Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 2:58 am
By Matt Moore
Update 2:49 a.m.: Two separate lists of players involved in the calls came out late Thursday night. Yahoo! Sports reported Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jason Kidd, Al Horford, and Tyson Chandler, while ESPN reported Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, along with Ray Allen and Dwight Howard. That makes leaders from six different teams, including six current or future All-Stars. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have not been formally connected to the talks, but considering Pierce's involvement, it could be assumed they were in support of the movement. That's a lot of players with a lot of pull.
We're in dark waters, here, kids.
Yahoo Sports and the New York Times are reporting that 50 members of the National Basketball Players Association held two separate conference calls this week with an antitrust attorneys to discuss decertification and subsequent lawsuits... without the knowledge of NBPA executive board members.
So, that's fun.
Yahoo reports that meetings were spurred by players, including multiple All-Stars, who refuse to go below the 52 percent of Basketball-Related Income already offered in negotiations with the NBA. These players reportedly feel too many concessions have been made. This directly contrasts multiple reports and statements from other players indicating that a 51 or 50 percent compromise would be considered reasonable in pursuit of a deal. This new set of reports indicates that not only is the union divided, it is divided bitterly.
A move to decertify is thought to equate to the end of Billy Hunter's tenure as executive director of the NBPA. It would also kickstart a scorched earth policy by taking the sport to the courts, one that could take literally years to resolve. The union would require 30 percent of its membership to sign a petition to raise a vote for decertification, then a simple majority of its membership to formally approve it. In other words, the 50-player contingent would need to bring on over roughly 150 additional players in order to reach that threshold.
The reports come from multiple sources within 48 hours of a scheduled meeting on Saturday between the NBA and NBPA, which raises suspicions of the intent of the purposeful leak. The question is why and to what end.
After talks broke down a week ago, it was predicted that things would get uglier.
They certanly have.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 2:08 pm
Posted by Royce Young
How do you explain the lockout? Not in terms of Basketball Related Income or a hard salary cap or the luxury tax. How do you really describe it to the guy changing your oil or the lady working at the toll booth?
Basically it's this: There's money to be divided and both sides want their cut. No matter how you spin it, that's the heart of the issue. And knowing that one sides makes billions of dollars and the other makes millions of dollars means it's extremely hard for the everyday fan to relate to the issues.
Steve Nash understands. Via the Arizona Republic:
"You have two wealthy sides arguing over percentage points,” Nash said. “It’s hard for fans to understand that this is a business. I don’t blame them. If I were in their shoes, I’d be critical, frustrated or even angry. You just want to see the game you love. Both sides are arguing for inevitably selfish reasons, but also for what’s right when they are gone. It’s a big mess.”Not just fans that don't get it, but I think a lot of players feel the same way. Michael Beasley called it "retarded." Glen Davis said to just take 51 percent and move on. Terrence Williams said enough is enough. Micky Arison's "barking at the wrong owner" tweet basically indicated that he doesn't get it either. Like Nash said, the whole thing's a mess.
The brass tacks of the dispute is indeed that both sides are being selfish. Greedy even. Players can call owners that, but the reality is, they want to protect their $5.1 million salary and make sure it doesn't drop to, gasp, $4.7 million.
Call it whatever you want, try and disguise it as getting a "fair" deal or just be honest like Nash. Reality is, the whole thing sucks and it's all about money.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:44 pm
Posted by Royce Young
We've all heard or at least thought about the collateral damage done during the lockout. Downtown economies, restaraunts, bars and the thousands of arena employees that make game nights possible.
It's been easy to invoke those employees as a reason to settle the lockout, whether it's legit concern or not. Players have taken to Twitter to apologize to them about them missing paychecks, but you don't really see them doing much about it (Danny Granger excluded).
The blight of the arena worker has been something people talk about, a topic of this lockout. But how is it really affecting them? Like more than just saying, 'What about the arena workers!?!" how is the lockout hurting those that rely on that second (or primary) job for income to get by. Consider this story from the Orlando Sentinel:
You see that? This is real. This isn't just talk or PR tactic, make-you-feel-bad stuff. This is really happening. Arena workers in Orlando are going to an outreach center to get food for their families because they lost their jobs. ARE YOU KIDDING ME NBA?
