Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  86 responses

Billy Hunter: 2011-12 NBA Season Likely Lost

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA players’ union, has basically thrown in the towel when it comes to saving next season. As far as he’s concerned, there won’t be any NBA games played in 2011-2012.

Speaking to a group of lawyers and judges in Baltimore, Hunter spoke candidly about his gloomy outlook when it comes to negotiations with NBA team owners.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

“We’re $800 million apart per year,” Hunter told about 200 people during a seminar at a conference in Baltimore of the National Bar Association, an organization of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges. The union chief said NBA commissioner David Stern was being limited in negotiations by hard-line owners.

“The circumstances have changed among his constituency,” said Hunter, the executive director since 1996. “In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises, and what they’re doing is kind of holding his feet to the fire.” Because negotiators are dug in, Hunter said “something has to happen that both of us can use as leverage to save face.”

Asked by a conference attendee whether there would be a 2011-12 season, he replied: “If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no.”

Well, that’s not very encouraging.

Following every meeting between players and owners since the lockout began, a heavy fog of negativity and distrust has emerged from both sides.

This is just the latest salvo in an endlessly depressing fight that’s nowhere near a resolution. Fun!

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  • the preacher

    the only solution is to drop all current salaries and have a new system, profit sharing across the board. a\only staff and personnel get fixed salaries. players and owners split overall revenues. say for example, 40 percent goes directly to the owner, then lets grade players. the higher the rating the higher the share. then just give em all “allowances” to cover basic needs.


    Why would an MLE player such as Mike Miller take such a drastic paycut if you follow your method? Also, who would grade the players and provide a rating? If the owners do it, obviously they will grade players as low as they can and also how often would you grade? Once a season? If thats the case you have just entered the world of non guarenteed contracts, something the players will never go along with.

  • http://slamonline.com Neitel

    Get rid of some teams, like 5 of them…i wont say whom, but the nba can save money by dropping off some teams. The NBA should bring in congressaman and current president candidate RON PAUL, to give advices on how to save sound money, maybe they wont even have to get rid of teams like i suggested.

  • Shem

    This is the owners fault. Giving huge contracts to middle class players and when it doesn’t work (which is almost always) team’s are in terrible financial positions.

  • robb

    If that happens, man I’m gonna go crazy

  • truth

    I’m assuming ‘the preacher’ has a job and would like to know how he would feel if someone told him/her to drop his current salary.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    …..this is…frustrating…the best sport on this planet, the greatest sports league on this planet…..goodness grief GET IT TOGETHER!!! Got players running all over the world playing basketball this summer, simply for the love of it…..and these losers are trying to stop us from watching another season of NBA basketball……ughhhhhhhhhh, done

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Okay, ffs, can someone fire Billy Hunter? It seems like the dude doesn’t even care about basketball anymore, he just wants more money. That comment about saving face really ticked me off, this isn’t about face, it’s about basketball, I wish both sides would get over themselves and stop ruining the game we’ve all come to love. I’m sick of getting excited about a coaching hire, or a draft choice only to realise I might not see it in action.

  • Brahsef

    This sucks

  • yo

    Just woudering who those ‘hard-line owners’ are. I guess those of losing teams,that do not earn them money.

    New Orleans

    Now here ist the solution: get rid of exactly this teams, and all problems are solved!

    I would even contract Atlanta, because their stadium is always empty and they overpaid Joe Johnson. There has to be some kind of punishment, baby!

    Ok, now you have a league with 26 Teams. Each year in each conference there are 4 teams that do not reach the playoffs, but they can choose twice from the first 16 rookies in the draft. Their chances to get better, reach the playoffs and be a contender are much, much bigger now.

    Fewer teams also means more talented players per team. Which makes all teams and the league more attractive, more balanced and more exciting.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    if this goes through, I’ll have to watch european ball all year :|

  • T-Money

    the nba should be careful with this… basketball is not like football or even baseball, it’s not as entrenched in america’s contemporary sports culture. fans will b-tch about the nfl all day long but will STAY glued to their TVs on sundays. there aren’t as many hardcore basketball fans and the league banks on its superstars (as opposed to just the product) to drive ratings.

  • emrod900

    there will be an nba season, this is just a bunch of grandstanding and psycho talk… the NBA is not even at halfway the NFL’s revenue and there is no way a reasonable person would destroy the increased interest in the nba. iam certain that players who want a nba season will run out of patience..

