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Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  73 responses

Billy Hunter: Cancelled Games Part of NBA’s ‘Plan’


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Despite the misguided optimism of the past few days, as reps for the players’ union and owners met for what seemed like an interminable amount of time (and even seemed to be making headway), the League made a decision last night that now appears to have been inevitable since the lockout began.

For the second time in 13 years, the NBA will miss regular season games.

According to Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, this is all part of the owners’ plan to break the players’ collective will.

They won’t relent until they get absolutely everything they want in this labor war. And they know that in order to do that, players must truly feel the financial pinch of not receiving some of their paychecks.

From CBS Sports:

“It goes back to a comment that David said to me several years ago, when he said this is what my owners have to have,” Hunter said Monday night, after the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA regular season were canceled. “And I said, ‘Well, the only way you’re going to get that is, you prepare to lock us out for a year or two.’ And he’s indicated to me that they’re willing to do it. So my belief and contention is that everything that he’s done has demonstrated that he’s following that script.”

“I’m not surprised, because as I’ve indicated to you, based upon representations that were made to me earlier in discussions that David and I had, I’m convinced that this was just all part of the plan,” Hunter said.

We’re back to square one now in this mess. No further talks are scheduled between the two sides, and there’s no telling just how many more games the NBA will have to cancel should a deal fail to materialize.

For what it’s worth, Billy Hunter doesn’t believe the League would be “foolish” enough to wipe out the entire season. But, as we’ve learned in this lockout, optimism hasn’t always been the wisest of strategies.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Sigh.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Go Lions…

  • GreenBall

    Can we all create a collective fan base? We need this and that in order to follow the NBA, cause this is just getting ridiculous!!

  • Cizzo

    The NBA is in turmoil…. I really don’t care actully…it’s all abunch of crybaby activity and no real reasoning except money…

  • NJ4Life

    Lockout the League. Don’t buy any NBA merchandise etc

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Could have said it better myself. This was Stern and the owner’s plan from the very start, to drag their feet during the negotiating process, wait until the last minute to bring up the 50/50 proposal and then lockout the players for good. Those clowns could care less about the impact a lockout would have on the League (especially during a recession), all they care about is turning a profit one way or another.
    This is some bull and even if it means missing the entire season, I hope the players never given in to the owner’s wishes.

  • bull22

    @nj4life, since jordan retired i have only bought two nba items and after that 1999 strike i did not watch the nba until phil jackson came back into the league…. @jtaylor, you need to get under the unreality check ROCK with
    the nba players and SHADUP and stay there….. neither the owners or players care about what our opinion is. how many of you tried to sound like experts and ended up looking stupid.. in the end its just “GREED”.

  • bull22

    the OWNERS,PLAYERS, and BILLY HUNTER simply are all plain stupid…..
    the NFL knew better then to be screwing with the fan base and started their full game season, kudos to them!

  • Jason Heartly

    Thank God for NBA 2K11

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The NFL was making $9 billion a year and none of the owners ever claimed to be losing money.
    And they already had a hard cap, franchise tag and ever other ownership friendly clause in place. They just straight wanted more money, which is what they eventually got.
    NBA is trying to enact a total system change, which of course would take longer, particularly if your players have any guts.
    But, the NBA owners clearly saw what the NFL and NHL owners managed and they are willing to make it happen.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ever in the need of stupidity and ignorance, Bullsh*tter is your guy.

  • Brian

    Didn’t the owners lock out the players to get this last deal that is purportedly killing them? These are some shrewd businessmen.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
    (Mahatma Ghandi)

  • JEr dawg

    The superstar players have been really great for the league and once this lockout is over the onus, again, will be up to the employees to improve PR for their respective teams. I hope there is an occupy wall street-like protest against the owners. Some people need the money so they have to work. People can just stay at home and watch the games and limit the attendance inside the arenas. Those filthy owners are cashing in their TV money anyway. Smdh

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That’s the interesting thing. They only cash in on the TV money if they have a partial season. If they cancel the entire season, they lose all that money. I imagine Jerry Buss would be pissed by that.
    So, Hunter makes sense. It’s likely the NBA owners want the players to miss some checks so they are willing to take any deal that is offered.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Prediction:
    Players will blink.
    Soon.

  • http://slamonline.com Saviour

    JTaylor…it’s ‘couldn’t’ have said it better myself. Not ‘could’…if you could then it means you disagree you dumbass.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Yeah Saviour! You sure showed him!!! SMFH…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Yawn!

