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Tag:Billy Hunter
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 1:25 am
 

Kessler: NBPA treated 'like plantation workers'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Here we go again.

Months after television commentator Bryant Gumbel sparked a national controversy by referring to NBA commissioner David Stern as a "modern plantation overseer" -- a comment that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter distanced himself from -- union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has taken to invoking slavery during the most critical stage of the league's ongoing labor negotiations.

The Washington Post reports that Kessler, like Gumbel before him, made referenece to a "plantation" in a criticism of the NBA's bargaining strategy.

“To present that in the context of ‘take it or leave it,’ in our view, that is not good faith,” Kessler, who also represented the NFL players in their labor dispute with the NFL, said in a telephone interview Monday night. “Instead of treating the players like partners, they’re treating them like plantation workers.”

Kessler's comments, the paper reports, led Stern to call him the "single most divisive force in our negotiations." They are, by far, the harshest criticism levied at Stern by someone affiliated with the NBPA during these ongoing labor negotiations and they represent a stark contrast to Hunter's more subdued response to Gumbel's similar attack on Stern. 

Back in October, Gumbel said that Stern "has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys." He also referred to Stern's opinion of the players as "hired hands."

Gumbel's controversial comments sparked a round of responses almost immediately given that a vast majority of NBA owners are caucasian while a vast majority of NBA players are African-Americans. Shortly after Gumbel's comments were made, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that they were "outrageous." Hunter said that, while Stern is a "hard-charger" in negotiations, he is not racist "at all." Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Charles Barkley simply called Gumbel's comments "stupid." The Reverend Jesse Jackson warned such talk could make these negotiations take an ugly turn.

Coincidentally on Tuesday, Stern was asked in an interview for his thoughts on Gumbel's comments. "I think that’s just an occupational hazard," Stern said. "If you're the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out."

The Sporting News notes this is not his first explosion. He has recently accused Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen of "hijacking" negotiations and he recently called the NBA's offer to players a "fraud."
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Stern won't commit to new meeting Wednesday

By Matt Moore 

Tuesday after the NBPA met with its team representatives and stated the current offer from the league is unacceptable in advance of the league's threat to withdraw to a significantly worse offer Wednesday at close of business, Billy Hunter signalled a desire to meet with David Stern and NBA officials for a further negotiating session in advance of the deadline. 

On NBATV Tuesday night, David Stern would not committee to a new meeting with Hunter, but said he would take Hunter's call and would consult with the NBA Labor Relations committee regarding further action.

"I always take Billy's call, as a sign of respect," Stern said. 

When asked about the players' willingness to drop on the cut of BRI again in return for more systemic concessions from the league, Stern said there was no "wiggle room" to be found from the owners since their last offer Sunday morning at 3 a.m.

Stern defended accusations from Derek Fisher that the current proposal is a "bad deal" by discussing that the elements included were first proposed by federal mediator George Cohen. Stern admitted that if a deal is not struck by end of business Wednesday, at which point the owners' so-called "Cap Reset" plan goes into effect, he would be "losing confidence" that a deal could be reached to save the season.

In response to Hunter's statement that he had heard through "underground sources" that the league was considering canceling games through Christmas if there was no deal reached Wednesday, Stern laughed off the suggestion.

"I don't know what ground he's talking about or under what ground he's looking," Stern said. "But we have no such plan. We need 30 days from the end of negotiations."

Stern revealed little in the interview outside of what we already know. The owners feel they've given all they can, the players don't think it's enough, and the league is prepared to swing the hammer on Wednesday. It's a game of chicken and the seemingly inevitable collision will be the loss of teh 2010-2011 season. 
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:23 pm
 

Hunter: League could cancel Christmas games Thurs

By Matt Moore 

After the NBPA met Tuesday afternoon, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher addressed the media. While spinning the tale that the union is united in opposing acceptance of the current proposal offered by the NBA (which, if you track our Buzz post, is not the case at all), Hunter dropped a little bit of a bomb. Hunter said that he heard through "underground" sources that if there is no deal by the league's stated deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the NBA will cancel games through Christmas. 

That's right, it's finally here. The NBA lockout is going to steal Christmas.

It's not surprising, considering the ominous tones David Stern has been giving off for the past month. The league has been cancelling in two-week segments, but with Wednesday's deadline signalling a dramatic turn, whether it's the owners moving back to a much harder deal the players obviously won't accept without more lost games, or the union decertifiying in response to such a move, getting a deal by the end of the month would be nearly impossible. What is most alarming is that signals A. what the union has alleged all along, that the NBA is ready, willing, and in some cases eager to lose the entire season, and they're lopping off larger chunks and B. That's the last milestone we'll likely see before the cancellation of the entire 2010-2011 season. Most analysts have predicted that the league would be forced to sacrifice the entire season somewhere between January 1st and January 15th.

