Blog Entry

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 10:56 pm
Posted by Royce Young

Billy Hunter was on the B.S. Report to discuss the lockout, spending about an hour discussing any and everything about the current state of labor talks.

He said he sees these negotiations as similar to 1998's lockout that resulted in 32 lost games, but felt that last week's long negotiations were going to yield something positive.

"I thought we were trying to reach compromise when we were there last week," Hunter said. "I suspect it's more about an internal battle that may be brewing or that's occuring between the big and small markets over the proposals we've submitted.

"We don't want to be totally exploited."

Hunter recounted a meeting with David Stern in Cleveland a few years ago during the postseason where Stern said his owners were ready and willing to miss an entire season to force player salary rollbacks.

Hunter said that the owners have acknowledged that 53 percent covers their losses and gives them the "possibility" of making a profit, citing specifically Peter Holt. And also said that players, having come down from 57 percent to as low as 52.5 in terms of Basketball Related Income split, are starting to dig into these negotiations for more reasons than just money, implying that it has moved past just dollars and cents, but is about the principle of getting a fair deal and they're willing to take the hit in order to get it. Now it's becoming a moral issue to them.

"They're principled individuals," Hunter said. "After a while, it becomes a principle ... the players are a little bit more strident."

Hunter said that during last week's long negotiations there were multiple ideas presented, with one interesting concept coming from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Hunter said Cuban came up with a structure called the "Game-changer" that included no salary cap. Hunter said he took that back to the players and they had a version of it they liked and then Hunter said two or three owners were very excited about it. And then a couple small market owners put the kibosh on it.

"We're open to the idea Mark Cuban put on the table," he said.

Hunter also commented on NHL player Bill Guerin's statements that holding out for a deal wasn't worth it, saying that he and his staff have been "very transparent" with the players about how much they'll lose per week, per month or even for a season. But also said the players are actively pursuing every opportunity to make a deal.

"We've indicated that we're ready to sit down and negotiate with them in a minute's notice," Hunter said. "I'm prepared to do anything within reason -- within reason -- to get a deal."

Hunter relayed that he had told the owners that concessions on systems issues might make the NBA's 50-50 offer "more palatable" to players. Meaning, I think, that owners could get their desired 50-50 BRI split if they'll work on some of their systematic demands. But Hunter said the owners will only negotiate system on the precondition of a 50-50 split. Which is when Dan Gilbert evidently told Hunter to "trust his gut" on the system.

Hunter was asked about Bryant Gumbel's comments that compared Stern to a "plantation overseer," simply answering, "I don't think David is racist at all." But he did try and explain why Stern's being so hard-headed on these negotiations.

"I think the reason David's being so stubborn is he's got a new crop of owners," Hunter said. "He's got all these guys who are extremely successful, making billions of dollars and they bought these franchises. And they just have a different perspective."

It's honestly easy to hear Hunter's side of the story and lean towards the players. He presents a side that's very open to every compromise, open to every idea but is being met with a hard wall of stubborn owners looking for a blowout victory in these negotiations. Is it encouraging? Somewhat. Hunter was very straightforward with how much the players are willing to concede to get a deal done. I think they're position is out in the open. They want a deal where they can feel that the owners didn't get everything they wanted and raked them over the coals.

If it eventually comes to that, the players will be ready to deal. How long that's going to take is the question.
Category: NBA

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 4:25 pm

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

I usually side with the workers but in this case the players are not in a full partnership with the owner as the players take zero risk this is why the players will not make a push for parity.  There are very few men in basketball today.  Lebron is a little boy, Derrick Rose is a man.  Lebron proved he is not loyal to his teammates and last time I check basketball is still a team game.  Lebron has no intentions of working harder again proven last summer when he left Cleveland because it was too difficult to overcome the obstacle of winning a championship in his prime years without conspiring with other superstar caliber players to play together in order to win a championship.  Lebron cares nothing about the league only about what he is going to get.  Meanwhile Derrick Rose is not looking for help, he is a leader and wants to lead his team to a championship, that is why he worked hard in the off season rather than trying to court Lebron to play with the Bulls.  Mr. Rose is up for the challenge and is the type of player that wants parity and is willing to work hard.  Unfortunately by the negotiations its the Lebron James' that are winning, they don't want parity, they are not loyal to the fans, they are not up for the challenge they want to make an easy multi-million dollar paycheck and give the fans a Harlem Globetrotter show rather than competitive NBA basketball.  I am not alone in this thinking as Hall of Fame greats Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley already questioned the manhood of Lebron and rightfully so. 

