Tag:Derek Fisher
Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 11:15 pm

Heat owner Arison passes the buck on NBA lockout

Posted by Ben Gollivermicky-arison

Silence, please. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison would like to make an announcement: The buck does not stop with Micky Arison.

Hours after negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association broke down in New York City, Arison, recently ranked No. 75 on the Forbes 400 richest Americans list with an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion, took to Twitter to engage in conversation with fans about the state of the talks. NBA owners have been almost uniformly silent during the lockout, adhering to a league-imposed gag order, but Arison opened up on Friday night.

His message: Don't blame me.

An angry fan directed the following mesage at Arison: "How's it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don't give a damn about fans.. and guess what? Fans provide all the money you're fighting over.. you greedy a** pigs."

Arison replied: "You are barking at the wrong owner."

Less than an hour after that message was posted, it had been deleted from Arison's account.

But that's not all Arison, who inherited both the Heat and Carnival Cruise Lines from his father, had to say.

When another fan said that NBA owners don't care about fans, Arison tweeted, "Wrong, we care a lot."

Asked for his thoughts on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, he simply replied, "lol."

Certainly, we can all agree to laugh about Donald Sterling. He's a joke.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we've found our NBA owner equivalent of Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, who recently said that it was "kind of retarded" that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association were fighting over 3 percent of the league's Basketball-Related Income.

Arison's tweets offer a rare peak behind the curtains at the philosophical divide among the owners. While NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver have tried their best to project a message that the NBA's owners are all on the same page when it comes to issues like revenue sharing, competitive balance and restructuring the Basketball-Related Income split, it's clear that there's at least two camps -- call them haves and have-nots, if you like -- among the owners. This is a point that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher have alluded to throughout the negotiating process. 

With a veritable dream team assembled and guaranteed sell-outs for the next decade in hand, Arison is clearly a have. But while he might not want to admit it -- or even realize it -- Arison is, in fact, part of the problem. All 30 owners bear responsibility for their collective positions. That's how this thing works.

To point the finger at his fellow owners only makes the negotiation that much more charged. The players, who have already made massive concessions, clearly feel like they have been lied to. The last thing this tenuous process needs is a billionaire throwing his colleagues under the bus in an effort to save face and be "the good guy" on a social network.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 10:11 pm

NBA labor deal 'within striking distance'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Assocation met for more than seven hours in New York City on Thursday, one day after the two sides spent 15 hours working to fashion a new collective bargaining agreement. No deal was reached, but there were plenty of smiles and quips to go around.

The talks, which are expected to shift focus from system issues to the split of Basketball-Related Income, will resume on Friday morning. Talks began at 2 p.m. on Thursday and lasted past 9:30 p.m., and included commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher.

"I think we're within reach, within striking distance of getting a deal," Hunter said. It's just a question of how receptive the NBA is and whether or not they want to do a deal."

Asked if he might reveal some of the deal points, Hunter said he was not yet able to. "I'm hopeful that tomorrow we will be. Commissioner Stern is back there smiling, so I guess that's a good indication."

Stern then shouted out: "Tomorrow."

So, with this jovial mood and evident progress, why didn't talks go deep into the night?

"We've been here all day," Hunter said. "We've made little progress. I think everybody is pretty wiped out after last night. What we've decided to do is recess the process until tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. We're going to reconvene and hopefully spend as much time as we possibly need in hopes of getting a deal."

"We're working at it," Fisher said. "It's a tough process. As we move through and try to close the gap in as many places as we can, it gets tougher towards the end. Trying to be respectful to the process, not rush through it, come back later tomorrow."

"We would not have spent the time we spent here today without making some progress," Fisher added, "but as I just stated we are working through so many different issues, and we are trying to close the gap in each issue, as you try and make a move towards getting a deal done, it gets tougher towards the end. We have to continue to grind at it."

The light mood continued, for the most part, when Stern and Silver, addressed the media. 

"I can't tell you we resolved anything in such a big way," Stern said, "but there's an element of continuity, familiarity and I would hope trust that would enable us to look forward to tomorrow, where we anticipate there will be some important and additional progress, or not."

Stern was asked whether he had a real and concrete idea of what a deal might look like.