  • emrod900

    if there is no NBA season and players dont start speaking up and saying hunter is going too far with his too early the season is doomed, then all of them will get my idiot of the year award for there being no ball this season..

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    @emrod: not with Billy Hunter whispering in their ears. I can’t help but instantly dislike this guy. Seriously they’ve been in talks for two years, how could they not see this coming and work it out…

  • bull22

    @omphalos, very true.. i hate when someone else’s user name autofills into mine. i cant believe this has not been corrected.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Some of y’all are disturbing. It’s great that you want basketball, but you know who is denying you basketball, the NBA owners. Not Billy Hunter, not the players. The owners have decided they will not continue. It’s quite strange how easily many of you have been distracted from that salient fact. This is not a “strike” it’s a “lockout”. Lockouts come from business owners, strikes come from employees. Basic terms you should get to know.

  • LA Huey

    I was already planning to not buy NBA 2K11. Losing the 2011-’12 would make it so much easier.

  • Detroit Dave

    Why doesn’t Nike or Gatorade sponsor an Exhibition game. They have the money and the players to do it?

  • bull22

    @allen dude get off the players jockstraps.. there is blame everywhere in this lockout, quit sounding like a silly teenager who is upset because his team may not be playing.. the only disturbed individuals are those wear their favorite players underwear. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahhaha

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bull22 if you are old enough to have a job, think of it like this. Your company has GROWN….. even the owner says the company is the biggest it has EVER been. You have worked at the Company for 5+ years, have gotten better at your job, and nothing has changed about the way your company did business 5 years ago to today. But now, each individual franchise owner has decided that they aren’t making money, the way the business works is all of a sudden not acceptable. So they are going to cut your annual salary by 15% or more. Would you just sit there and take it, grab your ankles for your managers just for the sake of the customer?

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  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford


  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    With the way you rode Derrick Rose’s pe(nis like a saddle horse during the season, I would think you would be the last person to accuse somebody else of riding jockstraps. But then again, you’re a bit of an idiot.
    Lockout are caused by business owners, strikes are caused by employees. If NBA players had gone on strike because they didn’t like their current deal, I would be pissed at them because there is nothing wrong with their current deal.
    If NBA owners lockout players because they don’t like their current deal, then the problem is them because the current deal is not truly the reason why they are losing money. The players have already agreed to reduce their share of the BRI and roll back the length of contracts. AT this point, the owners need to come to the table with a reasonable proposal.

  • LP

    of course he will say the season wont happen…just to create a frenzy…but they said the NFL was going to lose games and not have a season too, and that didn’t come close to happening.

  • Showtime

    @bull22 nbk just broke down to in laymans terms…pow

  • bike

    I find it a little odd Hunter would say this at this point in the game. Makes me wonder if he is the best person to represent the players. I mean ‘leverage to save face’????…is that what is holding things up??? wtf.


    I choose to ignore the negative rhetoric from both sides. Either get a deal done, or shut up and keep it behind closed doors. I can’t wait until the college basketball season begins.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Has anybody else changed how they feel about Billy Hunter the past few months. I mean, one year ago today, I didn’t really know who he was, just the head of the NBPA. Now, he makes Stern seem like the beacon of competence and morality. Just have Shane Battier lead the charge, he’d do a better job and win public support as a player standing up. Oh, and cosign Allen on all counts.

  • http://facebook.com/tronjohnson ChiefKeewatin

    I guess the “Business” of sports will actually compromise the Game that I’ve loved to watch since grade 8. I guess I won’t have a hard choice now Stern and the PA, If Carmelo Anthony does not get a chance to win it next year…Well the NFL might step ahead of the NBA in my mind.

  • IndyG

    Yeah im really starting to not like this guy…

  • c’mon son

    its like they dont even want a deal

  • LA Huey

    How can you think Hunter is worse than Stern? As Allenp, had mentioned, the players have already offered legit compromises whereas the owners have only “given” the players what was already due to them. Stern accuses the union of not negotiating in good faith and then slaps them with lawsuits. The owner’s have created this lockout, want total reform of the CBA, AND a 10 year deal. How do you shift most of the blame to the player’s union?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Oh Bull22… Your awesome man. Truly a very “special” person. He laughs harder in an online post (he posts) thats not funny, than I have in all comedy movies I have ever seen combined. Obviously this is the Owners fault, but how I feel on it, is that it’s not like you or me at our jobs where if we take a 20% pay cut we can’t afford to feed our families.(for most of us) NBA Players on the other hand are paid 100 million dollar contracts for the good players and 40million dollar contracts for mediocre guys. They can take a pay cut. I’m not saying they should, but i’m not going to sit here and sympathize for a guy that makes millions upon millions. I think both sides need to compromise a little.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    David Stern made 23 Million Dollars last season. The Owners are proposing that a max deal under the new CBA be no higher then 13 Million. Anybody watch the NBA to see David Stern, and at twice the rate as any single player? didn’t think so

