NBA city mayors push for new CBA


NBA city mayors push for new CBA

NEW YORK We have heard from many of the NBA players. We have heard NBA Commissioner David Stern speak on behalf of the NBA's owners.

But the voices of those who will arguably suffer the most due to the lockout, has been relatively silent . . . until now.

On Tuesday, news broke that the City of Memphis plans to "explore all options" in recovering the money the city may have lost due to the NBA lockout, which has already wiped out the entire preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season.

And now less than 24 hours later, a letter signed by 14 mayors in NBA cities - including Sacramento's Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player - urges the NBA and the players to broker a deal quickly.

"We know the issues being discussed between NBA owners and players are complex and need to be addressed to ensure the long-term well being of the league," the letter reads. "We are not interested in taking a side. Rather, we respectfully ask that you consider the consequences to our cities should the lockout continue. We ask that you work quickly to find a way to compromise so that we might salvage the upcoming season."

Those two developments, maybe more than anything else happening in New York, may become factors that can accelerate a new CBA being hammered out soon.

With the entire preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season already canceled, Stern hinted last week that games scheduled for Christmas might not be played if an agreement were not in place by Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Stern was part of a bargaining session with the union that lasted more than 16 hours, easily the longest session thus far during the lockout.

But when it was over, Stern and NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter declined to comment, citing a gag order placed on everyone in the meeting by federal mediator George Cohen.

Both sides as well as Cohen were back at it Wednesday, hoping to continue pushing towards a new CBA. After TuesdayMonday morning's 16-hour marathon session, both sides returned to the table on Wednesday for another round of talks that lasted more than eight hours. Cohen said the two sides would meet again on Thursday afternoon, marking the first time both sides have met for three consecutive days.

After the meeting, Cohen told reporters that both sides were "extremely focused" on the issues, and added that the meetings had been "direct and constructive."

But meeting on Wednesday was a bit tricky because of the league's Board of Governors meeting, which began on Wednesday.

At one point, Stern, as well as some of the league's owners - among them was Boston's Wyc Grousbeck, who is also the Chair of the NBA's Planning Committee - had to leave the bargaining session with the players to attend to another meeting among the Board of Governors.

Among the topics discussed among the owners was revenue-sharing.

It's especially important to small-market teams like Memphis, whose ability to repay the bonds used to build the FedEx Forum, depend heavily on games being played.

"If it gets to be half a season, that's a big problem," Allan Wade, the council's attorney, told BusinessWeek.