He replied simply: "Yes."

Stern was asked whether he would consider it a failure if a deal is not reached in the next few days.

He replied simply: "Yes." 

Both Stern and Silver made it clear that the discussion recently had been centered on system issues but would turn to the BRI split on Friday. The two issues are separate, Silver insisted, and thus not standing in the way of the other being resolved. "One goes to the overall economic health of the league, the second issues goes to competitive and parity," Silver said. "While we need to resolve both issues and both issues are critical, one is not dependent on the other."

Silver also then made a point to clarify that the system issues are not yet totally resolved. 

Even so, Stern said that Friday could potentially be the deal-making day.

"There are no guarantees we will get get it done but we will give it one heck of a shot tomorrow," Stern said, "and I think that Billy and the union's negotiators feel the same way. And I know that ours do."

Click here for the latest NBA Lockout Buzz.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 12:54 am
Edited on: October 27, 2011 2:55 pm

NBA talks show progress; 82-game season possible

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

After nearly a week without face-to-face talks, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for more than 15 hours in small groups in New York City on Wednesday. The result: progress made in the discussion of system issues and both sides saying that saving an 82-game regular season is still possible.

The in-person talks were the first since labor negotiations broke down last Thursday afternoon following an NBA Board Of Governors meeting on Thursday morning. Talks began at noon on Wednesday and lasted past 3 a.m. Thursday morning, and included commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher

The two sides are scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.

"We were able to work through a number of different issues regarding our system," Fisher said. "We can't say that major progress was made in any way but there was some progress on some of our system issues, obviously enough for us to come back at 2 p.m. tomorrow. We'll continue to work through as long as we possibly can and as hard as we possibly can."

The players would not reveal details about what those system issues might be. "We'll withhold specifics at this point," Fisher said.

The players were then asked whether it was possible to reach firm compromises on system issues if the revenue split issue hasn't been resolved. "It's somewhat difficult," Hunter said. "But we've been trying to negotiate and conduct discussions within the context."

Hunter said talks with deputy commissioner Adam Silver picked back up on Friday and over the weekend so that a deal could be reached with enough time to save a full 82-game season. "If a deal can be achieved between now and Sunday or Monday of next week, I think it's possible. It's going to be somewhat stressful because of the need to do some back-to-backs."
Fisher said playing a full 82-game season "may be slim, but still possible if a deal is reached within the next four or five days."

Stern, making his first public statements in a week, said that it was a "solid day of negotiations."

Stern said the NBA's labor relations committee would have a conference call Thursday morning before negotiations with the NBPA resume. "We did such a good job today, we're going to do it again tomorrow," Stern said. "The energy in the room has been good, the back and forth has been good, and we're looking forward to tomorrow."

Stern confirmed what Hunter and Fisher said: salvaging an 82-game season is still possible, although it might be problematic and a deal needs to get done in the short term.
"I have given them the sense that we will knock ourselves out with them, consistent with what's in the best interests of our fans and our players, in terms of a schedule, to try and schedule as many games as possible," Stern said. "If we can make a deal this week, whether that gets to be 82 games or not, it really depends on so many things that have to be checked. We've got building issues, we've got building issues versus hockey issues, we've got travel schedules, we've got all kinds of things. We've got the sheer volume of games that might have to be compressed, the amount of back-to-backs that players could be asked to play. And really the amount of games that fans could be asked in a given time to attend. These are all considerations that would be on the table and we are going to work on it with the union."

The league would not go so far as to say that it was confident that a deal would be struck in the short term.

"I think it's too early... still in the negotiations to express confidence that we're at a deal," Silver said. "But there's no question, though, that we did make progress on some significant issues. But there are still some very significant issues left."

"This has been a very arduous and difficult day, and productive," Stern added. "Tomorrow is going to be just as arduous and difficult if not more so. We hope it can be as productive... There's no deal on anything unless there's a deal on everything."

Major media outlets mostly reported optimism, with Wednesday's discussions said to have focused exclusively on system issues rather than the revenue split.

