Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why Is The NBA Having Labor Issues?

The NBA is having issues with it's Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Really, there are four issues that need to be ironed out.  Below is the four issues with a quick rundown of what the deal is...and what I think of it. 


*"SUPER" LUXURY TAX: Right now, the luxury tax is designed to keep owners from going over the salary cap. As of now, there are some loopholes designed to allow teams to go over the salary cap [mainly by allowing them to resign their own players]. The Super Luxury Tax would take it even further. It would put harsher penalties on the teams that really spend money over the cap. Call it the Cuban Knicks Tax. The current luxury tax has been very effective in scaring teams from getting to rambunctious with their wallets. A Super Luxury Tax would scare even the billionaire owners that thumb their noses at the current tax. For the OWNERS, this is an even stricter checks and balances system so they really, really, really aren’t tempted to overspend. From the PLAYERS point of view, this is designed to really kill off free agency to the effect that only the elite can get paid. SPORTZ TAKE: This is dumb. It isn’t the players fault if an owner overpays a player. If an owner can afford to have a high payroll and pay the current tax...why punish him further? As I see it, the highest payrolls rarely win titles anyway. The owners will learn that this isn’t the MLB.


*AGE LIMIT: I’ve jumped the fence on this subject many times already. Right now, the NBA is looking into a possibly age limit of 20. This would mean that no one can enter the NBA Draft as a teenager. Some say this is wrong, since this forces players into college and doesn’t give them the opportunity to make a living playing hoops. Hogwash! There are leagues in the USA and all around the world that will pay for a teenager to play hoops. So you cannot get into the NBA? Go to Europe and play. They’ll pay you. Go tothe CBA or USBL....they’ll pay you as well. For the OWNERS, they claim this will keep the seedy agents away from high schoolers and junior high kids. Nonsense. What this really does is make the draft similar to the way it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s where you knew what you were getting in the draft. Teams are afraid to pass up on the next Kobe, KG, Jermaine or Amare.....so they draft Kwame, Chandler, Miles and Darko. What owners are doing is paying players to learn....when the NBA is designed to have ready made players come in immediately. The PLAYERS stance is the opportunity issue I just dispelled. These teens are doing fine. LeBron is awesome. Amare is awesome. And for every Kwame Brown that fizzles...there is also a Pervis Ellison that flamed. SPORTZ TAKE: I agree with the age limit. As a fan, I am tired of seeing "projects" taking up roster spots while guys who can contribute are losing jobs. Darko Milicic has no business on the Pistons bench if they don’t want him to play. Honesty, I would rather the NBA have a real minor league system in place that would allow teens to enter the NBA Draft and get drafted. If they need work, they get sent down to the minors to work it out.


*SMALLER SALARY INCREASE: Currently salaries raise from year to year at about 10%-12%. The NBA wants it down to 5%. While it isn’t horrendous...it is quite a huge chunk. That would mean if you signed a 6-year deal worth $10M in the first year....your increase would be $1M under the current format. That increase drops to $500K under the new proposal. OWNERS like it because it is another obvious way to save some money. PLAYERS obviously hate it because it keeps money from their pockets. SPORTZ TAKE: I see both sides. I wouldn’t want anyone screwing with my raise. But...I also don’t get a mandatory 10% raise either. At my job...if we reach every goal for this year....we get a 3.6% raise. Pretty standard in this tough economic time. Maybe they could meet in the middle for a 7.5% raise.


*SHORTENING MAX CONTRACTS: I feel this is the biggie. This is the one that will actually keep the agreement from happening. Right now, a player can sign with a new team for a maximum of 6 years....or sign with his last team for a max of 7 years. The NBA is proposing shortening it to 3 years for new teams and 4 years for old team. Quite a big move there. The OWNERS claim it will keep from having a bunch of dead weight contracts around...which really are killing the NBA. They are somewhat correct. There are some horrible contracts out there that are albatrosses for teams. The PLAYERS like the long term security and say "hey, you guys offered these contracts to us." They are right. Brian Grant can’t sign a deal for $15M if no one offers it. SPORTZ TAKE: I, again, would find a middle ground. I have yet to see a player in Year 6 or 7 really earning his money. I see maybe a 5 or 6 year max instead. If I was a Sports God that could force my will on this....I’d actually make it 4 years for a new team and 6 years to sign with your current team. This may entice players to stay with their current team...since they’d get more years and more guaranteed money.

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