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    People are getting “Philoed”! lol
    Shout out @LakeShow.

  • Red

    You guys are all morons, especially that dummy Allen, shut up & sit down. Guess you missed the “save face” quote you fricking moron.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I blame the players, they need a cap, because some players in the NBA are getting paid too much and some teams are losing money. This is not the NFL. The NBA does need to look at losing some teams that do not make money or put them on a 5 year probation plan. I blame players. Owners own and try to make profit like it any business. To me each player should be able to take a 20 to 30% pay cut. BOOK IT!!!

  • dma

    so…. who’s all for bringing the ABA back, somehow?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The owners offer the salaries that logic is broken.

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    nbk just “Philoed” somebody…

  • the nerve

    philo stfu. haha


    How hard would it be to start a new league? Like someone said earlier, NIKe Gatorade and some of these companies have money and they can use it to sponsor games on ESPN. Maybe not all NBA players will be able to join because lack of teams, but at least the high profile players can join.

  • the nerve

    philo stfu! haha

  • LA Huey

    Players are to blame because the owners pay them “too much”? Unless you’re griping about the players on minimum salaries, no team is required to sign players to overpriced contracts. Like The Wire’s Senator Davis would say, “I’ll take any n***** money if they’re just giving it away”.

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    (Eddie Murphy, “Coming To America)

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    *@the nerve*

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Yawn!!!! I’m looking forward to giving my undivided attention to college basketball this season. Is there some kind of CBB league pass out there?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    yeah it’s ESPN FullCourt JT.

  • the nerve

    yeah philo im back to prank on these internet thugz all ova tha dam place. so what all the cryin bout man? all deez punks need to be bodyslammed 4 all this lockout talk. hogwash man. str8 bs yo. f*k the owners man! gonna sign nickas 2 b1tch bout it later. muthagrabbers

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Co-sign Jtaylor. Lets hope that we get a CBB Post Up going on come season time. It’s about time I got back into CBB. When I was young I wouldn’t watch the NBA until play-off time anyway, from December to March CBB is better than the NBA.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    You been straight Philoed! Ahh hide yo kids the Nerve is back to text some trash talk atcha!

  • SIkhWitIt

    Props to the players for sticking to their guns. The owners are nowhere near as entitled as they’d like to believe.

  • the nerve

    yo lakeshow i aint been up here in a minute. did muthaphukkas miss yer boi nerve?? freedom smell good denamuthafukka. i keep goin back 2 this klink tho man. tired. tricks aint want none of this partna.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Ya dood^^ We talk about you daily. “Wheres the Nerve?” everyone keeps asking me. I’m just like be patient guys our beloved nerve will be back!

  • http://www.specialolympics.org/ Felix

    Personally I don’t understand how anyone can side with the owners… well, I can understand because the internet is basically 85% haters… and pro basketball players make a pretty good amount of money… but to paraphrase Chris Rock, “Shaq is rich… The guy that signs Shaq’s contract? He’s wealthy.” so I don’t know why that haterism doesnt spread to the people with the real money, the owners. They mismanaged the revenue, the signed off on the bad contracts, and they imposed the lockout… how are they not at fault? Saying “Players make more money than me… why can’t they take a 15-30% paycut?” seems stupid to me. No one else in America would just cave in 15- 30% of their wages.

  • http://www.specialolympics.org/ Felix

    On a similar but NFL related note… to the GIANTS.. JUST PAY OSI ALREADY HE”S WORTH IT!

