Since July 1, 2011, NBA has been locked-out, resulting into cancellation of this year’s seasonal games (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). The lockout resulted after the expiration of the 2005 collective bargain agreement on June 30, 2011. Before the expiry of the previous agreement, the players, and the owners of various basketball clubs, had tried to negotiate a new agreement. Even after the expiration of the previous agreement, the latter tried to hold meetings to negotiate a new collective bargain agreement. However, none of the efforts seems to bear positive results so far. The current lockout is because of lack of collective agreement concerning the salary structure of NBA players, and division of basketball related income among the club owners (History: 2011-2012 Lockout).
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The history of NBA dates 1954, when Bob Cousy started to organize basketball players, in an effort to provide them with constant salary, health, and retirement benefits, as well as better working conditions (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). At first, basketball league owners opposed the idea of having a union, which negotiated for employment conditions on behalf of basketball players. However, in 1957, the bargaining union for basketball players was acknowledged, and the minimum working conditions for all basketball players were agreed (History: 2011-2012 Lockout).
Over the years, NBA players and owners have managed to negotiate employment conditions without having major disagreements. However, in 1995, the first NBA lockout was recorded. The lockout lasted from July 1, 1995 to September 12, 1995. On July 1, 1998, another NBA lockout was experienced. The 1998 lockout was more serious than the 1995 lockout since, it lasted from July 1, 1998 to January 6, 1999 (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). In 2005, the collective agreement made during the 1999 agreement was modified. The 2005 collective marked the first collective bargain agreement in NBA’s history without a lockout. The 2011 NBA lockout is the third lockout, and the second to cause cancellation of regular basketball games.
According to NBA owners, since the 2005 collective bargain agreement, they have been losing a lot of money from their teams. Their argument is that a new agreement should be negotiated, which would allow NBA owners to continue maintaining their teams. On the contrary, the players are of the argument that the league has been setting good records on televisions and ticket sale. Therefore, many owners have been having good sources of income, and only a few teams have lost money to players (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). In the current lockout, owners are advocating for a hard salary cap, instead of the current exceptions in the midlevel, and the “Larry Bird” level. They argue that due to the current exceptions, players have been receiving huge salaries at their expense. However, the players are looking for a way of maximizing their share of basketball related income. Where the owners are looking for a 10 years collective bargain agreement, the players are looking for a shorter agreement (History: 2011-2012 Lockout).
So far, the players and the owners have tried to hold numerous meeting, in a bid to develop a new collective bargain agreement, but with no success. Recently, on August 2, the NBA filled two charges against the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), claiming that NBPA had failed to negotiate a new collective bargain agreement in good faith. The NBA claims stated that NBPA was threatening decertification of NBA, a thing that would result into cancellation of players’ contracts.
On September 13, both the owners and players announced that the negotiations were bearing no fruits. This led to announcement of postponement of the training camps schedule to start on October 4, on September 23. In addition, 43 pre-season basketball games were cancelled (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). The negotiations continued after September 23, but eventually, the postponed training camps scheduled for October 4 were cancelled. More negotiation meetings were held on October 9 and 10. However, after failure to record any positive outcomes, the regular season games were cancelled as well.
It was on October 17 when the two conflicting groups met with George Cohen, a federal mediator (History: 2011-2012 Lockout). On October 18, 19, and 20, both the owners and the players held joint meetings with the mediator. However, after Cohen failed to attend the October 21 meeting, due to sickness, the groups broke off the talks for five days. The talks resumed on October 26. On October 27, Commissioner David Stern announced that the two sides seemed to have adjusted their mood, and were willing to come into an agreement. However, on October 28, both groups refused to revise their proposed division of basketball related income. The players wanted a 52 percent of the total basketball related income, while the owners were willing to give then on 50 percent. The talks collapse again until November 6. During the November 9 meeting, Commissioner David Stern gave the two sides up to November 9, to either come into an agreement or face serious consequences (NBA Lockout Unresolved, Clock Running Out). On November 9, both sides met for twelve hours, but they did not come to an agreement.
On November 10, Derek Fisher, the union’s president reported that, “I can’t characterize whether they showed flexibility or not in certain system issues.” (NBA Lockout Unresolved, Clock Running Out). Fisher added that, if the owners depicted the right flexibility in the proposed agreement, they would have probably developed a collective bargain agreement. He therefore points that there is a lot of work, which need to be done, since the negotiation process is still inflexible. According to David Stern, if the two sides do not come into an agreement very soon, he would forced to replace the proposed agreement with a new one, which is likely to drive the two sides even further, since it will be harsh to both of them (NBA Lockout Unresolved, Clock Running Out).
Currently, the players are being persuaded to accept between 49 and 51 percent of basketball related income. However, the union has made it clear that it will be impossible for the players to receive more than 50.2 percent share of basketball related income. The November 12 meeting did not bear positive outcomes as earlier expected. The union is reported to have rejected the NBA’s last offer. Reports indicate that apart from revenue division issue, the two sides appear to be divided over quite a number of other issues, including the salary cap system. It therefore appears that the 2011 NBA lockout might extend up to the year 2012, hence resulting into cancellation of the remaining games.
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