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Tag:Derek FIsher
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:20 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:28 am
 

Report: Hunter says player reps to vote Monday

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representative democracy has arrived to the NBA lockout. Sort of.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told SI.com on Saturday that the NBPA's player representatives will vote on a modified version of the NBA's most recent proposal to the players during a meeting scheduled for Monday morning.
When reached on Saturday night, however, Hunter told SI.com that his intention was to have the player representatives vote on a revised version of the NBA's latest proposal before moving forward.

"We will vote on the NBA's proposal," Hunter wrote in a text message. "The proposal will be presented with some proposed amendments."

When the most recent negotiating session broke on Thursday night, NBPA president Derek Fisher said the proposal made by the NBA did not sufficiently address the NBPA's desires on system issues.

"We have a revised proposal from the NBA," Fisher said. "It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."

The plan here, it seems, is to work in the desired system changes, secure enough votes to ensure that the players as a whole are reasonably happy, and then present the modified version of the league's offer back to the league for further negotiations and/or their approval.

(There's also the possibility that the proposal -- even an amended version -- is voted down. In that case, the process is stalled at the same place it is right now.)

It's a plan born of desperation. The NBPA realizes that if the players reject the NBA's current proposal outright the NBA is prepared to revert to a significantly worse proposal that they have said publicly will include a 47 percent revenue split and a flex camp system. But, if the players vote to accept the NBA's current proposal they will, well, be stuck with what Hunter admitted on Thursday was not a favorable deal. 

"It's not the greatest proposal in the world," Hunter said. "But I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."

Based on recent public statements from both sides, it's likely the players will focus their amendment efforts, at least in part, on system issues that they believe will allow for freer player movement. Those line-item issues could include the luxury tax structure and penalty system as well as the mid-level exception.

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver specifically singled out the player movement issue as a point of "philosophical difference" between the owners and players. The owners believe a rigid luxury tax system and a restricted mid-level exception for luxury tax payers will increase competitive balance in the league, while the players believe that those changes would unnecessarily tie players to franchises and thereby limit their free agency options.

So how will this new plan of the union's br received? That will depend on the quantity and scope of their proposed amendments, of course. But NBA commissioner David Stern said in a Friday night interview that the league's most recent offer is effectively a final one.

"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said. 

Still, if faced with the possibility of hitting a home run the revenue split by reducing the players' share from 57 percent to 50 percent, winning numerous, major concessions on system issues, entirely avoiding any potential court battles or union decertification, enjoying a 72-game schedule that starts in a little more than a month and getting the league back on track, Stern and the owners likely have a measure of motivation to make some final, minor concessions to close out this seemingly endless labor battle.

That would be logical. But logic, as we've learned recently, has no place here.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Stern: Decertification will backfire on agents

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-stern-asleep

NBA commissioner David Stern's talking points have crystallized: the league has officially made its best offer to the players, the 2011-2012 season rests in the hands of the NBPA, the possibility of a canceled season is unthinkable, and the potential decertification of the union is a negotiating tactic that will backfire on the agents who are reportedly pushing for it.  

During a nationally-televised ESPN interview on Friday night, Stern laid out his arguments, point by point, explaining first why he chose to extend the deadline on the league's current offer past its original date of Wednesday.

"Well, we stopped the clock so that we could negotiate," Stern said, "and we came out of last night with a proposal [that is] as far as the owners could possibly reach to the players. That [proposal] provides a 72-game season starting Dec. 15. I'm very, very hopeful that the players and the union will say 'yes, let's have the season, let's begin it on Dec. 15.'"

Stern characterized the current proposal as possessing the largest concessions the NBA plans to make.

"The owners have moved to wherever they are going to move to," Stern said. "This is the proposal that's on the table. If it's not accepted, then we'll be substituting the proposal [with one] that the union knows about when the clock starts again, and it will be very far from where this proposal is."

The fall-back proposal is said to include a 47 percent revenue share for the players -- down from 50 percent contained in the current proposal -- and a flex cap system.

NBPA president Derek Fisher said on Thursday that the owners' current proposal doesn't do enough to compensate the players on system issues for their potential $3 billion concession on the revenue split, thus opening up the possibility of a lost season.

Stern would have none of that. 

