Tag:Derek FIsher
Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 6:23 pm

NBPA calls Stern's Tuesday deadline 'arbitrary'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

NBA commissioner David Stern minced no words in countless radio and television interviews this week: If a labor agreement can't be reached with the National Basketball Players Association during a Tuesday negotiation session led by federal mediator George Cohen, then the league's annual Christmas Day games will be put into grave jeopardy. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com recorded the clear, repeated threats.
"It's time to make the 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."

"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.
NBPA president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter pushed back hard against those threats following a union regional meeting at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Friday.

Fisher made it sound like the deadline and the urgency surrounding it were simply figments of Stern's imagination.

"That's an arbitrary deadline just to throw out on commissioner Stern's part," Fisher said. "We don't see it that way. Obviously he's entitled to make the statement but it just seems very arbitrary and with no real purpose other than to sway player sentiment. I don't agree with the way it's been done but I'm not him so I can't speak to that part of it."

Hunter called out the NBA for choosing to limit its availability for discussions next week.

"George Cohen, the federal mediator, was proposing that we actually set all of next week aside," Hunter said. "The entire week, for mediation. It's because of the NBA's schedule and the commissioner's alleged inability to get together with us over four or five days, I think he set the sort of superficial, arbitrary deadline saying that if it doesn't happen by Tuesday then all these other things will evolve as a consequence." 

Hunter also noted that its unrealistic to expect a single day of negotiating to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.

"My attitude is that if they really want to get a deal, we've been negotiating for over two years," he said. "The probability and likelihood of getting it in one day, because we'll only be together one day on Tuesday, then I believe the NBA has scheduled Board of Governors meetings and other meetings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. So that's why it's limited to one day and one day only."

If Stern's purpose in launching the media blitz and ramping up the threats was to appeal to rank-and-file union members, Fisher said it won't work. 

"For our players, we've made a pledge not to continue in any way to allow what is say or written or printed in the media or statements that would be made to frustrate us or sway us in any way," he said. "To make sure we're thinking as businessmen and we're being very smart about what we need to do."

Hunter even resorted to a firearm metaphor to underscore how undeterred he was by Stern's threats of cancelled games and "vaporized" player wages.

"I think it can only get worse for both of us," Hunter said. "If somebody is pointing a gun at my head, I'm going to point one back at him. That door doesn't swing one way. It's not just the players who will suffer if games are lost."
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 2:22 am

NBPA's Derek Fisher rips McGee for 'fold' comment

Posted by Ben Golliver

On Friday, the National Basketball Players Association held a regional meeting in Los Angeles to discuss the ongoing labor negotiations with the NBA. As noted earlier, Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee exited the meeting before it was over and admitted to reporters that "some guys are in there saying they're ready to fold." McGee immediately denied making that comment on Twitter, but the damage was done, as audio of his comments quickly surfaced.

In a press conference following the meeting, NBPA president Derek Fisher had some harsh words for McGee. 

"Look, let me say this," Fisher said. "The person who spent the least amount of time in the room can't make that statement. He's in no position to make that statement on behalf of the group."

Fisher continued: "As I said earlier, it's obviously fair in negotiations of this magnitude that we're going to have guys with differing opinions because we have guys that are in different positions. We have guys who are free agents this summer that are extremely excited about trying to get a deal done because for the first time they really have an opportunity to get paid by a team that really wants their services. We have guys who are veteran guys who know they only have two or three or four more years left to play, and they want to get back on the court. We have guys who just got drafted who still haven't had a chance to put on their uniform and play for the team they got drafted by."

Rather than focusing on differing opinions, Fisher argued, the focus should be on the union's ability to exit its meetings with a consensus. 

"Within all those different prospects and positions, you're going to have differing opinions and thoughts about what should be going on," Fisher said. "But at the end of the day, that's my job, Billy's job, Maurice's job, our player reps and our guys to weigh the statements made by the guys who spend the least amount of time in the room versus the guys' statements who spend the most amount of time in the room. At the end of the day, we come out with a decision that's best for a majority of our guys."

At that point, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter interjected and attempted to deflect some of the potential criticism.

"It was a shame [McGee] left so soon," Hunter said. "As it turned out, the pacifists in the room happened to be me and Derek. These guys behind us happen to be extremely strident. They thought we were starting to weaken."

Here's video of NBPA president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter reacting to a question about JaVale McGee saying that some NBA players are "ready to fold."

Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 7:42 pm

JaVale McGee: Some NBA players 'ready to fold'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The National Basketball Players Association held a regional meeting in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon to discuss the state of the ongoing labor negotiations with the NBA. The early word was not exactly on message.

SI.com reports that Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee left the media early to attend another engagement, noting: "There's definitely some guys in there saying that they're ready to fold, but the majority are willing to stand strong."

On Thursday, Fisher wrote on Twitter that the meeting was "important" and noted that "all players including rookies [were] welcome."

Despite that plea, SlamOnline.com reported that McGee estimated that the number of attendees was "about 25 to 30," fewer than the number who attended the NBPA's most recent regional meeting, held in Las Vegas back in September.  

"Everybody knows we've got to get more people to come to the meetings," McGee said, according to SI.com.

