Blog Entry

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 11:11 am
Posted by Royce Young

Tensions are high right now with the NBA's labor negotiations. Both sides are pushing hard for a deal, fans are getting more and more restless and there are players out there that are looking at a 50-50 revenue split and saying, "Let's just play."

The union has always tried to stay on message: Stand united. But the deeper it does, the more opportunity there is for something divisive to split up opinions. And with Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter leading the charge for the players, it would only be natural that the two butt heads a bit. Which they are, says
This is fact: The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher has been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push, a source familiar with the negotiations told Friday afternoon.
That, however, isn't true so says Hunter. Hunter and Fisher are still totally cool, via Sports Business Daily:
NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter disputed a report that indicated there was a rift between himself and union President Derek Fisher. Hunter, in a telephone interview with SportsBusiness Journal late Sunday evening, said he did not confront Fisher about him pushing for players to take a 50-50 split of basketball revenues on Friday morning, hours before talks to end the NBA lockout broke down.
Whew, this isn't getting less and less fun by the day.

There's so much random, sourced information flying around right now that it's incredibly hard to sift through and figure out what's real and what's not. It's hard to judge if it could be a PR tactic planted by the other side, if it's real or if it's just something misunderstood.

And as frustrating as it is for fans to have to deal with all this stuff, imagine what it's like for Hunter, Fisher, Stern and Silver. They have a message to deliver and it gets intercepted and corrupted half the time by an anonymous source. Has to be frustrating.

You know what would fix all of that though? A labor deal. Just saying.

Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:20 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Very few people will care if the NBA does not play a game this season. 

Not so ... considering how many posters are on this thread making comments

In short, the NBAPA has run out of time.  Players will cease to recieve their NBA paychecks as of Nov 1st and creditors and ex-wives (LOL) are looking for payment. 

It's brave and as much as the Union can pound their chest and say "they are right" - sorry, if they aren't cutting a check, the owners have played this correctly.  Teams like the Lakers, Mavs and Knicks have all worked with players association (funny how the big market teams with money are in favor of the players), bottomline ....

NBAPA ... time to pay the players if your that firm in your beliefs, oh you're not made out of money.  Owners should be laughing at this so called "rift" lol

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:18 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Redwings and Keeping It, you two both make inteligent arguments, but I think you are both mistaken.  The owners are at fault because what they really want is self-contradictory.  You cannot have a mutually beneficial model where teams are all profitable (at the expense of the players) while maintaining competitive balance.  Pick one (either profitable for all or balanced for all), and lets go with that. 

I would be on the owners side if they were not skewing the numbers.  To say that teams are not profitable is not the same as saying they are not making money.  "Making money" means that you bring in more revenue the you pay out in expenses.  The owners are acting as if depreciation of their franchise is an expense.  So Cleveland, who's franchise lost an estimated 25% of its value the day Lebron left is counting that as $125 million dollar loss. 

THAT is nonesense.  That is why the players do not trust the owners numbers. 

Ultimately, the owners are asking for a good business deal by demanding the players not take a fair one.  Remove the salary cap AND the salary floor.  If the Kings need to keep payroll at $15 million per season, then so be it.  If Cleveland wanted to pay Lebron $40 million per season to play there (since he means THAT MUCH to Cleveland business - and trust me, he does), then that is how it SHOULD be.  That is a FREE MARKET.  That is capitalism. 

But owners want all the teams to be "competitive" too, and that is the sticking point because that is impossible as long as free agency is around and there is a salary cap in place.  Players are too easily marketed, and there is too much money to be made outside of the game In a sport where players do not wear helmets.  The more you surpress team salaries, the more important it becomes for players to end up in bigger markets to supplement their income.  Kevin Durrant is an amazing athlete - how many commercials do you see him in?  Deron Williams spent the majority of his career as one of the 3 best PGs in the league, yet how many commercials have you seen HIM in? 

The only fix to this is to allow for small market teams (if not everyone) to exceed the hard cap to pay their talent, whatever is required to make the talent stay.  if that does not happen, their two goals are irreconcilable

Most fans will tell you that the league could contract and the only people would miss the Kings, Raptors, Bobcats and Hornets are the people in Sacramento, Toronto, Charlotte and New Orleans.  THEN you MIGHT be able to accomplish both goals (but if you did that, you might find that the ownership in those cities might present their books slightly differently - none of them would be anxious to sell, that is for sure).  The players union would not be happy with with the 50-60 roster spots lost there either. 

Since: Nov 29, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:48 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

I am one those people who strongly hopes that the entire NBA season is canceled.  The players are delustional if they think 57% of the revenue is an equitable deal to both sides.  But the part that particulary rubs me the wrong way is how so many players and fans portray this as slaves rising up against the plantation owners.  Yep, I hope the season is canceled.  Football is the only sport American's truly love and cannot be without.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:44 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

I always find labor disputes interesting.......especially when unions are involved.  It seems to run the same course of action no matter what union is involved.  The union leaders push for an over the top deal that ownership/management will not go for.  The next step involves a lock-out or strike.  Then the employees or players start loosing money and want to give in a little.  The union leaders are getting paid, so they say "no, we must stand united and push for our demands".  Then the locked out/striking folks push against the union until they break and finally a deal is made.

