Tag:Billy Hunter
Posted on: November 2, 2011 6:43 pm

Terrence Williams: 'Enough with the stare off'

Posted by Royce Young

It was probably inevitable. At some point, the players were going to just get fed and want to play basketball. Whether you buy into the reports of the union splitting at the seams or you think their letters are legit, there's some division going on. Glen Davis tweeted today, "Take the 51% man and let's play."

And on top of it, Terrence Williams of the Rockets added another:

The union's in a dangerous place right now. They still want a fair deal, which they won't ever get. But at the very least, they want a deal that they can present as being worth losing a month for. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter want something they can take back to the union and say, "See, it was worth it guys."

Which is probably the current deal on the table, sadly. Players like Davis and Williams aren't going to influence Fisher and Hunter to cave toward an unwanted deal, but the more Fisher's phone buzzes with players echoing that feeling, the more he's going to have to walk in prepared to take something below 53 percent.

And it also means that there's some credence to the stuff about it being Hunter versus Fisher right now. The word is that players are taking sides between Hunter and Fisher right now. There are those ready to "fold" as JaVale McGee might put it and there are others willing to stick it out, if for at least a little longer.

Here's reality though: They played chicken with the owners. And they lost. They said they were drawing the line at 53 and weren't going to dip below. But they can't win that fight. They're going to have to give up their precious three percent to take a deal and get back to not just playing, but getting paid. Maybe they can convince the owners to meet them at 51 percent. But at this point, that might be a pipe dream.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:29 pm

Cuban's brother comments about 51 percent offer

By Matt Moore

Billy Hunter says the union isn't going an inch below 52 percent of BRI for the players. The league is saying, and leaking heavily, that it won't go above 50 percent for the players. So that pretty much seems to be the end of the conversation. 

But it's not. You just have to look around at people around the issues.

Glan Davis posted on Twitter Wednesday:


So that's fun. Not sure if that's "Take the 51 percent that we're willing to go to, NBA!" or "Take the 51 percent they're offering, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher!" but it's certainly a player going below the 52 percent mark, which was set after LeBron James and other swore not to go below 53 percent.

So why on earth would Glen Davis think the owners would go for 51 percent? Oh, how about because Mark Cuban's brother tweeted this in response on Wednesday morning:


Now, granted, this is coming from the brother of Mark Cuban, who has switched sides in the past few weeks to become one of those pushing for a deal and notably linked to reports about helping bring the BRI to within range of a deal. It's a long way from any sort of movement. But if nothing else, the two public comments indicate that there's more movement here than either side is letting on, if they'd just get their egos out of the way.  
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:38 am

The lockout has become brain damaged

By Matt Moore

There have been a lot of ridiculous stories during this lockout. JaVale McGee denying a quote given to reporters with a half dozen recording devices in his face is a personal favorite. There's Ken Berger's 50/50 cake. We've had "enormous consequences," 3 a.m. press conferences, and of course, "How u?." 

Tuesday night saw some pretty freaking ridiculous stories. 

It started with a column from FoxSports.com's Jason Whitlock,  who has written literally hundreds dozens four posts on the NBA lockout, asserting that Derek Fisher wanted to go 50/50 and Billy Hunter wouldn't let him. The piece pretty much painted Fisher as a sellout over his head. Point!

Then later in the day Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a column painting Hunter as the destabilizing force. Woj's assertion is that the union has lost confidence in Hunter's leadership, and would like a vote on a 50/50 BRI-split deal brought to the union for a vote. Counter-point!

If you're looking to read into this, you've got sources inside the union telling two different columnists two different things. Can you feel the stand-united-ness? 

Now, the appropriate action would be to not respond to reports, to continue on with leading the players. Make some phone calls to players who are particularly vocal. Sending a letter isn't going to help because then that just gets out to the media and it looks like you're squabbling and desperate for damage control. 

So naturally, the union sent letters. Lots of letters. 

Billy Hunter tossed aside discussions of a rift with Fisher and tried to get the horse under control, so to speak, by taking aim at the league. When in doubt, slam the side that's costing your constituents money. But wait, they're not through! Derek Fisher released his own statement threatening legal action against FoxSports.com concerning the allegations. The theme is clear. "Everything is fine! We are good! No problems, here! It's the NBA's fault and we won't back down!"

Problem is, that's not how it comes off. It comes off as a fractured leadership trying to undergo damage control. Multiple media outlets after the breakdown in talks last week said that this would be when things got "uglier." 

This is about as ugly as it can get. 

This is why the NBA is so forceful with keeping owners away from the media, why they are levying fines against their own owners for innocuous, common sense tweets that anyone can figure out. Micky Arison was fined half-a-million dollars for saying that he wasn't behind a move to prevent the season and restructure the deal some more. Anyone paying half-attention could have figured that out. But the league knows the more that is said, the more things get out of control, which means the more they have to respond to in the press, which means less time staying focused on getting what they want. 