Right now there are tens of thousands of workers that will be hurt by the continued lockout including arena workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers, airline industry, hotel industry, etc.  Meanwhile Lebron the supposed face of the players is no where to be seen as he is playing in Vegas, South Beach or where ever in the world with the money he has been paid by the owners.  The League needs to fire David Stern as he built this monster (NBA) focused on super star players, big market teams, and it's turned into the Harlem Globetrotters.  The league than needs to re-focus on the face of the league and that should be the competitive players from each and every market.  In the NFL the biggest show is in Green Bay, Wisconsin the smallest market in all major team sports so it's certainly not impossible for the NBA to re-duplicate success and make the focus of the league on the weakest link with no disrespect for Memphis, Sacramento, or Minneapolis.  David Stern has also been a fraud in this league.  He did nothing for the league but rode the success of Bird, Magic, Jordan and to a lesser extent with Shaq and Kobe, now that they are gone the league is troubled. 

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:59 pm

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

I think you forgot about the luxuary taxes. The players did agree with a 50/50 but with the tax staying the same.  The owners wanted a 50/50 with a significant higher tax. So you might want to do more research.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:11 pm

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

The 50/50 split is more than fair.  The owners want more.  So of course, one would side with the players.  DUH  To me; the players should always have more in revenue because of this simple fact:  These guys play on the road for half a season and that money they make has nothing to do with the team on their shirt.  It has to do with WHO they are.  And that is why; players are more valuable than the owners.   There are many arenas that only fill the seats when a special players comes to their town.  That is OBVIOUS proof that this is a players league...not a team league.

You're wrong.  You need to do more research before you post again because the owners OFFERED the players 50 percent and the union rejected it, the union demanded a minimum of 53 percent and then dropped down to 52.5.  Hunter, the union leader told us that many many times... this lockout would have been over long ago if the players were willing to accept 50 percent when they got that offer.

And you are so wrong with everything else in that paragraph as well.  The true fans of the game buy tickets and turn on their televisions for the team name on the shirt, not the player's name.  Players come and go, fans stay fans of the game for decades.  If today's NBA players quit right now, there will be others ready and willing to take their place.....

Finally, there is only one way the players will ever be as valuable or more valuable then the owners are.  That day will come the day the players are capable of starting their own league.  I didn't say they have to start their own league, but they have to be CAPABLE of starting their own league.  OR.... that day will come when the players have other more lucrative options then NBA owners are offering them today.

Right now, the players have ZERO CHANCE AND ZERO ABILITY to start their own league... they can't, or they would have done that many many years ago.... decades ago actually.  And right now there is no other league in the world offering these guys the salary they make in the NBA today..... not even close.  Sure, Kobe and maybe a couple dozen other NBA players could make similar money overseas but certainly not anywhere near even 20 percent of today's players are in that boat....

The owners will always be in the driver's seat and the players made a huge mistake turning down the owners 50-50 offer.... it's going to cost them a lot more then the 10 or 15 percent paycut they were asked to take initially....  as for the owners, they will continue to remain billionaires because of outside businesses and every day businesses they have always been involved with and made their fortune in..... 

Since: Jan 8, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2011 2:31 pm

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

"We don't want to be totally exploited."

Yeah what a shame.  Working in such harsh conditions, no time off to yourselves, and at minimum wage.  How have they done it for so long.

This is what the sweat shop children in the foreign countries that make these athletes sneakers that they endorse should be saying.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:59 pm

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

It's a bit to much to ask the players to understand the nba PAYS THEM A SALARY even when they lose money, it is grananteed unless the onwers go broke. The onwers as the Dodgers found out can go broke and the onwers can lose everything so the risk factor to the onwer is much higher then the players risk as far as profit and lose is concerned. Fans stop showing up so what the players still get paid the onwers eat the loss. If the players want a bigger cut then work out a system where they lose if the onwer of their club loses. Us the fans have invested MILLOINS in tax payer money to build facilities for these guys to play in and they need to play or we need to stop building these modern facilities for them. We are losing money and entertainment every day they set on they lazy MILLIONAIRE as--s. Let the players build the buildings and maintain them or take the money we are losing out of their retirement account instead of my pocket. NO RISK NO REWARD! Granranteed salaries etc what else could you want?

Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:46 pm
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Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:27 pm
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Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:41 pm

The NBA is NOT a is a Partnership

The majority of the issue with all your complaints is simple:  you have no idea who is the business.  You act like the business is the owners...but it isn't, it never was.  The NBA is a partnership between Players and Owners.  It always has been.  People come to the game to watch the players play and their team win.  The players are at least half the business.  Hence, why they expect to make a profit. 

Sports is not like a sales firm.  The Lakers sell the Lakers.  Kobe sells Kobe.  The two are partners in a NBA "firm" and they share the revenue based upon importance.  Kobe plays on the road and helps every NBA team sell tickets; not just the Lakers.  Kobe helps all does any other popular player.

You have a few owners:  Lakers,Celtics, Knicks...that bring revenue in simply for their name and location. But not 50% of it.  They also gotta win...and to win; you gotta have great players.  So although Kobe brings in millions..without Gasol or Bynum they don't win...and winning brings in millions more.