"I refuse to contemplate the loss of a season," he said. "It's going to be too painful for the players and the owners alike. But [if it happened] we'll still be here, we'll pick up the pieces and do the best we can under the circumstances. That's not an eventuality that I anticipate or look forward to. It's all in the hands of the players."

For months, player agents have been pushing for the decertification of the union, a cry that drew more support following Thursday's negotiating session, when it became clear that the NBA's current offer was not substantially better than its previous one, which was rejected by an NBPA group meeting on Tuesday. Stern said the threat of decertification is a strategic ploy that would jeopardize the 2011-2012 season.

"[it's a move] actually calculated to, one, [serve] as a tactic to improve their bargaining position and, two, as making it even more likely that there won't be a season," Stern said.

If the union did decertify, Stern predicted the move would backfire. 

"If the union is not in existence, then neither are 4 billion dollars worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into under condition that there's a union, Stern said. "So if the agents insist on playing with fire, my guess is that they would get themselves burned."

Asked if the NBA would employ "scab" players if the NBPA decertificed, Stern said simply: "I don't want to go there now."

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com 
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:00 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 12:57 am
 

NBPA says NBA's revised offer is not good enough

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for nearly eight hours on Thursday in New York City, emerging at 11 p.m. Thursday evening to inform the assembled media that they still have not yet reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The day's major news, though, came when NBA commissioner David Stern met with the NBA's labor relations committee and was authorized to make the NBPA a revised offer. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the new offer is not the significantly worse offer featuring a 47 percent BRI share for the NBPA and a flex cap system threatened by Stern last Saturday, but instead is a new, slightly improved proposal based on the last two days of negotiations.

NBPA president Derek Fisher said after the meeting adjourned that the league's revised offer was not good enough for the players to accept immediately.

"We have a revised proposal from the NBA," Fisher said. "It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."

Fisher said that the union would confer with its player representatives to determine their next course of action and is hoping to continue negotiations after that process takes place.

"At this point we've decided to end things for now, take a step back," Fisher said. "We'll go back as an executive committee, as a board, and confer with our player reps and additional players over the next few days and then we'll make decisions about what our next steps will be at that point. Obviously, we still would like to continue negotiating and find a way to get a deal done but right now is not that time."

Fisher called it "another long day" of negotiations and admitted that "a litany of issues" still remain unresolved. However, he did acknowledge that the NBA's revised offer was an improvement from its previous offer.

"On a couple of the issues there was some revision, some change since the last proposal that we saw," Fisher said, "but at this time it's not enough to entice us to try to finish this out tonight."

NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said the player representatives would meet on "Monday [or] Tuesday at the latest," but he made it clear that there is still plenty of ground to be covered between the two sides.

"It's not the greatest proposal in the world," Hunter said. "But I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."

In addition to the six major economic and system issues -- including the mid-level exception and luxury tax structure -- that have been discussed this week, Hunter said, "another 30 or 40 issues" remain unresolved, including the age limit, player discipline issues, days off for players, and others. 

While Fisher and Hunter didn't get into too many specifics of the league's new offer, Berger reports that it includes a 50/50 split of BRI, as expected, but does not include significant concessions on system issues. The owners did improve their luxury tax mid-level exception offer by increasing its value $500,000 and extending its length for one year. These are generally considered minor adjustments.

Stern's account of the current situation was virtually identical to that presented by the NBPA, although he provided additional logistical specifics.

"We've had another couple of intense days," Stern said. "We made a revised proposal to the union which attempted to meet their concerns as best as we and the labor relations committee could. We did that in the context of the possibility that we could have a 72-game season starting on December 15."

Stern confirmed the NBPA's stated timeline for the next steps in these talks, saying that he was extending his previous deadline of Wednesday through to next Tuesday.

NBA Labor

"We understand that the revised proposal will be presented to the board of the union on Monday, or if travel is difficult, no later than Tuesday," Stern said. "Just as the clock had stopped on Wednesday as we negotiated through to today, it would remain stopped through [Hunter's] meeting with his board. Then, at that time, if we don't get a positive response the revised offer starting at 47 percent and based upon a flex cap would be our revised negotiating position."

He then struck somewhat of a conciliatory tone, thanking the union's executive staff for their efforts and attempting to paint the league's current offer as a compromise between the desired outcomes from both sides. 