Like I said, we all have heard the pleas to think of the poor little ticket taker man, but nobody really thinks about him. Nobody really considers what that person might be going through. Well, in Orlando, that poor little ticket taker man is having to go to an outreach center to get enough food to cover his losses. Because billionaire NBA owners and millionaire NBA players can't settle on how to split up some $4 billion in revenue, that arena employee has to live with the stress of not knowing where he/she is going to get food for their family.
Awesome job everyone involved. You should be real proud of this.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:51 am
By Matt Moore
From the Boston Herald, they're headed back to the table once more:
After breaking off talks last Friday, the NBA and players’ union are expected to resume face to face negotiations this Saturday in New York, according to involved sources.via BostonHerald.com - Blogs: Celtics Insider» Blog Archive » League, players to resume talks Saturday.
It will have been one week and a day since labor talks last broke down on Friday. There was speculation the two sides would meeet this week but apparently they couldn't stand the sight of each other after the long talks that went into the wee hours of the morning last week yielded no deal.
The two sides are said to be "95 percent" done according to the New York Times but are bitterly divided over the remaining items on the agenda, the largest of which is the split of Basketball-Related Income. The owners have refused to accept less than 50 percent after getting only 43 percent in the previous agreement, while union officials have held firm at 52 percent (after saying they were holding firm at 53 percent... you see where this is going). The union has been rocked by allegations and indications from its members that there is a growing interest in finding a deal at 50 percent, while some members remain decisively behind holding the line at 52.
It's difficult to see how these talks will generate anything positive, but talking is better than not talking, in most cases.
Saturday will be day 128 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:37 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
National Basketball Players Association Derek Fisher is under attack. And it's only getting worse by the day.
After recent reports questioned his loyalty, his relationship with NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, and his leadership abilities, Fisher responded by sending a letter to the NBPA in an effort to mend fences on Monday and threatening to sue one media outlet on Tuesday for reporting that he might have been co-opted by NBA commissioner David Stern.
Those aggressive counterpunches appear to have done little to stem the criticism.
On Wednesday, 16-year NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse, who most recently had a cup of coffee with the Miami Heat in 2010-2011, torched Fisher in a ESPN radio interview, delivering arguably the harshest critique of the union president to date.
"Not to say anything against Derek Fisher, it's not that I don't think he's a great guy," Stackhouse said, "But I don't want him negotiating my contract. I want an agent who knows the lingo negotiating my contract. Derek Fisher, he doesn't negotiate his own contract. He has an agent. So why would I want him negotiating something even bigger than his contract? This [Collective Bargaining Agreement] is something more important to everybody."
If that wasn't clear enough for you, Stackhouse went on to leave no doubt that he feels Fisher is outmatched in the current negotiation.
"David Stern, he's made this league what it is," Stackhouse said. "He's one of the greatest commissioners in sports. He's got that title, he's got the NBA at the place where it is because he's a shrewd businessman and knows how to work his way, play the media, play things up to get what he wants. We don't do that. Players are emotional. Players get emotional. So no, I don't necessarily, particularly want Derek Fisher or any of the executive committee negotiating a contract for me."
While Stackhouse sounded reluctant to outright accuse Fisher of disloyalty to his members, he clearly left the possibility open.
"I don't know [if Derek met with the NBA]," Stackhouse said. "I would hope not. I don't think Derek is that kind of guy from what I've seen. But at the same time, he does have aspirations to possibly be a G.M. one day. If he can be the guy to bring the sides together in whatever way, maybe there would be an oppportunity for him to be a G.M. I'm not saying that he has an ulterior motive but the possibility lies there."
If there was a silver lining for Fisher, it was that Stackhouse's frustration with the NBPA pre-dated Fisher's tenure as president, which began in 2006.
"Over the course of my career, the last 16 years, it seems like the executive committee is always making concessions," Stackhouse said. "More concessions, more concessions in each Collective Bargaining Agreement and this is no different. I don't think there's ever been a case where it seems like we have any leverage... We need to have more people who are capable of going toe to toe with David Stern and I just don't think players who spend most of their time playing basketball and Billy Hunter are geared to do that."
Despite airing all of that frustration, Stackhouse said he didn't give much credence to reports that there is a developing rift between Fisher and Hunter.
"I don't think they are necessarily at odds. But I think they are obviously are each feeling different pressures. I can imagine their voicemails are full all the time, text messages all the time about different items, from different players and different representatives... Obviously you're going to butt heads from time to time but I think for the most part both of those guys want to get a deal done."
