Blog Entry

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

Posted on: June 22, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 5:29 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I'll admit, I got a little excited with yesterday's news out of the big blow-out meetings in New York. By all appearances, progress was being made with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and it just looked like finally, the league might be on a path to getting this thing settled before June 30.

And then Derek Fisher came along and stomped on all that happiness. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
“Well, we’re hearing there’s some reports out there that there’s been significant progress made on things that the NBA and our owners are proposing to us, but in reality, there hasn’t been much substantial movement at all on a lot of key areas. So we’re still focused on getting a deal done, we’re going to continue to negotiate, and we’re going to meet again on Friday. But even with some of the things that are being released about what has been dropped out in proposals, there isn’t any agreement on anything at this point. We’re still working hard on that right now.

“Well the best way to explain it would be that where we were a couple of months ago as far as the proposal that we were given by the NBA, which was essentially the same proposal that we received some two years ago, that hasn’t changed very much. So what has happened is the NBA has really tried to put us in a position where we’re negotiating from what we consider to be an outrageous proposal to begin with."
Yikes. The way Fisher explains it, things sound a bit more dire. And with the way Fisher explains it, you almost start to say, "Yeah, those darn owners!" Fisher is good like that.

Then he dropped a money quote, basically putting everything on the owners.
“A lockout is an owner-imposed lockout. That’s a decision that only they can make. For now, as President of the Players Association, my focus is on negotiating on the deal. That’s the part that I control over is myself, Billy [Hunter], our Executive Committee, and our player reps are focusing on negotiating the actual deal. If the owners decide they want to lock us out because we don’t agree to the most dramatic rollback in professional sports history, then that’s the choice that they have.”
Good line, Fish. If the owners decide they want to lock us out because we don’t agree to the most dramatic rollback in professional sports history, then that’s the choice that they have. That's pretty strong.

Fisher said the players have made pretty serious concessions, but still sees what David Stern called a "flex cap" system as a hard salary cap. He basically said it's not the players' fault that owners keep dishing out silly long-term contracts.

And he's right. It's not. The owners control their own checkbooks and can sign and not sign who they want. But as owners know, in order to stay competitive and actually sign players, if the current system allows five or six-year deals, someone is going to offer that. Fisher can make that point -- which is valid -- but it's not entirely realistic. Bigger market, bigger money teams are going to be more able to absorb a bad five-year contract than a smaller market team that has to put its eggs all in that basket.

Things are still very much up and down, back and forth. It's touch and go and while yesterday seemed like progress, it might not have been near as much as we thought.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 23, 2011 2:51 am

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

There is no reason for Fisher to be optimistic. He talks like he does not get it. But he gets it. The simple fact is the owners would rather take a season off then continue to bleed money. The value of a typical franchise according to Forbes is about $350M. The return on that investment would be about $70M per year for a conservative company in a stable industry. The NBA is a high-risk investment and the entertainment industry is notoriously not a stable industry. Yet what we have is about a $10M loss averaged across the 30 teams. That difference, $80M per year multiplied by 30 teams yields $2.4B that needs to be reduced from the costs. It has nothing to do with what the players deserve. It is simply business that there needs to be profit for the investments. Do the players think they are worth more than offered? Take their talents to Europe. Peddle themselves around the world. Since they average $5M per year in the NBA they will find that it is really good here.

Now the NBA owners are offering to guarantee $2B per year to the players, an amount equal to the just completed season according to the commissioner. That guarantee for 10 years made during a depression is an amazing offer. Can the players afford to go a year without playing? Actually few can. There will be a whole string of personal bankruptcies because many players live with borrowed money. Payments with paychecks reduce most to trouble.

All the talk of playing in Europe is just talk. It cannot be done. First FIBA will not approve any contracts with other teams while a player contract is held by an NBA team. Second, the European teams are allowed only two players from out of the host country in most countries. Most of those teams already have their two under contract. Right now the attempt to vilify the owners is just posturing. They hope to dupe the fans into demanding the owners cave in. Silly, really, because the best that strategy can accomplish is to lower future league revenues and thus lower players' salaries.

My advice, Mr. Fisher, is get a deal done this week. Walk into the meeting Friday ready to work out the details on your peripheral issues because on the financial ones, the owners have already spoken.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: June 22, 2011 6:23 pm

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

I hope he is better a guarding the players interests in a new CBA deal then he was at guarding opposing team's point guards. I hope Fisher is watching the news around the NFL CBA. You can not put the whole blame on the owners and the players are going to have to give up these huge deal contracts. The NBA is in worse shape than the NFL and only in China does a company not making money survive.

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: June 22, 2011 5:56 pm

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

Nice pic of Fisher!  LOL 

Why did they use THAT ONE???  To provide laughs? 

He looks old, tired, cranky, and slow -- kinda like that lakers D vs. Dallas! 

Since: Jun 22, 2011
Posted on: June 22, 2011 5:52 pm

Doesn't sound like Fisher is all that optimistic

So, what's stopping the owners from making their own union and imposing a cap on each other? Are there just too many rich owners that just don't care?

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