Shortly after multiple sources independently reported McGee's comments, he posted the following message on Twitter: "I never said anyone is ready to fold! Media always wanna turn it!"

Within an hour, the Los Angeles Times posted audio of McGee's comments, confirming that he did make the statement.

The NBPA's meeting is taking place one day after NBA commissioner David Stern began a media blitz that included an attack on NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, who he said has been inaccurately representing the NBA's offer to rank-and-file players.

Check back later for further updates from the NBPA's labor meeting in Los Angeles.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:15 pm

David Stern blames agents, Hunter for media blitz

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-stern

After weeks of "no comments" or limited remarks following unsuccessful labor negotiation meetings, NBA commissioner David Stern has launched an all-out media offensive over the last 24 hours, appearing on numerous radio shows and NBA TV to give his side of the story.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has the key quotes from Thursday, in which Stern offers up an important new deadline, questions whether the NBA will be able to play on Christmas and lays out ownership's position on damn everything.

There was one obvious question left unasked: Why is Stern talking now?

The Dan Patrick Show asked that question in a Friday morning interview. Stern wasted no time blaming NBA agents and National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter for his own media blitz. 

"We decided it was time to do it because of the circumstances that we find ourselves in," Stern said. "The union has been buffeted by the agents, who literally don't want there to be a union. Why? As [agent] Arn Tellem has said, it's bad for the superstars that he represents. And, oh by the way, the union regulates agents and what they can charge. So of course the agents don't want a union. That causes [NBPA president] Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter to send out letters to the membership, denouncing the agents for trying to change the deal. And it causes them to become more strident, it causes them to say things that are not exactly the way things went down. We have to move out there to correct the record."

Stern didn't bother obscuring the underlying motive of his public campaign: influencing player sentiment.

"I think the players, if the rank-and-file truly understood the dynamic of the negotiations, they would have a completely different picture," Stern said. "And they would say, 'Let's get back to work.'"

The commissioner stopped short of calling Hunter a liar but did say he was responsible for perpetuating what Stern feels is an "inaccurate" representation of the negotiations and the proposals made by the league's owners.

"I think it's fair to say that [Hunter's] depiction of our motives, our offers, the state of the negotiations is inaccurate."
Posted on: October 11, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 5:52 am

Billy Hunter to hold NBPA meeting Friday in L.A.

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Time waits for no man. Or union of men.

One day after the NBA announced that it was cancelling the first two weeks of the regular season after failed negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association, ESPN.com reports that the union has scheduled its next major meeting to discuss the state of affairs.

Billy Hunter will meet with NBA players Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

After more than 12 hours of negotiations with the NBA Sunday and Monday proved fruitless, Hunter wants to begin meeting face-to-face with groups of players to explain the details of where the league and the union stand.

The NBPA's last major meeting was held in Las Vegas in September. Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher led the proceedings and handing out t-shirts that read "Stand" to roughly 35 players who attended. 

The NBPA had planned to hold a regional meetings in Los Angeles on Monday but Hunter's plans changed when the NBA and NBPA decided to engage in last-minute talks on Sunday that carried over into Monday.

Hunter enters the L.A. meeting as the bearer of bad news. With both economic and system issues separating the players and owners in their negotiations, the pressure from his rank-and-file is only going to increase as the players continue down the road toward missed paychecks. Hunter is tasked with plotting the next steps for the union while each two weeks that pass represent the possibility of another two weeks of the regular season cancelled. 

On Tuesday night, there were still no official meetings between the NBA and the NBPA scheduled.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 9:48 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 2:03 am

David Stern cancels first two weeks of NBA season

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association concluded more than seven hours of meetings on Monday in New York City without reaching an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement. As such, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-2012 regular season, spanning from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14.

Berger reports that Stern said that a "gulf" still separates the owners and players in their negotiations and that the two sides are "very, very far apart on virtually all issues."

Stern also confirmed that the cancellation of the first two weeks will prevent an 82-game regular season. In other words, there isn't sufficient time available later in the calendar to make up the cancelled games.

There are currently no further talks scheduled, Stern said, but the sides will continue to communicate.

Stern was joined in Monday's negotiations by NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and a number of owners and legal advisers. The NBPA was represented by president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter, among others.

Berger reported that league officials saw a number of sticking points, including: "contract length, length of CBA, use of exceptions by [luxury] tax-paying teams and [the luxury] tax levels and the frequency of the [luxury] tax." Those are all significant issues that will require extended negotiation to resolve.

Fisher mostly stuck to what has become his mantra in recent weeks. "I continue to believe that we've been more than fair and reasonable in our approach," he said. "This is what we anticipated would happen, and here we are."

He also admitted the pain of lost salary will be felt by his constituency. "Obviously not a good feeling for anyone, " Fisher said."This is not just about dollars and cents for players. It's about a system for our guys to operate under."

Hunter maintained that the lost income will not shake the players' solidarity. "Unfortunately, maybe we need to miss a few games for them to know there's resolve among the players," he said, according to Berger.
The NBA issued the following press release on Monday evening to formally announce the cancellation.

The NBA announced today that it has canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association. This cancellation includes all games originally scheduled to be played through November 14.

"Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players’ union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Refunds plus interest are available for all NBA season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.

Earlier Monday, the NBPA launched a Twitter campaign called "Let us play," hoping to curry public favor and maintain solidarity amongst its ranks.

Monday's meeting was an extension of last-ditch talks that began Sunday afternoon. Stern set Monday as the deadline for cancelling the first two weeks of the season when talks broke down on Tuesday of last week.

This post will update with the latest on the NBA lockout.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 1:51 pm

NBPA launches 'Let us play' Twitter campaign

Posted by Ben Golliver


With labor negotiations continuing and the possibility that the NBA cancels the first two weeks of its 2011-2012 regular season on Monday, National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher called on his union's members to show their solidarity and to appeal to public sentiment by launching a campaign on Twitter.

Fisher explained the concept in a letter to all players that was obtained by SI.com.
Chris Paul and I will also be utilizing our personal social networking channels to show the fans and you all, that we are united and want to get back to work under a fair deal. On Monday, Chris and I will tweet and post "LET US PLAY." This was used by the NFL players and many will be joining us on Monday and retweeting the same message to show their support for our players. I will also be using the hash tag #StandUnited after all my messages until this lockout is over. We invite you each to do the same. To show our unity and to remind the fans that this is not our choice and we would like to go back to work and play the game they love to support.
Within hours, the message had been tweeted out by Fisher, Paul, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, Heat All-Star forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant. Among the many other NBA players to participate: Jarrett Jack, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Marquis Daniels, Eric Maynor, Devin Ebanks, Nazr Mohammed, Serge Ibaka, and Anthony Tolliver.

By early Monday afternoon, the phrase "LET US PLAY" was trending nationally in the United States on the social networking site.

Many players also posted messages pointing out that the NBA's current labor impasse is the result of a lockout by the league's owners rather than a strike by the league's players.

Back in January, the National Football Players Association launched a similar campaign in the midst of their labor negotiations with the NFL.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:10 pm

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

Posted by Royce Young

Evidently, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher like writing letters. Because after Tuesday's labor meeting wrapped that potentially brought the two sides close to a deal, they sent out another one.

Obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (read the full thing here), basically it's this: Stand together, we're not backing down, we'll get the deal we want if we hold firm. It says, "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused."

Some could read that as, "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to make a deal and therefore save the season. We refused." Depends on your perspective, I suppose.

The letter really focuses on the crux of yesterday's negotiations: BRI (Basketball Related Income). Here's the player's offer that they like: They reduce their share of BRI to 52.4 percent and gradually increase that to 54 percent over the six-year deal, which would be an average of 53 percent. The letter makes sure to point out that this offer would shift an average of $185 million per year to the owners' side, which is $1.1 billion over six years.

"We feel this offer -- which would involve no rollbacks of existing contracts and maintain the current Salary Cap and Luxury Tax levels -- is fair and addresses the owners' complaints," the letter said.

The letter addresses the owners' original 47 percent BRI split, but then acknowledges the last-gasp 50-50 split that David Stern referenced in his presser.

"After seriously considering whether we should proceed down this path, our group determined not to do so," the letter said. "Recognizing all the owners' arguments about the state of the business and the condition of the economy, in our view, the owners can and should share more of the record revenues our players generate. Reducing our share of BRI by 7 points to 50% -- a level we have not received since the early 1990's -- is simply not a fair split. We refused to back down. As we have done since the beginning, we again indicated a willingness to compromise, and asked the owners to do the same. They refused."

So basically: We refused, they refused and basically, we have until Monday to un-refuse so that the season starts on time. Here's the thing: Someone's got to bend at some point. It will happen. Whether it's the players or the owners, someone's coming up or going down with their offer. It's not like there won't ever be basketball again. But the deeper it goes and once games start getting missed, the owners may try and go back to some of the bigger issues such as a hard cap, salary rollbacks or non-guaranteed contracts. So the negotiations have sort of hit a crucial point.

Here's how the letter concludes, which doesn't exactly make me jump for joy:
As the day ended, each side felt that they had gone as far as they could. We will continue to review the numbers and assess the various proposals, but we will hold firm until we can get a fair deal. While this negotiation is far from over, we cannot now say when it will resume again in earnest. For today, the players made a stand. It was the right stand to make, for ourselves and for the generations of players to follow. Hard work and sacrifice by both sides will hopefully end this soon, and the owners will open the doors and let us come to work. In the meantime, we ask you to maintain the same strength and focus you have exhibited since the beginning. We must demonstrate our unity, especially as we expect the league to announce the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season next Monday if no further progress is made. The owners must know that the players are firm, educated and resolved to getting a fair deal.
By all appearances, the players aren't going to budge. Things change when money starts getting lost though. And that's what's going to happen if a deal isn't done by Monday. The stakes will be raised. It's just a matter of who's moving first. Clearly the players think it will be the owners.

As Berger has reported, the two sides are closer than they're letting on. A gap of only about $80 million per year separates them right now. That's $2.6 million per team, or in other words, the 12th man on pretty much every roster. This can be done. It should be done. They have less than a week to make it happen.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com