The NBA's collective bargaining agreement -- the blueprint for all business that takes place between the league and its players in this multi-billion dollar industry -- expires on June 30, 2011. If the two sides are not able to hammer out a new agreement by then, the league seems almost certain to stop operations until a new one is signed. That would effectively "lock out" the players and threaten the start of the 2011-2012 season.Both sides have insisted that reaching an agreement is paramount to maintaining the league's soaring popularity.Jordan shoes The NBA has had only one work stoppage in its 64-year history -- the 1998-99 lockout that reduced that season to 50 games -- though negotiations always stir passion and sometimes rancorous debate."We know we're going to get an agreement done," NBA commissioner David Stern said on the eve of the season. "And we think that the enthusiasm of the season and the prospective growth that it will ultimately represent will enable us to sit down with the players and negotiate in good faith. And we both seem intent on doing all that we can to reach a deal."
National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, said earlier this year: "We don't want a lockout. We don't want our fans to not experience our game. We want to play basketball. That's what we love to do and that's what a lot of us have been blessed to do. There's no desire on our part to not play basketball in 2011-2012."If the two sides agree on one thing, it is that achieving labor peace is going to take time and a lot of painstaking work. The sides continue to talk,Nike Air Jordan somewhat sporadically, yet they reportedly remain apart on several important issues.Tops among them, as is often the case: money.The NBA is pushing for a dramatic adjustment to the league's economic system. Stern claims that the NBA has lost more than $1 billion since the current CBA went into effect in 2005-06, including $380 million last season. In October, Stern said that the league is looking to cut $750-800 million annually from player alaries and benefits that total $2.1 billion, though the league reportedly may be willing to phase in those cuts.
The players note that the NBA, by its own accounting, is coming off a season of record revenues, which has led to bigger player payrolls and the highest cap on salaries ever. A LeBron James Summer that helped spur season-ticket sales to their highest levels in years has only added to the league coffers. Sports Business Journal reported in September that the league had received $100 million in new full-season ticket sales.The league contends that costs -- mainly player salaries -- have skyrocketed out of control. It claims many teams continue to lose vast amounts of money,Air Jordans necessitating the new economic model. The league won't say how many teams lost money last season, but Forbes put the number at 12 for the 2008-2009 season.
"Even though we reported we have record season ticket sales over the summer and otherwise very robust revenue generation, because of the built in cost of the system, it's virtually impossible for us to move the needle in terms of our losses," said deputy commissioner Adam Silver, the league's chief negotiator. So the league has proposed, among other measures, a set restriction on salaries -- a "hard" salary cap -- along with the rollback in player salaries that Stern mentioned in October.NBPA executive director Billy Hunter has disputed both the league's figures and its accounting methods.cheap Jordan shoes He added that the league's insistence of "a hard cap, a 40 percent rollback in player salaries, unlimited expense deductions and the elimination of guaranteed contracts" would "inevitably result in a lockout and the cancellation of part or all of the 2011-2012 season."
The league actually has an option to extend the current CBA for a year, as long as it notifies the players union by December 15. But the league almost certainly won't sign on for another year of what they consider a bad deal. Stern, Silver,Jordan shoes key owners and a host of lawyers are ready to work with the union to hammer out something new.Here's a look at some major issues that face the two sides in what promises to be a complex and -- if history is any indicator -- sometimes contentious negotiation. (For a more detailed glossary of some of the basketball labor terminology used below, click here.