"We don't expect them to like every aspect of our revised proposal," Stern said of the players. "I would say that there are many teams that don't like every aspect of our revised proposal. But I did tell Billy that that proposal has the support of the chairman of the labor relations committee, Adam, me and the labor relations comittee itself."

The talks between the two sides would be suspended until after the NBPA meets next week, Stern said, because talks would not be fruitful until the players have time to consider the merits of the offer in full.

"It doesn't make any sense to keep going here [because] we have made our revised proposal and we are not planning to make another one," Stern said.

The commissioner, when asked directly, refused to offer a prediction on whether the NBPA would approve of the offer.

"I would not presume to project or predict what the union will do. I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule, starting on December 15."

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that the 72-game schedule would be made possible by pushing the NBA playoffs back one week.

Thursday's talks began at noon and marked the second consecutive day of negotiations between the two sides. The chatter throughout the day was minimal, except for a brief moment of optimism caused when former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts told a Salt Lake City radio station that he heard an agreement had been reached, before later back-tracking.

The ongoing NBA lockout has now lasted for 133 days.
Posted on: November 10, 2011 1:07 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 1:51 am
 

NBA-NBPA talks pass deadline; still no deal

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for roughly 12 hours on Wednesday in New York City -- blowing past a 5 p.m. deadline imposed by commissioner David Stern -- and emerged at 1 a.m. Thursday morning to inform the assembled media that they still have not yet reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that "no deal" was reached.

"We've agreed that we have stopped the clock and we continue to negotiate," Stern told reporters after the negotiating session concluded. "I would not read into this optimism or pessimism, we're just continuing to negotiate."

Talks will resume on Thursday at noon Eastern, Stern said.

Wednesday's talks, which began at 1 p.m., were the first since Saturday, when Stern imposed his deadline, telling the NBPA that the league's offer would get significantly worse if it was not accepted. Following an NBPA meeting on Tuesday, NBPA president Derek Fisher signaled a willingness to re-open negotiations and apparently was ready to accept the league's proposal on the all-important revenue split if the owners would include desired changes to system issues in their offer.

Following Wednesday's talks, both the NBA and NBPA addressed the media.

"Nothing was worked out today," Stern said. "We're not failing and we're not succeeding, we're just there."

Asked why the league has not reverted to its threat of a worse offer yet, Stern said it was still a possibility, although it would only occur after the current bargaining session was over.

"It was our understanding going in, at the end of the negotiating session, whether it ends today or it ends tomorrow, that's when our offer reverts," Stern said. "We're trying to demostrate our good faith and I think the union is trying to demonstrate its good faith."

"We've obviously been here for quite some today," Fisher said. "We spent a lot of time covering all of the issues that we still have remaining but we can't say that there was significant progress today, but we're going to meet again tomorrow... to see if we can continue to make the effort to try to finish this out."

Fisher was asked to comment on the NBPA's decision to concede a 50/50 revenue split -- down from the 57 percent the NBPA had in the previous deal -- in hopes that it would lead to the NBA improving its offer on system issues.

"I think what we stated yesterday was an openness and a willingness to come off our number," Fisher said, "and come closer to a deal on the economics and we would be willing to move on a lot of system issues that we expect from them. We never actually said '50/50 and give us the entire system.' What we've continued to say is that if we continue to make economic concessions on the BRI split, in exchange for that there should be more flexibility from the NBA and the league on the system and that continues to be our belief." 

NBPA executive director Billy Hunter specifically said that the BRI issue still remains unresolved and that no progress had been made on Wednesday in resolving specific system issues that continue to separate the two sides.

"Not today, no," Hunter said. "We are still discussing those issues along with a litany of other issues. I think that's part of the problem. There are just so many issues that haven't been resolved, it's pretty copious."

The chatter throughout the day on Wednesday took an optimistic turn. Berger reported that there is "growing optimism in the agent and front-office community that a deal will get done. One person briefed on talks [was] 'incredibly optimistic.'" Berger quoted another person familar with the negotiations who said talks were "moving slowly" and that the sides were "trying to get something done," but noted that progress has been "slow" even though there have been "no blow-ups."

The ongoing NBA lockout has now lasted for 132 days.

