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Unclebuck
04-15-2005, 10:18 AM
http://nypost.com/sports/44580.htm

NBA, PLAYERS WANT NEW DEAL

By PETER VECSEY
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April 15, 2005 -- A CERTAIN someone recently revealed to me how he knows the NBA and the Players Association are serious about reaching an agreement on a new contract between the two platonic partners.
"There have been no leaks. That's always an infallible indicator that the league and the union understand they have a good thing goin' on and don't want to blow it," the voice of reason underscored. "Neither side has tried to put pressure on the other apropos to one issue or another. Nobody has looked to establish leverage in the media. Both sides have been positive, professional and private."

Clearly, their good faith negotiations are paying off. According to sources on opposite sides following Tuesday's session in New York City, "We feel we're a brush stroke or two away" from completing the picture meaning a new collective bargaining agreement could very well be in place by the end of tomorrow's Manhattan meeting and announced prior to the start of the playoffs April 23.

Does that mean the majority of subject matter has been settled? No. Nobody's saying anything of import has been resolved in the absolute. What I'm told is everything is close to a wrap, but that nothing gets decided if everything isn't decided, that's how tightly bound together the major topics of discussion are.

"No issue is isolated," explained a high-ranking member of the negotiating committee. "Everything is discussed in the same breath. You can't thrash out this issue without thrashing out that issue. You know, we provide something here and they provide something there and, in the end, hopefully everything falls into place."

The popular perception is that this harmonious haggle is being driven by mad money. Certainly there's some truth to that. But it's not all about the Benjamins.

It's safe to deduce players will receive significant financial rewards (a lowering or the elimination of the 10-percent escrow, as well as an increase of the NBA's total gross revenue percentages), etc., for every compromise they appear willing to make regarding the reduction in the length of guaranteed contracts and the raising of the minimum playing age to 20, etc.



At the same time, they recognize they, too, have a vested interest to protect the overall game to terminate an increasingly negative image and freeze the fan base erosion. Seemingly, executive director Billy Hunter and his constituency are as eager as commissioner David Stern and his electorate to stiffen drug testing and enforce a stricter code of conduct with harsher penalties when expectations are undermined and boundaries are breached.

"Everyone agrees we need to better manage players' behavior on and off the court," a league official confirmed. "During the negotiations we've had players who've actually pleaded for more discipline. The union realizes a players' job description is beyond points and rebounds.

"Yes, both sides would like to enhance their position in our financial system. But the paramount issue in these talks is protecting the health and welfare of the goose, not the golden egg."

*

The Hawks' three ownership factions are experiencing the kinds of friction that makes it almost impossible to accomplish anything constructive. Accordingly, say sources, Steven Belkin, Boston's boss, is attempting to buy out the two groups from Washington and Atlanta.

Contrary to a report out of Chicago, Nate McMillan and the Sonics have not agreed to a new coaching contract. Far from it; they're not even discussing one. From the get-go, the two sides stated there'd be no conversation until after the season. Far be it from me to make the Sonics nervous, but several teams are prepared to make a bid for McMillan.

Kevin Garnett cursed everyone in the locker room after the T'wolves' humiliating loss to the Hawks. When you flaunt his kind of MVP numbers such shame is never your fault.

*

How delinquent is Jamal Crawford's defense? The Bulls claim he was so disinterested about bending his back when in Chicago he didn't even want to be bothered yelling "Help!" when his man breezed by him . . . If Stephon Marbury enjoyed playing so much for Flip Saunders, how come he forced the T'wolves to trade him to the Nets at a time when the NBA's No. 1 punk guard and Garnett were starting to make beautiful music?

ABADays
04-15-2005, 11:33 AM
So much for a showdown.

Kegboy
04-15-2005, 02:38 PM
So much for a showdown.

Go back and read the byline. I'll believe it when I see it.

Los Angeles
04-15-2005, 02:53 PM
"There have been no leaks. That's always an infallible indicator that the league and the union understand they have a good thing goin' on and don't want to blow it," the voice of reason underscored. "Neither side has tried to put pressure on the other apropos to one issue or another. Nobody has looked to establish leverage in the media. Both sides have been positive, professional and private."

Could have freaking fooled me. Stern has been all over the place, appearing on prime time TV shows, handing down unprecedented suspensions, and openly lobbying for an age minimum.

A mean, REALLY. WHAT THE **** COUNTRY IS THIS "SOURCE" LIVING IN?!?!?

Unclebuck
04-15-2005, 03:09 PM
Vescey was on NBATV a few nights back saying that the age limit, while Stern would like to have it, it just is not that important - of about 10 important issues the age limit is maybe 8th on the list.


As far as questioning the validity of this sotry because it is Vescey. I would think it would make a better article if he wrote how far apart the two sides were, about how the 11/19 incident, J.O race comments, and all the other issued were driving the sides apart. That would sell more papers.

My point is there is greater incentive to write an anti-settlement story