The Owners want the NBA to be more like a sales firm.  They want control and they want to make millions and they don't wanna share it like a partnership.  Clearly this is illogical.  And it isn't the majority of owners either....if majority ruled; this would be over.  It is losers like Cleveland and Sacramento that can't make money and don't really care about a season that is holding everything up.  Which is why I for one:  vote for contraction.  To stop the nonsense.  Get Gilbert out immediately.  He is a disgrace to the sport.

The 50/50 split is more than fair.  The owners want more.  So of course, one would side with the players.  DUH  To me; the players should always have more in revenue because of this simple fact:  These guys play on the road for half a season and that money they make has nothing to do with the team on their shirt.  It has to do with WHO they are.  And that is why; players are more valuable than the owners.   There are many arenas that only fill the seats when a special players comes to their town.  That is OBVIOUS proof that this is a players league...not a team league.  It has been since Jordan.  The NBA are the fools in all this.  They are the ones that starting touting players instead of teams.  And fans followed suit.  So ironically enough; they only have themselves to blame.  They tout players for additional revenue and then realize that they just changed the NBA world to players instead of teams.....  Rather humorous I think.  But all in all; it was always a partnership.  Since Jordan, the players rule.

I notice the Owners only whine when times are tough.  Geez, I'm sorry that you pay a player $20 million and only bring in 12 times that amount (220 million).  Geez, however do you pay your bills with a measely $220 million.  (realize there are only 30 owners to several hundred although the percentage is similar..57% to 43%; owners still make 12 times the amount of any player....and then take into consideration that some players make FAR less than 20 million)....seems the Owners are crying foul.

If an owner cannot make a profit with 12 times the players profit; then they are idiots. And I'm not sure any business pays for stupidity.  So if you want to win...and you want to overpay guys to try and win....they expect to pay for it.  Don't ask someone else to pay it for you.

The Owners cannot make a partnership...not a partnership.  No matter how greedy they want to try and be....they are partners plain and simple.  And there are less games this season; if a season, cause Owners are greedy.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:55 am

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

Your point is ridiculous. Your engineering company is not the NBA. You operate in a free market with competion. The owners do not. They have a captive market. If they had to pay the start players what they were worth they would be in a different position. Jerry Buss says that Kobe brings in 70 million dollars in revenue for the Lakers yet they pay him 25 million. In other words, if as an employee you brought in a mllion dollars in business and your boss paid you 50,000 I do not think you would be very content. In fact you would leave and go to another firm. But in the NBA the owners collude and players cant go to other teams becasues of the rules. They in fact eliminate competiton. Is that a free market capitalism? I think not. 

Jerry Buss may profit from Kobe Bryant ( as he should being his EMPLOYEE) but what do you Gasol or Bynum are worth?  Those 2 make almost 35 million dollars per season combined yet if they fell off the face of the earth right now, the Lakers wouldn't lose 1 season ticket or 1 fan let alone millions.  

The owners do not "collude", collusion is illegal and players can sue for much more then their salaries if the owners were charged with collusion.  What the owners do is negotiate a new CBA every few seasons and they follow the rules as per their agreement with the players.  If the players wanted a free market,  then fight for that.  Don't play until you get it.... it's that simple, right?  Oh wait,, it's not that simple because with a completely free market that doesn't limit what teams spend and where players go there is no 30 team league.  Half the teams would disappear since players would never want to play there, thus half of the player's jobs would disappear as well.  The BRI would decrease by at least half as well so the players would gain nothing except for lose half their membership.  Doesn't sound like something worth fighting for to me.

By the way, I can tell you don't know anything about sales or business for that matter.  An employee that rakes in 33 percent of what he brings in for his owner is an ENORMOUS number my friend.  I've worked in sales since I was a kid, haven't done anything else in my adult life and still haven't met anybody that makes a good living working for any big business that brings in anywhere near 33 percent.

Finally, and related to the topic I just responded to above the example you gave sucks because  there are plenty of salespeople on commission structures that range from 5-15 percent.  Sure, if they are million dollar producers and on the lower end of that scale they'll probably take home more then 50 grand with a small salary in addition to their commission, but they don't profit what you think they profit.  A person bringing in 1 million dollars for the company he works depending on the industry he works in will probably gross somewhere between 50 and 150 grand, the 5 to 15 percent I mentioned.  If it's an extremely skilled employee with a huge client base and a lot of leverage, maybe that person rakes in 200 grand.... but almost never more and he'll never approach Kobe's 33 percent that you mentioned. 

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:40 am

Hunter: Players, some owners open to Cuban plan

Some people on this board just don't get business! Why don't you go to the company you work for and tell your CEO that you and the employees deserve 53 percent of the company revenue. Let's see what kind of response you get. I love when people think that because they have millions or billions of dollars, that it is ok for them to loose money. Do you think they got to where they are by running businesses that do not make money?? The players could never start a league of their own because they don't have the money. This along with contracts with media outlets, major sponsors and stadiums gives them no chance of success. Plus they would put all the stars on one team and think that is what the fans want to see.

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