Here's video of Stern's comments.



Here's video of Fisher's comments.


Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:15 am
 

Players unwilling to accept deal, want a meeting

Posted by Royce Young



The NBPA and its player reps, as well as just players that wanted to be there, 43 total, met Tuesday in New York for a little more than three hours to discuss a myriad of issues that included voting on the NBA's proposed deal as well as presumably, decertification. Though Billy Hunter said there was "very little" discussion on the latter.

And the message was clear: The deal the NBA proposed is still unacceptable. But it's not too far off and could be something the players could work with if they got another bargaining session.

Billy Hunter put it bluntly: "They're still of the mindset that they're not going to accept a bad deal."

There was some presumption that the meeting would include discussion of voting on the current proposal. But Fisher nixed that. "Today wasn't about voting on the current deal as it stands," he said.

Hunter said he knows who the hard-line owners are and was asked about Michael Jordan's reported stance.

“I would give him the advice that he gave to Abe Pollin. OK? He should take his own advice,” Hunter said. Jordan's advice to Pollin of course was that if you can't make a profit, you should sell your team. So Hunter pretty much told Jordan to sell.



The 43 players represented all but one team, with no Celtics on hand. The Bulls also didn't have a player rep there (Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah) but did have a player, John Lucas III.

What happens at the close of business tomorrow if there's no meeting? Hunter said he's hearing from the "underground" and "gossip" that the NBA will cancel games until Christmas without a deal Wednesday. And supposedly, the offer will just get worse too. The players don't believe that, though. Hunter said he still believes the 50-50 will remain on the table past the deadline. We'll see, I guess.

NBA Labor
But a big takeaway from the press conference: Hunter also said that David Stern can expect a call either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning to organize a new meeting. And in that, he's been given authorization from the players to move economically as long as the system can fall into a better place. What does that mean? I have no idea.

The ones Hunter mentioned though: repeater tax, escrow, sign and trade restrictions, "cliff" for teams that go into tax, mid-level for tax payers. Basically five of the six "what-if" proposals made from Saturday's ultimatum meeting. Find common ground there and you could find a deal.

But it all starts with getting another meeting before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Fisher doesn't get paid to be union president

Posted by Royce Young



Derek Fisher made $3.7 million as the Lakers' starting point guard last season. Started all 82 games. Had another solid season.

But maybe the hardest work he's done this year has come off the court. And he's not even getting paid for it. Maybe that was common knowledge, but it's new to me.

As union president, Fisher doesn't get paid anything and get this: He doesn't even have an expense budget. Via the O.C. Register:
He is not getting paid anything for this. He digs into his own pocket even for meals while holed up in New York for bargaining meetings – sometimes packing for what was supposed to be a couple days and then having to agree to stay for a week or a week and a half. He pays for personal assistants to fly and stay and help him in New York, including a trainer to keep him on track physically to continue his old job as a basketball player at some point.

He tries to justify the expenses to his wife, in addition to his glaring absence at home at the usual offseason time when he gets to reconnect with his kids. Staying committed to serve his fellow players at this critical time, Fisher is left to steal away from New York and back to Los Angeles just to see his kid's soccer game and then jet back on a red-eye flight.
If you don't respect the hell out of Derek Fisher already, I'm sure you do now. Nobody wants a deal as much as him. He doesn't just have a salary at stake in this, but I'm sure he's ready to be done with this crap. Ready to stop playing unpaid intern as he spends late nights in a New York hotel arguing with lawyers and stubborn owners. It used to be a nightmare, but I bet he'd give anything to be guarding Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook right now.

Billy Hunter gets paid. David Stern gets paid. All the lawyers, economists -- they're getting paid. But Fisher has to just serve his duty while picking up his own room service tab.

It's not surprising. We're talking about a guy that spent all day holding the hand of his child during cancer treatment and then returned to a playoff game in the third quarter. The guy is committed. He does what he thinks is right. The NBPA is in great hands.

Fisher might not have made any money doing this -- and he won't with a good deal because the players are giving back money, mind you -- but he's earned plenty in respect.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 2:08 am
 

'No deal' Saturday; Stern sets Wednesday deadline

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association resumed negotiations on a new collective bargaining on Saturday afternoon in New York City -- the first time the sides had met face-to-face in more than a week -- with federal mediator George Cohen once again presiding over the talks. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that talks concluded after more than eight hours with "no deal" being reached. There are currently no further negotiating sessions scheduled between the two sides.

