As the League and Players Association formally meet for the second time, the horse-trading is set to begin. What does each side need, and what will they pay for it? What will each side refuse to give, and what will they pay for that refusal? It starts with package proposals, presented with eloquent, detailed, powerful explanations — explanations that end up being mostly meaningless.
The Players’ Association negotiators reconvene as a team shortly after the initial session. The Chief Negotiator will choreograph this meeting, eliciting the opinions of those reluctant to speak, while curtailing the opinions of those too eager to speak. Every person in the room is annoyed, and their annoyance level is inversely proportional to the number of times they’ve previously been on a negotiation team.
What are the League and the Players Association allowed to bargain, and what will those proposals look like? Each party has done its survey, both formal and informal. They have reviewed the CBA, previous proposals, and grievances. That information gets inputted into a sophisticated algorithm, and concludes…the Players Association wants more money, and the League does not want to give it to them.
NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles about collective bargaining in the NBA. We often hear about the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement when issues arise with contracts, trades, lockouts, strikes and player disciplinary proceedings. This series seeks to enhance understanding by providing context to the creation and implementation of the governing document between the NBA and the Players Association. At least a dozen people sit in a hotel conference room on opposite sides of a table. Lawyers, Chief Negotiators, and negotiating teams -- comprised of players on one side and management from a handful of the league’s 30 teams on the other -- jockey for the most powerful seats. All because of a document called a Collective Bargaining
The NBA has been rocked by a simple, short tweet by Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey: “Fight for freedom; stand with Hong Kong.” Americans place the highest value on freedom of expression and speech, and the recent reaction to the tweet has been entwined with discussion of the First Amendment. The natural, but too often unasked question is, “How does the First Amendment apply in the employment world?”