There's been a lot of talk, some of it from me, about how flawed and nearly insane the league's stance has been. But if their position is out of whack, their execution has been flawless. The union's requests are reasonable, undersatandable: a deal where they don't lose their soul, their hat, and everything with it. Bu their execution of their defense has been sorely lacking. This situation is a clear example of that. 

In totally unrelated news, no talks are scheduled between the NBA and NBPA. 

Today is day 125 of the NBA lockout. 
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 12:16 am

Derek Fisher lawyers up, demands retraction

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The only thing missing here is a reference to Scott Templeton.

National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher issued a statement on Tuesday night taking direct aim at multiple articles posted on FoxSports.com, formally demanding a retraction and acusing the site of defaming him.

Here's the full statement sent out by Jamie Wior, Fisher's publicist, and obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. 
"The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable.  Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false.  The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat out lie.  I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish.

Regardless of the media reports, the Players Association, our staff, Executive Director and Executive Committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players.

There should be no more distractions.  We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players."      
The articles that Fisher objects to call out both Fisher and Wior by name. They accuse Fisher of being co-opted by Stern during labor negotiations, assert that there is a rift between Fisher and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, and suggest that the NBPA confronted Fisher about his stances on the all-important revenue split issue. They also call into question the aptitude of both Fisher and Wior. 

Earlier Tuesday, NBA commissioner David Stern issued a denial that he secretly met with Fisher. Also on Tuesday, Hunter sent a letter to the NBPA saying that he had no beef with Fisher. On Monday, Fisher sent a letter to the NBPA denying a rift with Hunter.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:16 pm

David Stern denies secretly meeting Derek Fisher

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

In case you were worried that representatives of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association were actually meeting face-to-face, NBA commissioner David Stern is here to set the record straight. There were no meetings!

The New York Times reports that Stern flatly denied meeting with NBPA president Derek Fisher, although he was speaking about a reported secret meeting where a "side deal" was allegedly conducted without the consent of NBPA executive director Billy Hunter.
One report said that Fisher secretly met with Stern and the deputy commissioner Adam Silver in an attempt to make a deal.

“That would be false,” Stern said.

Fisher also denied the report that suggested he met with Stern in a letter sent to the NBPA on Monday. "Usually I wouldn't even dignify absurd media reports with a comment," Fisher's letter read. "But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players... There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close."

Meanwhile, Hunter also denied that there was a rift between himself and Fisher in a letter sent to the NBPA on Tuesday, but also tried to redirect the discussion to the current state of negotiations. "We will not be intimidated by public threats, ultimatums and manufactured drop dead dates," Hunter's letter read. "We will stand firm in our resolve to negotiate a fair deal for our current membership and those who will join our ranks in the future," Hunter said.

Well, we now have denials from all involved parties but are still left without actual discourse on the issues. Labor negotiations broke off last Friday and there are currently no new negotiations scheduled.

At this point, it would actually be more productive if Stern, Silver, Fisher and Hunter all set of a series of secret meetings with each other and then continually leaked the fact that they were meeting to the media. At least they would be meeting!

If there's any upshot here it's that Stern told the New York Times multiple times that he's still trying. 
“We’re trying very hard to get a deal done with the players, or we were, and we don’t need any external distractions to that focus.”

I believe that a majority of teams are in favor of making the deal that we were offering to the players,” Stern said. “And I’m trying very hard to keep that deal on the table.”
Just to boil all of this nonsense and hot air down to its core: nothing is being accomplished but they still claim they haven't given up. Fantastic news. Don't keel over in optimistic over-exertion.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 11:20 pm

Hunter slams NBA, backs Fisher in letter to NBPA

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Another bleeping letter.

Yes, just 24 hours after National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher sent a letter to his union's membership urging solidarity and denying a report of a rift between himself and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, Hunter has penned a letter of his own.

Hunter's letter comes just hours after a report that suggested some segment of the union's members are getting fed up with his hard-line stance in negotiations.

ESPN.com has the text of the letter. Here's an excerpt.
"We will not be intimidated by public threats, ultimatums and manufactured drop dead dates. We will stand firm in our resolve to negotiate a fair deal for our current membership and those who will join our ranks in the future," Hunter said.

"A move of this magnitude guarantees operating profits for all owners irrespective of quality of management and does not allow players to adequately share in the growth of the league."

Hunter, in the letter, said the NBA seems determined to use hard bargaining tactics to get the deal it wants.