  • the nerve

    lakeshow- word its like dAT MY N!GGA? thats what it do yo. i miss yall hos 2 yo!!! i almost gat caught up 4 real w/this jail shtt man. punkz tried 2 rob me out in broad daylight man. i let em git me. i knew who it was. i aint gonna lie i thought is was bcrawford’s goons. naw jokin. but yea man a n!gga had 2 get back at duke. ya dig? got back at duke n ni99as ended up callin tha PO-lice. f dat!
    i made bail tho. HAHA!! i alwayz make bail ya follow me?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^^^Naw dogg.. Consider me confuzzled.

  • the nerve

    i jus had 2 fukk a few nickas up w/ my out of control styz man. that all. i still gotta go 2 court 4 dat jizz. me gots lawyer tho. not no court lawyer. but a real law dude.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Nerve, can you tell us your life story? Sure sounds juicy!

  • mprince

    if the lockout lasts for the whole season..what happens to next year’s draft? how do they determine the order of the picks?

  • the nerve

    i dunno where 2 start man lol. sh.t man my life like a movie man. i b livin tha fast life yo. tru story. drugs gunz n heffers. i dun seen chumps git murked. i live a life where punks come at each other jus cuz. but i be floatin round ya dig? i keep it movin. i keep alot of skeezas in my camp. i got bout 2 main tricks. 3 if they all in line at the same time. i got other broads who wanna roll w/ yer boi. i aint even a pretty n!9ga either. but we all roll 2gether chasin that money. i keep money. used 2 be broke denamuthafukka. not 2 long ago either. moms and pops was gang bangers n junkies. was born in Haiti. moved 2 the ny when i was 5. moved all over the place man. moms found this old ass nicka wit money so she phukked wit him. when he moved we moved. had 2 jack him up 2 a few times. im spittin mad greasy but idgaf ya dig? im gittin MONEY. HO!!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Thank you Nerve. Never forget your priorities, keep getting that money, HO!!

  • the nerve

    thats what it do my nigca. thats what it do. on the real. im bout 2 get on the ball court w/ these young punks outside my window. i be back later on so i can herb somebody on these boards. theres about 5 or 6 lil niccas outside. 2 of them think they nice. then there this pretty chump who got a little money. u know what happens when hos start stuntin.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Later Nerve, always a pleasure.

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Elvis… has left the building.
    The Nerve is a classic.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Well, following the NHL is looking fairly attractive right now…

  • seriousblack

    The Seed and bull22 (the number of his I.Q) are proud, clueless fools. “How dare you players take the millions you’re offered?” The players should turn down money the billionaire owners give them because they don’t deserve it? GTFOH. The simple solution to that would be to stop giving ridiculous contracts out. Who told the Grizzlies to pay Mike Conley that money? Those idiots can’t even use the excuse that they were competing with other teams because no one else would have given him that amount of money. And why should David Stern be making more than Lebron, DWade, or Blake? These three guys alone bring in more advertising dollars, ticket sales, and merchandise sales per year than David Stern’s salary total for 5 years! He’s worth more to the league than the players? That’s an absurd idea and the owners know it. They haven’t made one significant compromise from their original proposal. As Allenp said, this isn’t a strike. Billy Hunter and the players aren’t the one refusing to work. Place the blame on the greedy billionaires.

  • http://jump.com e23


  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Gilbert Arenas gave back some of his contract offer^^ haha

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Allenp, so self righteous.

  • Feez22

    Well look on the bright side people… the nfl season is right around the corner. If you aren’t an nfl type i don’t know what 2 tell you… spend more time with friends/family or focus more on school/work this upcoming year? this lockout can actually be a productive time for us fans. or a boring time if you don’t want to be optimistic… i’ll be looking forward to the nfl season and focusing on school work.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    OK Drew League time to strike a TV deal with ESPN.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Damn, this thread spun outta control faster than the whole lockout mess.
    very entertaining.

  • http://www.freerice.com freerice

    Billy Hunter should take the friggin 1$ paycheck like the nfl player rep did. then they would get it done like the friggin nfl.

  • Ed

    Man, in these tough economic times, where people are losing jobs and NBA players want $800 a year more? Surely at this point in time the owners are the ones taking the risk, let’s say everything falls about, the average Joe will no longer be able to afford to pay high Basketball ticket prices, areans will then be empty, teams fold and look who loses out? Players.

    They get paid very well for what they do, the person assuming the risk should benefit from the profit.