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Some players profess that they would play this game that they “love” for free.
    I guess it is not these players.
    Not saying that I WANT them to get a raw deal, or anything. But… contradiction permeates the basketball atmosphere, right now.
    At least, for a player currently involved, who may have once professed that he would play this game for free.

  • bike

    The players and owners have decided to favor playing a new dangerous game rather than playing the game that made them millionaires and billionaires. In a recessionary time when millions of Americans are being forced into making very tough fiscal choices, a rather small group of very wealthy individuals are wrestling over a 4 billion dollar pot of gold. What the players and owners should hope for is anger from fans because it shows passion for the nba. However, the fans might very well come to realize they couldn’t care less about a silly entertainment industry where both its owners and players have completely overestimated their value to anything.

  • T-Money

    players are more prepared for this than the media and owners had originally thought. the vets have been planning this for 2+ years. at this point, i wouldn’t be surprised if the whole season gets axed before they inevitably come back to the same ol’ 52-48 or 51-49 split. sigh.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Bike pitched a gem.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    bike FTW…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Philo, that’s a simplistic way of thinking. Nobody in their right mind would go to work for free and if they tell you different, it’s a damn lie. Most players do love the game and would play for free (exhibition games) but the NBA is different, it’s a job. The owners, league and networks make billions off their service, so why not get piece of the pie. This is not the NCAA where the players are treated like modern-day slaves, these guys are the best in the world at what they do, so they have every right to get paid for their services.

  • chingy

    The fans should strike back. Imagine when the games are back, every single arena on opening night are empty…that’ll be a scene!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    “It’s aaaaaall part of the plan.”

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    JT21:
    I understand. I do not expect them to play for free. The owners don’t, either. But, if a player laments about how much he loves the Game, then, why is it a problem that he is being asked to take a pay cut?
    I hang on nearly every word that some people say.
    So, for a player to say that he won’t play unless he gets “x” amount of dollars is contradictory.
    ESPECIALLY when he already has a contract, and goes on to say how he would play “for free”.
    He’ll play for free, (so he says) but will not play at -5% of his salary, or whatever?
    He’s lying.
    As you’ve pointed out.
    And, they still would be getting paid for their services. Just not at the rate that they have grown accustomed to.

  • NBA Fan

    It’s been 102 days guys, Hunter and Fisher apparently need better negotiation skills and a day with the WSJ to see exactly what’s going on with the economy —because of a lot of the problem of today is the economy and an old CBA deal that was done in better times. Maybe the agents are right and should be in there doing the deal because the team the NBAPA has assembled cannot get traction on any of the issues – and tends to spew nonsense. The players are acting like , well NBA players, certainly not like businessmen.

    Stern talked about a Gulf between them on issues, it is the Gulf of Currency………this is NOT a “labor war” this is a War of Denomination (the religion of $$$).

  • bernie

    Maybe players should start a new Association and earn money without nba.

    E.g. I would pay for these goodman and other leagues games for webcast views or whatever.
    Is there anything that avoids them from building a new association?

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    @bernie:
    Yes.
    There aren’t enough Derek Fishers among them…

  • Everynowhere

    the only guaranteed basketball we have is the olympics (and of course nba 2k)

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I just don’t understand how some of the large market teams can be happy with the system changes that are most definitely being driven by the small market teams. Simply put, if I’m an owner of a large market team, I’m siding with the players right now in regards to those system changes. If the small market owners get their way, teams will be blown up after winning chips on a regular basis.

  • Heals

    Wow, welcome to the party Billy, that’s what a “plan” is for. When in negotiations these “plans” are excellent at helping individuals maintain a particular stance (something else you should look into developing) and met their goals. Feel free to create one of these “plans” as words is you may be in need of one…

  • T-Money

    any comparison with a “normal” labor dispute is pointless – “normal” labor disputes are not between millionaires and billionaires. the pockets are deeper, the stakes are higher and it’ll take a while before someone has to settle for a bad deal. philo: stop being silly with your “playing for free” rant. also, the players are not opposed to a pay cut, they’re currently getting 57% of the bri and they’re offering 53%. they’ve proposed to reduce max contracts to 5 years. that’s far from status quo. nba fan: so the players are not acting like businessmen because… they rejected a terrible offer?

