Blog Entry

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

Posted on: June 30, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:56 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

You have to lead by example. That's always been pretty clear. You can't expect people to follow what you say unless you walk the walk. So now that the NBA has entered into the deep dark lockout landscape, things are about to get real. No more t-shirts, no more slogans, no more parading. This is the real thing, and the money will stop... well, in November, since that's when most of the players contracts under the last CBA run through. But still! The money chokehold is about to get serious, and some players have some questions for their leadership.

Yahoo! Sports reports that after Kevin Garnett did his usual over-dramatic rabble-rousing last week, Shane Battier asked a question of the union president, Billy Hunter. Would he take a paycut, just as NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith did?  Hunter sidestepped the question, then the rest of the executive board came to his defense, according to the report. But Hunter's evasiveness of the issue calls into question his commitment to the cause, and exactly how much he's "in the trenches" with the rest of the players for what Hunter has set up to be a very long lockout. Yahoo! also reports Hunter was granted over $1 million last year for unpaid vacation. Which is categorically insane independently, considering his job structure and responsibilities, but whatever. 

Perhaps most concerning from the players' perspective is this quote from Yahoo!, from a player regarding how Hunter conducts himself in response to union representatives voicing questions or concerns:
“Billy isn’t afraid to embarrass you in front of other players, if he doesn’t like your line of questioning,” an Eastern Conference player said. “He’s done a good job keeping us informed and fighting [NBA commissioner David] Stern, but I don’t need to be lectured by the guy. I’m allowed to ask a question.”
via Hunter sidesteps question on pay - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

That's bad leadership right there. As is declining a pay cut. Even if you structure it differently to ensure you get the same money eventually, you need to in order to be side-by-side with the players who pay you to represent them. Otherwise, you have a system wherein someone who isn't taking responsibility allows months and months to go by without negotiations, waiting until the last minute to enter into serious conversations and only then taking a stand against progressively stronger tactics from the owners.

Oh, right, that's exactly what happened.

The players' side has been considerably more willing to compromise during this entire process, and up until the last few weeks have conducted themselves in a much more professional manner. But the fact remains that Hunter has been out-flanked badly in this process, and now he's stepping into snares from his own players, even as the trap-setters say "Don't step there!"

Whether the center can hold will determine if the players can avoid getting routed in this process over the coming months.  

Final note: Is there anything more perfectly exemplary of the discrepancy among the players? Kevin Garnett brings t-shirts with "STAND" on them and does his dramatic yelling trick, and Shane Battier asks a relevant, important question. One is celebrated, the other shut down. Does not inspire confidence for the players' side in this.

Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:44 pm

Glad Battier is a Grizzlie

Battier is one smart man-went to Duke,graduated and used his time to hone more than his basketball skills. His question is right on and anyone that grants Hunter anything other than his outright firing is an idiot. How many players on executive committee went to college,much less get a degree?

Since: May 18, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2011 5:31 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

@ what does Goodell have to do with basketball or Hunter?

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:54 am

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

"Hunter was granted over $1 million last year for unpaid vacation".

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2011 11:33 pm

Hunter's miscalculations

The NBA has offered a reasonable parachute to the players last week. This offer prevented any current contracts to be altered and guaranteed the current take for the players ($2B) for the next ten years. Billy Hunter scorned the offer and turned away. Where Hunter has badly miscalculated is how determined the NBA owners are in restructuring their labor costs. While Hunter is posturing and preening before the press, the owners have consistently maintained they must have a hard cap on salaries. If the players had agreed to a hard cap it might have been much easier to maintain a larger % of BRI.

As it is, the lockout has begun and that means all the offers are off the table. There is zero incentive for the owners to cave now or any time between now and this time next year. They know they hold the better hand (remember that the NBA has a borrowing facility for its teams of $1B which may be increased if needed.) Sure, LeBron will not lose any sleep over the money lost. But his opportunity to assault the record books is being threatened.

There has to be a realist among the leadership in the players' union. It is sad to see them being led to slaughter. After a year they will look on any offer with hunger. The owners? They can devote their time to the businesses that create the wealth allowing them to own an NBA team. Their income continues and their investments (except for the NBA) are likely sound and provide a good return on investment. The players I feel the most for are the rookles who have left college (most of them early) and have no income for the coming lockout period and no place to play basketball and improve their game. This is indeed a miscalculation, Mr. Hunter. You know the pain the players are going to endure but your paycheck is secure? Nice.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: June 30, 2011 10:56 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

Would it have been to easy just to extend the current deal for another year, while both sides work something out, or am I missing something here?

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:49 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

322zone  You think the NFLPA should be paying them more than they allready have???? Smith made 10 million ayear from the NFLPA for 2 years of doing nothing.  Hunter has been with the NBA Players for years and gets paid for nothing 90% of the time. When the union is locked out or on strike your reps do not get paid just like the union people they represent.  That is very normal and its done for a very good reason, to make them work for you when they are supposed to because they get paid for doing nothing most of the time.

Since: Jul 19, 2007
Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:18 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

32Zone you were bitching about how those greedy nfl owners are screwing player now nba owners the tell one of the guys you support to keep his mouth shut because he already making millions.

What the f*#k are you talking about see it my way or be quiet.You are a douchebag.
An owner has to much money a player makes to much pick one side you dick.

Since: Mar 29, 2010
Posted on: June 30, 2011 4:58 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut

I believe both Hunter and Goodell deserve to be fired for allowing this to happen.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:56 pm


I respect Shane Battier. And I think he asked a valid question. It doesn't seem too outlandish to me that Hunter should take a pay cut.

Since: May 6, 2009
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:41 pm

Report: Shane Battier asked Hunter to take paycut


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