The New York Times reported that the two sides "have moved closer on most system issues", Yahoo Sports cited three sources who said that the sides were "making progress on system issues, including [the] luxury tax", SI.com cited a source who said that the two sides made "a lot of real progress" with it being "very possible" that an agreement is reached by the end of this week, and USA Today quoted an anonymous NBPA team representative who said that there was "lots of optimism" that a deal can finally be reached. ESPN.com reported "moderate progress" with "no agreement in sight yet" while Grantland.com reported "lots of optimism now" and that a full 82-game season could be salvaged if a deal is reached by this weekend.

Positive vibes were the theme throughout the lengthy day of negotiations.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday morning that the two sides were "inching closer" towards a deal, and multiple optimistic reports broke Wednesday afternoon. By Wednesday evening, ESPN.com reported that the two sides were "definitely making progress" and Yahoo Sports reported that a source said "there's a deal to be had if everyone shows a little flexibility."
Posted on: October 24, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 2:00 pm

NBA could cancel games 'indefinitely'?

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher said the NBA's owners were lying on Friday, and we spent all weekend waiting around anxiously for the other shoe to drop.

NBA commissioner David Stern, who called in sick that day, needs to do something, right? He can't just watch his league's labor negotiations blow up in his absence and not make some attempt at regaining order.

The question: What will he do?

Some think he could still have an 82-game schedule up his sleeve, but it's still not clear when the two sides will meet next in their negotiations.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Stern could opt for an open-ended approach rather than a definitive one.
"Pretty widely expected that NBA's next announcement will be that start of season postponed "indefinitely" or "until further notice."
When Stern announced that the NBA would cancel the first two weeks of its regular season, the announcement came three weeks prior to Nov. 1, the season's start date. We now stand pretty much exactly three weeks prior to the season's new start date -- Nov. 15 -- so an announcement of some kind should be coming shortly.

Why would Stern opt for an indefinite postponement? Well, it would save him the hassle of making a new cancellation announcement every two weeks. Surely, the outcry from fans and media members will accompany every new announcement. If he makes just one indefinite announcement, everyone hangs in limbo, uncertain when to rage. It would also give him the flexibility of getting the season started at whatever time is convenient if negotiations are successful. No need to wait an extra day or week to get things going if an agreement is actually reached.

A potential downside to an indefinite postponement would be the elimination of clear "deadlines" that are sometimes said to help the negotiation process. If the two sides don't feel clear pressure to work things through by a certain date to save a set amount of game checks, will that impact the motivation to set up meetings and/or stick to them for hours on end?

For now, we just wait and see for the answers to those questions.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 7:18 pm

Report: NBA, players to meet next week?

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Pro-tip: Any time a negotiation ends with one party standing up on national television to call the other party a liar and the federal mediator apppointed to oversee things issues a "hands in the air" press release as he sneaks out the side door, that's a failed negotiation.

The NBA's labor negotiations reached rock bottom when National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher didn't mince words, accusing representatives of the NBA's owners of lying in their depiction of labor talks that broke down on Thursday.

The New York Times reported Friday that, although everything looks terribly bleak, the two sides could re-engage communication as early as this weekend.
“It could be tougher than it has been in the past to get back together,” Peter Holt, the chairman of the league’s labor-relations committee, said Thursday night.

Yet on Friday, people on both sides of the divide, speaking off the record, predicted there would be a phone call or two over the weekend and probably another meeting next week. That has been the pattern all month: every dramatic breakdown followed by a brief silence and then a surprising resumption of talks.

In many respects, the parties are exactly where they were two weeks ago, when union officials angrily accused the league of “setting preconditions” — i.e. acceptance of a 50-50 split — for any further talks. Two days later, they were back at the bargaining table.
The big question here: Can we get an injury report on NBA commissioner David Stern? Stern, who called in sick to Thursday's negotiations that eventually went up in flames, hasn't emerged yet emerged to put the pieces back together. The possibility of further regular season game cancellations looms, so perhaps we'll be hearing from him soon?

Certainly, the vast majority of NBA observers have to be hoping that Stern's return comes with news of negotiation reconciliation, and not solely the bad news of a further delay to the start of the 2011-2012 season.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:20 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 11:27 am

NBA, NBPA meet for 16 hours with federal mediator

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representatives of the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association took part in more than 16 hours of talks led by federal mediator George Cohen in New York City on Tuesday but failed to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the two sides will resume their negotiations at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The NBA's owners had been scheduled for Board of Governors meetings on Wednesday and Thursday in New York but Berger reports that the labor talks "clearly take precedence."