But unity among the union's leadership isn't enough to convince Stackhouse the NBPA will deliver a good deal for its members.
"I'm not sure they are going about it the right way, of actually getting a good deal done for the players," he said.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:52 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Social networking: it's not just for your teenage daughter and the dork that lives next door any more.
The NBA has opened an official, verified Twitter account -- @NBA_Labor -- to add their message to the labor discussion during the ongoing lockout. The account's profile promises to provide "Collective Bargaining news and facts directly from the NBA office."
The account currently boasts more than 1,000 followers, even though it has only posted four messages. All four attempt to correct the record on a labor issue, whether it's the amnesty clause, player compensation or the all-important revenue split.
On Wednesday, the account sent a message to Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva and Oklahoma City Thunder center Nazr Mohammed to dispute their understanding of the revenue split.
"Owners last proposal was a 50/50 equal split of BRI, the agreed-upon revenue share between the league & players," the message read. The National Basketball Players Association disputes that the owners offered a true 50/50 split because of the deductions taken off prior to the splitting process.
The NBA's official account then retweeted the message to its more than 3 million followers.
Mohammed replied: "Don't tweet me during this lockout! Isn't that a fine or something lol?!?! #NBALockout That's hilarious! I can't workout at our team's facilities or have contact with coaches but @NBA_Labor & @NBA can harass me on twitter lol SMH"
Mohammed is referencing the NBA's gag order, which provides NBA players and their teams from having contact during the lockout.
Correcting the record is one thing and a noble goal, but this feels like a heavy-handed and petty approach from the league, especially when no real negotiations are taking place.
NBA players: there is only one way to respond. Hit that block button and lock out the league from your Twitter feeds. Make this a lockout blockout.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 6:43 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It was probably inevitable. At some point, the players were going to just get fed and want to play basketball. Whether you buy into the reports of the union splitting at the seams or you think their letters are legit, there's some division going on. Glen Davis tweeted today, "Take the 51% man and let's play."
And on top of it, Terrence Williams of the Rockets added another:
The union's in a dangerous place right now. They still want a fair deal, which they won't ever get. But at the very least, they want a deal that they can present as being worth losing a month for. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter want something they can take back to the union and say, "See, it was worth it guys."
Which is probably the current deal on the table, sadly. Players like Davis and Williams aren't going to influence Fisher and Hunter to cave toward an unwanted deal, but the more Fisher's phone buzzes with players echoing that feeling, the more he's going to have to walk in prepared to take something below 53 percent.
And it also means that there's some credence to the stuff about it being Hunter versus Fisher right now. The word is that players are taking sides between Hunter and Fisher right now. There are those ready to "fold" as JaVale McGee might put it and there are others willing to stick it out, if for at least a little longer.
Here's reality though: They played chicken with the owners. And they lost. They said they were drawing the line at 53 and weren't going to dip below. But they can't win that fight. They're going to have to give up their precious three percent to take a deal and get back to not just playing, but getting paid. Maybe they can convince the owners to meet them at 51 percent. But at this point, that might be a pipe dream.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:51 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met on Wednesday in Brooklyn. The only problem: they met in a courtroom rather than in a negotiating conference room.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the NBA and the NBPA were in court to give oral arguments in the NBPA's motion to dismiss the NBA's lawsuit. The NBA originally filed suited because the NBPA allegedly threatened to decertify.
Court spokeswoman confirms U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe did not rule on The NBPA's motion to dismiss NBA's lawsuit Wednesday. Per spokeswoman, Gardephe will ask parties to brief him in writing on additional issues before ruling. Timing of ruling uncertain. Union asking judge to dismiss lawsuit, in which the NBA seeks declaratory judgment on legality of potential decertification by The NBPA.So, if the courtroom drama is all pretty much irrelevant, when will they head back to the negotiating room?
Berger reports that there are still no new negotiating sessions scheduled after talks blew up last Friday, although he writes that NBPA leadership officials "will convene Thursday for strategy session" but it's "unclear how many players will attend."
What's holding up the talks?
Berger writes that the difference of opinion over the revenue split remains the key issue separating the two sides, and that it's now the primary reason no new talks have yet been scheduled.
No point to more bargaining until each side decides how much -- if at all - it intends to move on BRI. Most other issues resolved. NBA negotiators have talked with labor committee members and other owners this week, source says. Players also have to decide next move.Earlier Wednesday, there were indications that the obvious compromise on the revenue issue might still be possible.