"They have given us 'take it or leave it' ultimatums, threatened to end the season prematurely, reached out to players in an attempt to divide us, misled the press, and pre-conditioned further talks on our acceptance of significant concessions," he said. "This is an unacceptable form of negotiation, especially where the respective fates of the players and the owners are inextricably related. Moreover, it does nothing but damage the relationship between the league and union."
SI.com has printed the entire letter. Hunter concludes by stating that he is on the same page with Fisher. 
Contrary to what is being said in the media, Derek, myself and the Negotiating Committee are of one accord. Derek is a fearless defender of player rights both at the bargaining table and behind the scenes, and he carries out his duties as President with the same degree of courage, focus and tenacity that he has exhibited on the court as a five-time champion. We are all well served to have Derek in a leadership capacity during these negotiations.
The NBPA is clearly in full-fledged damage control mode now with two letters sent in the past 24 hours and no negotiation meetings scheduled. The spirit of Hunter's message is on point: unity, common enemy, etc. But, at some point, NBPA leadership will realize that the only letters their membership cares about are "C.B.A."

This was a no-win situation. Hunter had to say something to calm tensions, but his audience -- not to mention the media -- is demanding action, not words. You can't help but wonder how many of this letter's recipients hit the "delete" button before bothering to read it.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 8:13 pm

Reports: Federal Mediator won't rejoin NBA talks

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. 

Two weeks ago, Federal mediator George Cohen agreed to oversee more than 24 hours of negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association in hopes of ending the ongoing NBA lockout. He was not successful, throwing up his hands and bailing after talks broke down. "No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time," Cohen said in a prepared statement upon his depature.  

Apparently, Cohen still sees no useful purpose in his presence. 

Reports broke earlier this week that Cohen might re-enter the NBA's labor quagmire, but multiple reports on Tuesday indicate that will not happen.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that it "looks like the federal mediator will not be rejoining NBA labor talks. Nor are any (non-mediated) talks scheduled."

SI.com reported that Cohen's decision came after he conferred with both sides: "Source says federal mediator George Cohen spoke with both NBA and NBPA officials about another joint session but it will not be happening. No new meetings scheduled."

How to read this? The glass if half full approach would argue that a mediator is unnecessary because compromises have been forged on so many of the system issues and that the two sides, after a pretty active negotiating period, have a clear understanding of each other's positions. The glass is half empty approach would argue that a mediator who listened to the two sides state their respective cases for their stances on the revenue split might reasonably conclude that he would be wasting his time by showing up unless one, if not both, sides indicates to him they are willing to make a substantial move.

In that vein, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote on Tuesday that the lockout won't ever be resolved by a mediator. Rather, an agreement will only come from the two central figures: NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter. 
Posted on: November 1, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 6:54 pm

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

Posted by Ben Golliver


Taking a break during a protracted negotiation is supposed to allow for a reassessment period, to provide time for a rethinking of positions and, perhaps most importantly, to allow space for cooler heads to prevail.

Instead, tensions are reportedly mounting, with frustration and impatience threatening to boil over.

Yahoo Sports reports that some portion of the the NBA's players are growing increasingly disenchanted with National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter because he has not yet delivered a deal for the entire union membership to vote on. 
From superstars to midlevel players to rookies, there’s an unmistakable push to complete the final elements of the system and take this labor deal to the union’s 400-plus membership. Beyond that, there’s an even larger movement to push Hunter, the Players Association’s executive director, out the door once these labor talks are done. All hell’s broken loose within the union, and no one is exactly sure how they’re going to get a deal to the finish line.

“Billy can’t just say it’s 52 or nothing, and walk out again,” one league source involved the talks told Yahoo! Sports. “That will not happen again. It’s time that the players get to make a decision on this, and there won’t be another check lost before they do.”
The site also apparently confirms previous reports of a developing rift between Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher, a rift that Fisher denied in a letter to NBPA members on Monday night.
“Right now, everyone has to choose sides: Billy or Derek,” one player involved in the labor process told Yahoo! Sports. “How the [expletive] did it come to this?”
What to make of this? Well, in the absence of actual meetings, which provide the potential for progress and thus the comfort of optimism, there are going to be a lot of hurt feelings. Panicking isn't an unreasonable response, especially if a deal was relatively close but now feels far away. Union members demand action and results from their leadership. Both Fisher and Hunter signed up for that.

For months now, as far as anyone can tell, the NBPA's strategy was to not blink for as long as possible and hope that the NBA's owners were bluffing about being willing to lose games so that they could overhaul the system. The owners never blinked even though they had multiple opportunities to do so. The strategy didn't succeed and the players are now quickly reaching the point where holding out becomes solely about principle rather than about economics. 

Whether it's time for a leadership shakeup -- or for the current leadership to publicly mend fences -- is a sideshow to the larger issue for the players: It's time for a new strategy. Holding out for the sake of holding out is self-defeating and will be, ultimately, very costly. The NBPA should be using this time away from the bargaining table to take the temperature of its members. As the calendar has changed, so too might have opinions about whether holding out is worth it. If the majority of the NBPA's members continue to endorse the current strategy, then Fisher and Hunter, together, should blanket the airwaves spreading that message, rather than letting rumors and innuendo undercut their authority. If not, what are they waiting for? Call a meeting and get it done.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com