Specific details of the marathon negotiation session are unclear. Berger reports that a spokesman for the NBA "has asked both sides to refrain from commenting, and they are abiding."

NBPA board member Chris Paul said on Twitter: "WoW, 16 hours...I PROMISE we are trying!!!"

Yahoo Sports cited a source in the meeting saying that "very little" progress was made, that the two sides were "still not anywhere near a deal," that the only "gaps" that had been narrowed were "on small stuff" and that it was "hard to see where this is going."

Newsday reported that "nothing [was] achieved toward a deal. But there's always tomorrow."

Cohen met with both the league and the players union individually on Monday in advance of Tuesday's negotiations, which come eight days after commissioner David Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the 2011-2012 regular season.

Tuesday's meeeting, the longest since the NBA imposed a lockout on July 1, dragged on for so long that NBA writers staking out the talks reported receiving complementary cookies from the NBA and, later, ice cream and chinese food from the NBPA. The talks began at 10 a.m. Tuesday local time and concluded just after 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

SheridanHoops.com reported the following attendees at the meeting.
Representing the owners were Peter Holt (San Antonio), Clay Bennett (Oklahoma City), Mickey Arison (Miami), Mark Cuban (Dallas), Jim Dolan (New York), Dan Gilbert (Cleveland), Wyc Grousbeck (Boston), Larry Miller (Portland), Robert Sarver (Phoenix), Glen Taylor (Minnesota) and Bob VanderWeide (Orlando).

Representing the players were Derek Fisher, Maurice Evans, Chris Paul, Theo Ratliff, Etan Thomas, Matt Bonner, Roger Mason and James Jones.

In radio interviews last week, Stern said that nearly two months of the season could be in jeopardy if a resolution was not reached on Tuesday.

"Deal Tuesday, or we potentially spiral into situations where the worsening offers on both sides make it even harder for the parties to make a deal," Stern said. "If we don't make it on Tuesday, my gut -- this is not in my official capacity of canceling games -- but my gut is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day."

Further game cancellations are expected to come in two-week increments. The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the season came three weeks in advance of the scheduled start date of Nov. 1. If the same lead time is necessary for the next cancellation, an announcement should be made by Monday, Oct. 24.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:37 am

Adam Silver zings David Stern

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA's mindgames in these labor negotiations have really gone to another level. Because now Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver is praising Derek Fisher and zinging his boss, David Stern. I don't even know where I am right now.

Via the New York Times, Silver was talking about Fisher as the union president and said this:

“In the well over 30 bargaining sessions, I cannot remember a single incident where he raised his voice. And, just a reminder — David Stern is in the room.”

Stern probably gave a coy smile when he heard this Silver quote and said something to the effect of, "Me, raise my voice? No way." But certainly credit to Fisher for that. Because like Silver said, Fisher's bargained with Stern some 30 times. Dwyane Wade did one time and (reportedly) got into a shouting match with The David.

It's interesting though because Fisher has become the face for the players instead of Billy Hunter. Which is opposite of the NFL. DeMaurice Smith was on the forefront for the NFLPA. So much that I have no idea who the player president is. That's how Hunter wanted it. He wanted Fisher up front.

“I told him, ‘I think I’m going to let you take the lead on a lot of this,’” Hunter told the TImes. “Over a year ago, well before the lockout, I pushed him forward. I’d say, ‘Rather than you stand around, you should be the one out in front.’ And he’s been doing a great job.”

Posted on: October 15, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 8:02 pm

McGee's blunder least of NBPA's concerns

Posted by Ben Golliver


"Ready to fold." 

Those three words, uttered by Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee as he exited a players union meeting in Los Angeles, will wind up being the only words that anyone remembers from the last week of NBA labor negotiations.

That's in spite of the union's best -- and worst -- efforts. National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher launched a social media campaign around the words "let us play." Over and over, from union leadership and players, we heard the phrase "stand united." New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony put it more bluntly: "This s*** sucks." And, mixed into all of that, there were numerous apologies from players to fans for the lack of real basketball.