  • the preacher

    ok just to clarify, i currently work at company w a fixed income that i feel could/should get higher. if the company i work for offer profit sharing based on performance and rating, id be a rich mofo. mike miller makes the league minimum. profit sharing would be a raise for him. think about it, gates, sponsorships, tv deals, etc split. that way there wont be no complaints and somewhere down the road some teams will have to drop out, thus having a moer healthy and competetive nba

  • Jase

    Its not the players league. They are employees. Highly paid, and hugely talented and famous….but still employees. The sooner they get that part…the sooner an agreement can be reached.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Listen up: “In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises”
    Ted Leonsis – Washington – $250 million ;
    Greg Miller – Utah – inherited ;
    Robert Sarver – Phoenix – $401 million ;
    Clay Bennett – Oklahoma City – $350 million ;
    Mikhail Prokorov – New Jersey – $200 million ;
    Joe Lacob – Golden State – $450 million ;
    Tom Gores – Detroit – $325 million ;
    Dan Gilbert – Cleveland – $375 million ;
    Michael Jordan – Charlotte – $275 million ;
    Michael Gearon Jr – Atlanta – $208 million ;
    What do these have in common? Apart from Atlanta, NJ and Washington, they’re small market teams and apart from Atlanta the teams were bought when they were losing (and badly) and most of them still are. Do you seriously think Hunter is talking bull#%it when he says these guys are pushing hard for a return on the unjustifiable amount money they spent on something they now realise is a losing investment?

  • irondan21

    The league is self destructing and needs a major reboot.

  • seriousblack

    Um Ed, I need you to come back to reality. What major corporation doesn’t have highly paid employees that are rewarded for performance? You do realize that companies like Google and Facebook have billionaire EMPLOYEES right? I’m not talkng about the CEOs either. I’m talking about employees who were rewarded for their performance. I always think it’s strange when people complain about the amount of money athletes make when they don’t even come close to setting precedents for handsomely rewarded employees. I think a lot of people look at them like a group of mostly minority, uneducated guys who somehow don’t deserve to be making money like that. You fools are saying that in a year of record highs they should take pay cuts because some owners overpaid and badly managed franchises? It just sounds stupid. The players should dig in their heels until the owners are ready to deal seriously.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I remember reading a few years ago that the CEO of Home Depot made $25 million a year. And that was a middle of the pack salary. Right now, Kobe, who is arguably the best basketball player on the planet, and one of the ten greatest of all-time doesn’t make $25 million. But, a middling CEO makes that and it’s the median salary.
    I remember when the chairmen of the stock exchange got fired for .incompetence or something, and got like a $100 million severance package with all kinds of crazy perks. I know that billionaires who get most of their revenue from capital gains typically only pay a 15 percent tax rate, well below the average American.
    Basically, if I wanted to engage in class warfare, there are far more inviting targets than NBA players. Maybe all of the people complaining about NBA players are equally upset about all these other rich people causing problems in their regular lives, but somehow, I doubt it.
    And, Michael NZ, I’m not self righteous, I’m strident in my opinions and willing to call others out on what I see as their BS. If you’re attacking the players for the lockout, while cheerleading the owners, then that’s a clear sign of a problem in my opinion.

  • CubicleWorker

    Slam won’t post my comments, so I’ll have to keep this one brief and hope it gets put on..

    Allenp, the market drives the price for NBA players, as it does for CEO’s. When you’re the best at something you get rewarded for it. The value that the CEO brings to Home Depot is worth $25/million a year otherwise shareholders and the board of governors would not allow it. Keep in mind that includes salary, perks, stock options etc etc

    The value for Kobe is $25/million salary, if you include his perks (shoes, commercials, etc etc) it eclipses $25/million. And he’s worth it..

    The truth is that many players are over-valued. THAT ISNT THE PLAYERS FAULT.. nor is it the owners. The labour market in the NBA inflated players value. It spiralled out of control. Now everybody has to take an objective look and fix the system. That’s what this is all about. Finding a compromise so there’s a system where EVERYBODY can profit. The popularity is high right now, and it’s a major opportunity to make sure that everybody gets paid over the next 5-10 years.

  • CubicleWorker

    NOBODY wants to take a pay cut, whether you make $30,000 or $10,000,000 a year. The problem for the players is that the owners are claiming that the system is unsustainable under the current CBA. Whether that’s true or not, if the owners stick to their position the players are going to get a 100% salary cut this season.

    $2B salary drop in one year, to try to compensate for only $800M over the next 5? On the plus side at least Billy Hunter can “save face”…