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    T-Money:
    You know it’s a valid point, though…

  • http://slamonline.com LA Huey

    NBA fan: Yeah, the economy isn’t as healthy as it once was but the entertainment industries have hardly suffered (NBA posted record revenues last year). You appear to be the one spewing nonsense and hardly seem to have an understanding of what the owners are demanding in relation to their claims.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Did anybody else yell “NO THEY’RE NOT!” at their tv when they fired up NBA 2k12 last night, and the first line of that Kurtis Blow song comes on in the intro?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Enigmatic, I was too busy doing the “pocket-knife”.

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    Give Us Us Free!

  • Chukaz

    The owners don’t care about losing games. They’re gonna get a higher percentage of BRI so they’ll make the money back. Players won’t. I think a 52-48 split sounds fair. If you’re the owners you got a 5% increase. League sales and ratings are at an all time high, the next national tv deal is gonna be a monster, and you get a 5% increase in your share of the pie? if they don’t like it, i say the players demand to have Stern removed from negotiations. How can you do business with a guy that has allowed his league to lose money for a decade like the owners claim?

  • http://@whogotjazz.twitter.com MIGZ

    WE ALL KNOW WHO TO BLAME FROM THIS! YOU HEARD IT FROM WADE ALREADY I JUST HOPE THEY COME TO AN AGREEMENT SOON BECAUSE ITS TRAGIC TO KNOW ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE LOOSING THEIR JOBS

  • JTaylor21

    Damn I Guess I Won’t Be Kissing The Television when Wade is At The Free Throw Line………………..

  • bull22

    while everyone is busy kissing each others behinds but the best points made on here today is NBAFAN with his state of economy comments, this person sounds like someone who works, whereas many of you neither are old enough to have jobs yet or are just plain stupid old school player behind kissing fans….

  • bull22

    if anyone deserves a raise, start with those cleaning their arenas, their security, the restaurant staff, etc. people who are trying to make ends meet
    and keep their families financially afloat. GET THE FREAK OUT with PLAYER SYMPATHY!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I said this months ago.
    Some people just don’t like athletes making money.
    They are ok with business people making money, but they figure athletes should just be happy for whatever they get.
    Peons learn well.

  • http://slamonline.com LA Huey

    Bull22 goes off blasting the players in his last two comments as if the players’ wages are subsidized by cuts to the blue collar staff. “Peons learn well.”

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    HA!
    LONG… LIVE… THE KING.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    $3.8 billion in BRI.
    $2.166 billion belongs to the players
    $1.6 belongs to the owners
    And that’s only the revenue that goes into the BRI, which isn’t all revenue.
    You’re telling me that 30 teams cannot figure out how to make a profit splitting up $1.6 billion dollars?
    Just think about that for a second. That means on average, every team has the ENTIRE SALARY CAP to spend on all non-player related expenses.
    LOL. Crazy man.

  • CubicleWorker

    Allenp you just don’t get it… It’s not $1.6B in profit, smh

  • Hart

    Thanks for the new slam! This is great!!!! (sarcasm)

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html Allenp

    It doesn’t have to be $1.6 billion in profits.
    The largest cost to any business is salaries.
    After paying salaries, NBA owners had a total of $2.14 billion to pay all related costs and make a profit.
    Now, you do the math.
    That is an average of about $65-$66 million to run your business.
    So, what we have here is a failure of NBA teams to run their businesses within that general budget.
    Correct?
    The owners are taking home nearly 50 percent of all revenues RIGHT NOW and can’t figure out how to run their businesses to make a profit.
    You just don’t get it.

  • Jerry

    The owners are scum.

  • andy

    where do people get these numbers from? i have never seen a spreadsheet released with the profit/loss statements.
    this was definitely coming as lebron ruined cleveland and carmelo hijacked denver. there are right n wrong ways to go about things n they both did it the wrong way.
    owners need to realize the players are the talent n players need to realize contracts actually mean something. n both need to realize this does not exist without fans.
    since us fans are getting jibbed we should all bet on the overs when the season starts. everyone will have forgotten how to defend!