The reason McGee's words will have staying power, even though they were almost immediately retracted and then later shot down by union leadership, is because they are the only words spoken recently that promise a resolution. Patience is a finite virtue. When McGee admitted that some of his fellow meeting-goers in Los Angeles were ready to forego the hard line for the quick deal, the first plainly verbalized cracks in the union's armor during months of negotiations against a group of owners that appears firmly entrenched, he obviously undercut his side's position but gifted fans and observers with hope that this maddeningly long negotiation might actually end before commissioner David Stern has to push the red button and cancel the whole season.

"The person who spent the least amount of time in the room can't make that statement," Fisher said of McGee's remarks on Friday. "He's in no position to make that statement on behalf of the group."

"As it turned out, the pacifists in the room happened to be me and Derek," NBPA executive director Billy Hunter added. "These guys behind us happen to be extremely strident. They thought we were starting to weaken."

But no amount of distancing or deflecting on behalf of the union's two-headed public leadership, nor a Twitter denial from McGee posted just minutes before audio confirming his comments went up online, can undo the damage. If the NBA's owners needed any confirmation that their plan to stall negotiations long enough for players to miss checks and agree to system-altering changes that will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, this was it. "McGee will pay for his honesty," you can imagine the owners thinking. "Call David and tell him to lower our BRI offer by two percent."

But there's a bigger problem for the players. Yes, McGee's admission was as idiotic as it gets -- the only worse words that could have been uttered under the circumstances would have been "We surrender" -- but it was only a symptom, not the disease. 

You can see the disease when you fact-check Fisher's response to McGee.

Because McGee, even though he reportedly left the meeting after less than two hours, with discussion carrying on for another hour or so, was not actually the person who spent the least amount of time in the room. In fact, McGee spent more time in that room than 90 percent of the NBPA's membership. Fisher, despite the social media campaign and multiple appeals to his members, was only able to convince 30 out of 450 players to attend. Most of the players that showed up were the same faces who showed up to the last regional meeting in Las Vegas. Some of those who showed up live in Los Angeles. Some of those who showed up are NBPA board members. Some of those who showed up are rookies whose professional careers have been hijacked by this process and have nowhere else to go.

That's 30 players in attendance with two weeks already cancelled and the rest of the season hanging in the balance. 30 players in attendance with their livelihoods on the line and the next six to ten years of basketball up for grabs. This was supposed to be a critical meeting in which everyone was invited to make difficult decisions, not a reenactment of the courtside scene before Miami Heat home games. Did Fisher have to break out white sheets to cover up empty seats? 

While Fisher was wrong to say that McGee spent the least amount of time in the room, he was correct in saying that McGee doesn't speak for the group. Because the group, the vast majority of players who will eventually vote on a new labor deal, speaks with no voice, offering little to no support for its union leadership. That silence, not McGee's bumbling errer or Fisher's eloquent speeches or Hunter's bombastic rhetoric, is what speaks for the union right now. 

You can read that silence as resignation or apathy or as misplaced faith that the owners, eventually, will come to their senses and things will work out. But if we, Fisher included, are going to kill McGee for his honesty and for leaving early, we should at least acknowledge that he actually showed up in the first place. That's more than can be said for most of his colleagues.

I take Fisher and Hunter at their word that the players in that Beverly Hilton room remain "strident" and ready for war with the owners. It's the rest of the players that they should be worried about. Because if more players don't start showing that they care by voting with their presence, what little sympathy the public has left for them will evaporate in the face of disappointment, frustration and, yes, disgust and resentment. That, combined with missed paychecks, creates a vicious cycle in which those players who were already thinking about folding, start thinking harder about it.

NBA owners -- and Stern -- are the type of businessmen born with a sixth sense for sniffing out fear and desperation. So far, the process has played out exactly according to plan for them. An apathetic rank-and-file that doesn't speak loudly and together is a body that will be amenable to the first deal presented to it, regardless of the details. The owners are banking on continued quiet from the vast majority of the players.

Folding in a billion dollar negotiation isn't likely to be a loud, spectacular scene with shouts, screams and tears. It will probably happen in silence. This is America, where money -- large amounts of money -- disappears all the time, because nobody says a word.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com