It sounds as though we are reaching that point in this latest edition of labor versus owners.........Derek Fisher wants to play ball and said he can get the players on board, but wait....Hunter says no way we can still do better.  The cracks are growing bigger and I bet within 1 week a deal is reached.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:37 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Everyone thinks the players are at fault here. If you look deep into the issues here, it's both parties but majority of the owners. They put themselves in this spot years ago. They promote the players more than any other league out there. The players deserve more revenue.

Yeah right, you are one funny guy.  First of all, the owners have to PROFIT or there is no league.... remember that.  Second of all there shouldn't even be ONE owner that doesn't profit as much as the highest paid player on his team.  What do you think the owners are in this for, to help the players live a beautiful life? No. They are in this to PROFIT as well.... as they should.  As for the owners putting themselves in this position years ago, you are right about that one.... and now since the CBA expired the owners are allowed by law to get themselves out of this position.  Or wait, you think they are obligated to continue with an agreement that isn't profitable? C'mon...

Finally, remember one last thing.  If there is no NBA tomorrow, if the NBA was to go bankrupt the owners would remain billionaires or at the very least worth hundreds of millions and running the outside businesses they own, the businesses that got them where they are today.  The players?  90 percent of them wouldn't be so lucky, and at least 50 percent couldn't even survive without the NBA.

Playing overseas is not a real option for most NBA players... maybe a temporary option, but not long term.  A lot of them have girlfriends or wives with children, they have parents, brothers and sisters to take care of.   Do you think it's as easy as a snap of a finger to convince your wife and kids to move to china or greece or Italy or Croatia?  And for what, on average half of what they would make in the NBA with a 50-50 split?  None of this makes sense...

The owners have always and will always be in the driver's seat.  The players are nothing more then employees, that's it.  Another thing to keep in mind is these players didn't come from a place that doesn't exist anymore.... they come from U.S colleges and overseas, plenty of players will be ready to step in and willing to take their place.  You think the quality of the game would decrease if that happened?  You might be wrong.... the quality of the NBA sucks right now, the same teams contend over and over and over and over again and their fan base is getting sick of it.

Until the day comes where the union can afford and have the know how to start their own league, they should shut up and sign the CBA the owners recommend they sign.   

Since: Sep 15, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:13 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Its time for the players to give in.  I'm with the owners on this one.  The players do give their blood, sweat and tears but its the owners' money that's on the line.  The owners could invest their money in something else.  The players don't have as many options.  They are  employees, not owners.  When they want to cal lthe shots, they can start their own businesses and when their money is on the line, when they have to make the mortgage payments, write the paychecks, then and only then can they call the shots. They should be lucky and thankful that the owners want to give them a 50-50 split.  I believe there is a rift and kudos to Derek Fisher. He has shown himself to be an extremely intelligent man who has a future iin business, politics, he could succeed Billy Hunter such is his pedigree.

So I hope the owners stand firm. They can use replacement players and start all over. The players don't quite have that option.  I guess they could all go to Europe but whatever, that's probably not realistic.  Owners should hold firm til early December, when Christmas is around the corner and see how many of those players become willing to give in, having missed 6 weeks pay with families and hangers on looking for presents. 

Hold firm owners.  A deal will be done as Christmas nears.  There will be infighting by players who make league minimum or who havent' planned financially or who just wanna play and get paid. The NBPA will implode.  Billy Hunter will lose credibility and will remain in his job only until Fisher retires from playing.

Remember you heard if first from Keeping it Real!

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:55 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

If there is a rift between Hunter and Fisher, with Fisher saying it's time to deal, well then good for Derek Fisher.  At this point the players are going to miss a month of salary and the absolute most this current group of owners is going to give them is maybe a couple tenths of a percentage point above 50.  This is not the 90s or even the early 2000s.  The economy sucks and there are a whole raft of new owners including some total hardballers like Paul Allen and Mr Nyet (good grief, NBAllers do you really think you can mess with Putin's buddy?) to say nothing of the Teddy Leonsis, who is not carrying a limp wrist in that velvet glove.  David Stern does not have sway with these dudes like he did with old guys like Abe Pollin, who bought their teams cheap and blessed the day David showed them how to market this game.  There are big mortgages to be paid, kids.     

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:50 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Everyone thinks the players are at fault here. If you look deep into the issues here, it's both parties but majority of the owners. They put themselves in this spot years ago. They promote the players more than any other league out there. The players deserve more revenue.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:10 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

Of course Derek Fisher is getting a little antsy, we knew the time would come where he would face incredible pressure from his membership and that time is now.  Can anybody really even imagine how many phone calls and emails Fisher fields on a daily basis from NBA players?  I know I can't even take a guess let alone have the slightest clue what that answer is.  What I do know is the math is starting to heavily favour the owners.  The players already lost a month of their pay, or since all salaries are paid during the regular season we'll just call it about 15 percent of their pay.  So far, this means Fisher has lost about 500 thousand dollars, and his good buddy Kobe has already lost well over 3 million dollars in salary for the 2011-2012 season.  Pretty soon, Stern is going to announce another 2 weeks of cancelled games or another 7 or 8 percent. That'll mean another 250 grand or so for Fisher and another 1.5 million or so for Kobe..... 

Time to give in players.... 

Since: Nov 8, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:16 pm

Billy Hunter denies rift with Derek Fisher

"Fans getting more or more restless...?"

Very few people will care if the NBA does not play a game this season.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or