NBA Labor
So if a deal can't be made Wednesday, it's possible the last batch of games before a complete cancellation will be made, and one of the NBA's biggest batch of games will be lost to a lockout that will have sacrificed two whole months of games.

If you're looking for good news... uh... college basketball started? 

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 8:57 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:36 pm
 

NBA Labor Buzz: Latest updates



NBA Labor
Since there's going to be so many reports and tweets and nonsense today from both sides in preparation of tomorrow's deadline when the owners will pull their "generous" offer for a considerably stricter one, we thought we'd give you a thread to keep track of where everyone stands with what. This post will update throughout the day.

Tuesday 7:26 p.m:

  • Stern responded to the union's rejection of the current proposal by restating the threat of the worse offer. He also would not commit to a meeting Wednesday but said he would take Hunter's call, and denied that Christmas games would be cancelled if a deal was not made by the deadline. 
  • Luis Scola asked on Twitter the following (in Spanish): "The NBPA rejected the proposal to the owners, why not vote?" So apparently Scola's willing to at least talk about it. You've got to wonder how many players are going to be upset the deal wasn't discussed more.
  • Brian Cardinal followed the NBPA line that the players would bend on BRI if system concessions were made. They are also acting like this has been the case the whole time, after all the rabble-rousing over 53 percent. 

Tuesday 5:36 p.m.
Tuesday 12:14 p.m.
  • Spencer Hawes is taking his frustration out on Twitter. He tweeted: "Voting (and not for this completely irrational proposal from the NBA) rather local elections. Hard when democrats r the only choice #writein." I'm not entirely sure what his point is there.
  • Jamario Moon tweeted this: "Deal or No Deal?..........Deal!!!!! Let's play some ball!" I kind of wish Howie Mandel was David Stern.
  • Jonny Flynn tweeted this: "Starting to see why so many things are outta wack. Ppl aren't held accountable. Let enough things slide & forget what's right." One thing that's out of wack? The amount professional athletes are paid to play a sport. But nobody's talking about that.
Tuesday 9:40 a.m.
  • At the Salt Lake City charity game last night, several players weighed in to the Salt Lake Tribune. Jeremy Evans says take "whatever is given" and get a deal. Devin Harris sounds much more like a decertification guy talking about "tough decisions" but that could be the deal as well, and Derrick Favors has not paid attention to anything regarding the talks. So glad he gets a vote.
Tuesday 9 a.m.
  • J.J. Redick told the Orlando Sentinel that he's not necessarily in favor of decertification, but that he would sign a petition to decertify should a deal not be agreed upon in the next few days. You can interpret that as "I don't think this will work but the deal's not acceptable and I'm not willing to just lie down and take it." 
  • Anthony Tolliver of the Timberwolves, a players' rep who will attend Tuesday's NBPA meeting told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that "pretty much everything is split" when it comes to the players between decertification and voting to approve the deal as is. You can interpret that as a pretty good read on where things stand, with most statements from players coming down on either side. It's going to be a tense meeting Tuesday.
  • Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com has been an active optimist during this nightmare. He's predicted an end to the lockout about three times because he keeps assuming we have rational actors. He's back on that bus today as he says the two sides are 99 percent done, so they can't turn back now and we'll have a deal in 36 hours. This is us not holding our breath. You can interpret this as some sources close to the talks continue to be stunned that the two sides can be inches apart and still tossing grenades at one another. 
Previously on "Days of Our Lockout":
For more breaking news on the NBA labor front, follow us on Twitter at @EyeOnBasketball and Ken Berger (@KBergCBS).
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:24 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Report: Owners could be open to system tweaks

By Matt Moore



Many of the owners don't want a meeting, but the few that do think there's some room to tweak things so the players can swallow this deal. 

Yahoo! Sports reports that some owners are open to meeting and discussing system issues on the periphery, not the main elements, if it means a deal can get done to save the season.  
As one ownership source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night, “If there were a couple of tweaks needed around the edges – not fundamental deal points – I believe there could be a deal if everything else is agreed upon. But there needs to be a meeting with David and Billy for anything to happen.”
via NBA owners, players could talk before deadline - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo! also reports Billy Hunter is on the fence about taking a meeting. That's likely because his job is already in jeopardy over how this process has been handled and knows that if they meet which signals a readiness to accept the deal, and it falls through, the hard-line agents and players pushing for decertification will likely be able to remove him once the union reforms.

The report also backs up Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's reportfrom Monday night outlining hard owners who are still uneasy about the deal on the table now. This deal which lops off seven percentage points from the players' BRI, eliminating any advantage in that regard and implementing massive systemic changes isn't enough for some owners who still want more. In fact, ESPN reports that those owners are making their voices heard. 
A group of disgruntled NBA owners held a conference call Monday to express their displeasure with the 50/50 revenue offer commissioner David Stern has presented to the players' association, according to sources with knowledge of the call.