Saturday's session began at roughly 2 p.m. and stretched past 1 a.m. and included all the major players: NBA commissioner David Stern, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher.

Following the meetings, NBA commissioner David Stern told a group of assembled media that the two sides had endured a "long day," with Cohen making a list of six recommendations regarding system issues -- including a BRI offer with a 49 percent to 51 percent band for the players, modifications to the mid-level exception, heavier restrictions on luxury tax payers, and others -- and that the NBA adopted five of those six suggestions into their current proposal.

"We told the players we would put those in writing so they could be understood and transparent for both sides and we hoped they would accept it," Stern said. "We would be amenable to making a deal on that basis until Wednesday at the close of business."

 After Wednesday's deadline, Stern implied, the owners' proposal would get significantly worse.

"If we are unable to make a deal on those terms by the close of business on Wednesday, we will be making a new proposal, which we will also share very soon with the players in writing," Stern said. "[It] is multi-faceted, but for purposes of this press conference, it would be a 47 percent proposal, a flex cap, and lots of other issues that you have become familiar with. We hope that this juxtaposition [of offers] will cause the union to recess its position and accept the deal."

Stern then noted that the NBPA did not accept the NBA's offer as currently constructed.

"I think it's fair to say that, speaking on behalf of the union, [NBPA lawyer Jeffrey] Kessler rejected the mediator's recommendations and our proposal," Stern said. "But hope springs eternal and we would love to see the union accept the proposal which is now on the table."

Stern said he felt confident and confirmed that he had a "sense" that he could sell the current offer to the majority of his owners needed for ratification.

But, he admitted, the negotiations are starting to wear to him.

"I'm tired," Stern said. "We made the proposal because we hope it will be accepted by Wednesday. I'm not going to make percentage guesses or anything like that. We want our players to play, we want to have a season, these are the terms that we are prepared to gear up and get in as many games as possible."



NBPA president Derek Fisher had a much more solemn take on the day's events.

"Today is another very sad day for our fans, for our arena workers, our parking lot attendants, our vendors, a very frustrating, sad day," Fisher said. "We, for sure, unequivocally made true, good-faith efforts to try and get this deal done tonight. And we're at a loss for why we could not close it out based on the moves that we made towards the NBA and the league in getting this deal done. We made moves that were extremely significant. We made economic moves that were a genuine attempt to try to close the gap between where we were and where the NBA is."

Fisher "respectfully disagreed" with Stern's account of the events, saying that Cohen "never actually proposed any formal ideas or concepts" on Saturday, but that he did lay out "what-ifs" for discussion points. Fisher disputed the characterization of the NBA's BRI proposal, saying that it would be difficult for the players to meet the requirements to achieve the upper compensation end. 

He ended his opening remarks by clearly confirming that the players do not find the NBA's current offer acceptable.

"Right now, we've been given the ultimatum and our answer is that's not acceptable to us," Fisher said.

The offer was so undesireable, Fisher said, that the NBPA was not planning to meet to discuss it prior to Wednesday's deadline.

"There's not a deal that we can present to [all the players to] take a vote on," Fisher said. "I cannot say at this point that we would call a general body meeting to take a vote on what has been proposed at this point."



Prior to the conclusion of the negotiating session, the Washington Post reported that the two sides were "very close" to reaching a new dal while ESPN.com reported that Saturday's meeting was "going very well."

Representatives from all 30 NBA teams also met in New York on Saturday, prior to the NBA-NBPA negotiations.

Entering Saturday, concern had been raised by a number of developments. First, reports of a possible rift between Fisher and Hunter brewed throughout the week. Then, a group of NBPA consulted with a top antitrust attorney to receive more information about possibly decertifying the union. Finally, a report surfaced that a group of hard-line owners, led by NBA legend and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, felt that a 50/50 revenue split with the players was too generous, preferring a 53/47 split for the owners, an offer that would certainly anger the players, who were offering a 52.5/47.5 split in their favor.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Jerry Stackhouse torches Derek Fisher, NBPA

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

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