Hunter Doubts Owners’ Good Faith Efforts
Players Association executive director Billy Hunter is expecting a united – not hostile – crowd when he meets with some of the NBA’s locked-out players at a Beverly Hills hotel on Friday. The players, Hunter said, have been preparing for two years for the possibility the lockout might force them to miss games, so the NBA’s decision to cancel the first two weeks of the season shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Hunter spoke with Yahoo! Sports about the status of negotiations on the eve of his players meeting.
Q: What has been the most frustrating part of negotiations?
Hunter: “I don’t think [the owners] are negotiating in good faith. That’s what’s frustrating. David Stern told me three years ago – and I keep reiterating that because people keep pulling up their cup on it – that they were going to lock out [the players] in order to get what it was they wanted. And what he’s done is done that. [Stern] said he was going to lock out [the players] and his owners were prepared to lock out to get what they wanted. It’s driven pretty much by the small-market teams. They actually want revenue sharing in the big markets, but the big markets have said, ‘OK we’ll give revenue conditioned upon you getting the deal in place that we think has to be there because we don’t want to go into our pockets as much as we may have to. We think you should get it off the backs of the players.’ So that’s what he’s done. He’s stated an extreme position from the get go and he’s negotiated that way. So here we are.