The deal, which the union sees as an "ultimatum" offer, calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, but the group of displeased owners, the sources said, are hoping the players reject it.
via NBA lockout -- Some NBA owners express displeasure with David Stern's 50-50 offer, sources say - ESPN.

Great idea! Let's not have a season so that the huge win you already have in your pocket can be scrapped for even bigger win. It's not enough to be up by 40 in the fourth quarter, let's make sure we can spike the football off the face of our opponent. That's what this comes down to.

It's not clear what peripheral changes could be made to the deal outside of some small amount tweaks in years, raise percentages or amounts regarding various elements like the mid-level exception. If a meeting is taken by both sides, it could very well detonate if the owners balk at any change that actually helps the union accept the deal, which is two percent less than they've sworn to accept, after dropping from 53 percent which they swore to hold at. You're sensing a pattern here, I suppose. 

Going to be a busy, acrimonious day in the NBA. Without games.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 12:55 am
 

Report: Of course the NBA doesn't want to meet

By Matt Moore 

Wednesday is the latest Judgment Day in a long history of Judgment Days during this lockout, the day when the NBA's "generous" offer to only knock 7 percent of the player's BRI off eliminating any greater share (after an expenses deduction, I might add), along with widespread systemic changes and the elimination of the sign-and-trade for tax payers expires and their new, stricter, more terrifying offer becomes the new reality. In preparation for that day, the NBPA has four options. 

  1. Decertify the union (or disclaim interest, if they want a quicker and riskier route) and file antitrust lawsuits against the owners, initializing a court-based nuclear winter that eliminates at least this season if not next and which will likely fail in court at one of its many risky junctures.
  2. Calmly wait for the deadline to pass and continue negotiating, effectively ignoring the threat. President Kennedy famously used this same tactic in talks with the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 
  3. Try and get the owners back to the table for a negotiation to try and sweeten the deal to a point where it's at least swallowable for the majority of the players. 
  4. Vote on the deal as it stands right now and go back to work, effectively caving in order to keep the season and the paychecks that go along with it, sacrificing their profession and pride for their paychecks and the fans. 
All in all, not an appetizing menu before them. 

But don't worry. The owners are going to make sure that third option isn't one. Because, really, why would the NBA want to negotiate more? They might get a season then! From the New York Times
 
NBA official says no meeting scheduled with union tomorrow, and none being attempted at the moment. (But things change quickly.)
via Twitter / @HowardBeckNYT: NBA official says no meeti ....

Things do change quickly, but with the NBA owners ready for a scorched earth offer on Wednesday, and with as many owners pushing for a lost season as there are, a meeting doesn't make sense. If the players don't take the deal, they look like the bad guys, and the owners can say they hung themselves. The owner want to keep talks closed because starting Monday, reports started filtering in about players being open to the 50/50 deal. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that NBPA officials will be "open minded" about a vote on the current offer.

The owners smell blood in the water. So they will resist anything that gives light to the tunnel the players are strapped in. On Tuesday, they'll fight it out amongst themselves, the decertification hard-liners, the weary 50/50 sympathizers, and the Executive Committee in the middle, desperately trying to hold onto a situation they've never had the reins on.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 6:53 pm
 

Stern sends letter to Hunter detailing offers

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters during a Saturday evening news conference that he would be presenting to the National Basketball Players Association with two offers in writing. The first, a more favorable one, would be valid only if agreed to by end of day Wednesday. The second, a less favorable one, would kick in if that deadline passed.

The New York Times reports that Stern communicated both offers in a letter to NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, ending the communication with an expression of hope that a deal could be reached.
“Rather than simply proceeding, as we could have, to offer a less favorable proposal at this time, the N.B.A. is providing an additional period of time for the players association to consider our 50/50 proposal,” Stern wrote. “We are hopeful that the prospect of a less favorable outcome for the players will prompt the players association to realize that the best deal that can be reached is the one the N.B.A. is prepared to make right now.”

Stern closes, “Billy, I sincerely hope that we can reach an agreement over the next few days.”
The differences in the two offers, the paper reports, are significant in every meaningful way. In addition to roughly a 3 percent drop in its offer of Basketball-Related Income, the new offer would also promise shorter guaranteed contracts, smaller raises, a smaller mid-level exception, a reduced maximum salary figure and a flex cap rather than a strengthened soft cap.

With these details being released publicly, and thus available to every NBA player, it's possible that calls for a vote on the 50/50 offer will increase. There are reports that Houston Rockets guard Kevin Martin is in favor of the league's current offer and that Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake is agitating to get a deal.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com