anyway. For me this is not even news anymore. I say they should both go where we can’t see or hear of them anymore until they come back and we’ll decide if we missed them or not.

  16. trbowman - Nov 25, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Hold tight owners. No deal if it means significant concessions to the players. Win this one. They’ll either cave or pay the full price.

  17. 700levelvet - Nov 25, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    i knew the league would be in a financial mess once the Heat assembled the Dream Team, and then went on to win 6, 7, or 8 titles, whatever it was. After that ridicolous pep rally. The other owners knew they could not compete with such unbalanced talent amomgst it’s teams. Wait, that never happened. Just come back next year, or the year after that. I watch the NBA, because it’s a professional sport,and i’m a sports guy, and i realize these guys are the best at their chosen profession. But I don’t plan my Christmas day around it. No one i know is depressed that Jason Kapano isn’t going to make his 6.5 million this year, for sitting on the bench two hours a night…

  18. denverdude7 - Nov 25, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    Just disband the league and take about 5 years off. Then, form a new league and cap salaries at 1 million maximum. Guess what, the players will play. If they don’t so what? There will be more players coming out of college every year that would be happy to earn a million dollars a year.

  19. bearsstillsuck - Nov 25, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    pro athletes are over paid because right down the street from most arenas you’ve got people that are homeless just because they’re not 6′ 9″ and go to a big high school. both sides are pathetic and they both deserve to lose the season and the money that goes with it.

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