  • http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm nbk

    andy just google NBA Salary Cap Faq. It’s edited by Larry Coon, cap expert. It has answers (& even LINKS) to every possible question you could have. That’s the first place most people who are interested, get the numbers. (Just click my name, it’s faster)

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html Allenp

    Just click my name too.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Neither LeBron or Melo failed to honor their contracts.
    Melo was traded because he was going to walk at the end of the year and Denver would get nothing.
    That’s it. He was not going to sign an extension, as was his right as a free agent. He didn’t demand a trade while under contract, he just let them know he wasn’t going to re-sign, and if they traded him, he wanted to go to New York.
    LeBron played out his contract, then went to another team.
    Neither of them “gamed” the system or broke any rules. Period.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    regarding your 6:04, thanks Allen. Another nifty tool to add to my, “kill the lockout ignorance” campaign that I have unleashed on everyone I know lol

  • http://slamonline.com LA Huey

    LeBron ruined Cleveland? Melo hijacked Denver? You do realize those teams shared the league’s worst record the season before they picked them in the draft, right?

  • dma

    you all realize that for a lot of these nba owners, the basketball part is just a hobby right? they’ve made their money in other ways. the only way to truly boycott the nba owners is to not buy their other products as well.

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html unf*ckwitable

    Keep up the good fight nbk.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I blame NBA players, they need to take a pay cut and play ball. The average NBA salary is 4 to 5 million dollars and these dudes are crying about guaranteed money, which some only career path is basketball, if not for basketball they do not make it in life. BOOK IT!!

  • andy

    allenp
    lebron n melo both played coy saying i do not know what im going to do..
    but true you do raise a good point. as an owner of either Cleveland or Denver though you would be pissed.
    Fast forward a year you have our lockout.

  • andy

    Also NBK thank you for the link. The player salaries are a lot more black and white when talking about money, as for the owners they can come up with any figures they want. If the owner owns the team and stadium (as a few of them do) there are lots of tax breaks they get.
    I am also pretty sure if they own the team and run at a loss they get a tax break on that too? I assume this is the reason why many people want to own an NBA Franchise.

    I have to agree that the current system is not perfect (its basically only 10 out of 30 teams that have won a title?) and hopefully they will come up with a better one in short time frame.

    PS. I think what everyone is mad about is the fact they arent sitting at a table every single second trying to get this deal done. All this ‘no meeting scheduled’ is bs. Where else do they have to be!

  • PeteRocks11

    People should boycott the NBA until they make all seats half the cost they are now, its crazy. They owners and players will never get rich off me, I stoped paying for tickets years ago. And I never buy any NBA gear.

  • Eddie1

    Y’all see dotted line? How are players overpaid when sexy ass Kelly Ripa makin over 20 mil to talk about sequins and fine dining?

  • sup3rstar

    lol @ Jason Heartly i know right :D

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    allen, like i said in the thread about the NBAers reacting to the cancellations, the revenues/income don’t mean anything at the end of the day.
    the problem is we don’t know what the expenses are.
    $2.14 billion in revenue is a good thing, but what if expenses are $2.15 billion, then you’re still losing money.
    the owners could be making $100 billion in revenue for all we care. if expenses are $99 billion…
    if you know a place that lists the raw financial data, or shows what the expenses are, then we can have a better idea of what’s going on.
    again, i’m not saying the owners or players are wrong, but it’s wrong to look at the revenue amount and immediately think that the owners are crazy.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    They are just not showing what they make off of all of their other income. Suites, naming rights, yada yada

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    just for kicks, let’s take your figures.
    $2.14 billion in revenues (after salaries) to split between 30 teams/owners to pay all remaining expenses.
    2.14 billion / 30 = $71.3 million left per owner to pay the remaining expenses
    considering that most teams have really nice practice facilities, fly in private jets, stay in nice hotels, have team chefs, and other random overhead throughout the season, $71.3 million suddenly doesn’t sound like that much.
    that’s just me assuming though. we simply don’t know where the money is going, or how much things costs the owners because everything is under careful watch. no raw data is available.
    so yea, if you ask me, then the expenses are spiraling out of control. it’s the only explanation possible if the league is losing money despite raking in record amounts of revenue.

  • Jared

    bring back the ABA

  • Blakos

    No coincidence that all the commenters making idiotic uninformed statements are the guys that get regularly owned on this site. I.E. Bull22, seed…..@andyr, dont forget we dont know how the owners deal with/dodge tax!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    David
    I don’t know how much it costs to run a franchise.
    Because the NBA has declined to release that information on a team by team basis publicly.
    I think there is a reason for that choice.

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