NBA AM: Players Association Divided?
This past Saturday a story on FOXSports.com titled “Is Fisher in Stern’s pocket?” hinted there was a rift between NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher.
The report, citing an unnamed veteran player close to the ongoing lockout negotiations, stated there were concerns amongst union leadership regarding Fisher’s true motive for striking a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
As widely reported, one of the biggest obstacles left to overcome in reaching a new CBA is the disagreement between owners and players on how to split Basketball Related Income.
Under the expired CBA players received a 57-43 split of BRI.
Throughout the ongoing lockout owners have been adamant on receiving a 50-50 share in the new agreement, while the players have drawn their line in the sand at 52-48.
The FOXSports.com report centers on the premise of Fisher secretly promising NBA commissioner David Stern that he could deliver a 50-50 agreement from the players, possibly in exchange for lucrative opportunities in the future.
According to the article this led to Hunter questioning Fisher’s allegiance to the union and reportedly confronting the veteran player last Friday.
Hunter has since told Sports Business Journal that he did not confront Fisher as alleged in the report.
On Monday, Fisher uncharacteristically sent an e-mail to NBA players vehemently denying the validity of the report, urging solidarity within the union and maintaining patience for a fair deal.
Usually I wouldn’t even dignify absurd media reports with a comment. 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. Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for. And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close.
In the letter Fisher also stated the players association was in the battle for the long haul while trying to negotiate the best labor deal possible.
We have been prepared for this and need to make sure we are getting the best deal possible. As this sets the precedent for the next 6, 7, 10 even 20 years. My goal, the Executive Committee’s ONLY goal is to present you with the most fair deal possible. A deal that is both fair on system and BRI. One isn’t more important than the other. They are both extremely impactful to our business, our sport and our day to day life in the league.
While the two sides have been unable to hammer out a new deal there has reportedly been solid progress on salary system issues.
Fisher believes the owners should end the lockout and take the players’ offer which includes concessions on BRI split and compensation structure.
If nothing more, the league and owners should understand people’s livelihoods are at stake. They should be able to take the over 1 Billion dollars we’ve offered them and open the doors of their arenas and let us, along with the ushers, parking attendants, everyone impacted to get back to work.
Last Friday, the latest round of labor negotiations between owners and players broke down. This led to the official announcement of the cancellation of the entire November schedule.
Each month the lockout lasts during the 2012 season players are expected to lose $350 million in salaries.
Tinsley Is Not Too Proud: According to Yahoo! Sports, former NBA player Jamaal Tinsley is looking to make a comeback and the established veteran is not to proud to utilize the NBA Development League as the springboard.
Tinsley has reportedly submitted the documentation required to enter the Development League draft on November 3.
The 33 year old, best known for his stint as the Indiana Pacers starting point guard in the early 2000s, has career averages of 9.8 points and 6.6 assists on 40 percent shooting from the floor. He last appeared in the league during the 2010 season as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tinsley is the latest player with proven league success attempting to use the D-League as a springboard back to the big stage.
It was also recently announced that former All-Star forward Antoine Walker, who hasn’t played in the NBA since 2008, has rejoined the Idaho Stampede for the 2012 D-League season.
In case you missed it …
78-Game Regular Season Still Possible? While the prospect of having a full 82-game season was effectively eliminated when labor negotiations between owners and players broke down last week, commissioner David Stern has insisted the ultimate goal would be to play as many games as possible whenever a new CBA is reached.
According to the New York Post there is still a strong possibility of a 78-game regular season if an agreement can be reached within the next week.
“Anything is possible,” a union source told the Post. “If the handshake is a week later, it’s a week less of games.”
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there are a plethora of contingency plans floating around as it relates to scheduling.
The sides are closer than ever on a new CBA, so while a labor deal isn’t imminent by any stretch it does help to be prepared once the signatures are on the dotted line.
NBA Chats:There are two NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s senior writer Eric Pincus at 4pm EST. Eric’s chats are a hot ticket so getting in early is always wise. I will be hosting my weekly hoops chat tonight at 8pm EST. Submit your questions here. Anything basketball related is up for discussion. You can always find the next NBA Chat here and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here