Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 9:15 am  |  13 responses

Billy Hunter: Owners Not Negotiating in Good Faith

Now that games have been cancelled — and the threat of more games getting axed looming above everything — the NBA and the union are taking direct shots at one another through the media. According to union director Billy Hunter, the League’s owners are holding up an otherwise workable deal for both sides. From Yahoo! Sports: “Q: Do you think both sides can come to an agreement by Tuesday or is it wishful thinking? Hunter: ‘It’s not an issue of time. It’s an issue of will. If you are in a room and you want to make a deal and there are three major issues that are holding you up, if you can come to a compromise on those three areas than you have a makings of a deal. It’s not a nature of time. We can go in and do a deal if they want to go in and do a deal. We can do a deal in an hour, two hours if we can agree to the major terms. And after that you got to work on everything else. Everything else will fall in place.’ 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. We’ve been negotiating for almost three years, and here we are at the 12th hour when all of the sudden they make a slight move. But then on top of that, they then decide that they want a hard cap. So then when you get close to the economics of the number, then they get close to the system. And they know that the system is very important. If we give on the economics, we are not going to give on the system. And so all of the sudden you reach a possible agreement on the economics and now the system becomes a problem. So it’s like a moving target. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because the whole intent and purpose and whole strategy has been to break the resolve of the players. [Washington Wizards owner] Ted Leonsis – go look at some of his quotes. Leonsis said that David Stern promised them they were going to get a system like the NHL, and the only way they can get that system is to break the players. That’s what they’ve done. There is nothing complex about what is going on. It is as clear as the nose on my face. I keep calling them out on that, but people don’t write about that.’”

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  • bull22

    iam wondering what world billy hunter and derek fisher live in, all his yapping is not getting a deal done! at least david stern wants a deal and the union continues to whine like little girls…. SHADUP HUNTER and make a deal…

  • http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/10/13/2011-10-13_excop_we_fabricated_drug_raps_for_quotas.html Allenp

    People don’t see because they don’t want to see. The NFL is the model. Baseball is the worst case. I’ve been saying it for months.

  • LA Huey

    This is so frustrating. Maybe AP and some of these more well-read cats can enlighten me but isn’t it in the owners favor that there is even a CBA? I mean, in a hypothetical, free market NBA:
    They certainly would be paying the mid-level cats closer to $1-2/yr but wouldn’t the superstars still be breaking the bank and make up the difference in, and some cases exceeding, the cap?
    Wouldn’t the majority of rotation players still negotiate some sort of pension and healthcare plan?
    And without the draft, don’t the small markets get effed for sure? The only superstar from a small market is LeBron and he seemed to identify more with Akron than Cleveland.
    Wouldn’t the best players gravitate more towards the bright lights and their hometowns? We’d still see players gravitate towards LA, NY, Chicago, DC, Dallas, and ATL, right? So we’d still see the lack of parity that many still fret about.
    I understand what the owners are trying to do and where the players are coming from. Just seems that both sides (small market owners and union rank-and-file) should consider how much worse a free market NBA would be for them and strike a fair deal.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    It is as clear as the nose on my face…

  • http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/10/13/2011-10-13_excop_we_fabricated_drug_raps_for_quotas.html Allenp

    We have maximum salaries and a salary scale because before 1999 Kevin Garnett signed a $125 million contract, and every owner in the League got shook.
    Before that, they were shook when Juwan Howard and Larry Johnson were signing massive deals before they even played their first games.
    The NBA is not a free market, and has NEVER been a free market. Before Oscar Robertson sued to eliminate the reserve clause, it was indentured servitude with healthy paychecks.
    A free market League might depress salaries, but it wouldn’t help parity at all. When salaries are limited, players use other things to make their choices. Like location and chances of winning. And you would still have teams desperate to sign anyone overpaying for middling players.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Check this out from an article in 1999 on Kevin Garnett:
    I said, early on in the lockout, that this was the contract that changed the landscape,” NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik says. “This was the one where owners said something had to be done. The magnitude of Garnett’s contract indicated the whole thing was out of control.”

    “I think most owners looked at the contract and said, ‘This is where it’s going,’ ” Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh says. “There was no leverage on the side of the team. None.”

    “You had a new, inexperienced owner overpaying to keep a star,” another owner says. “That’s how most owners saw it. At the same time, though, they looked at their own situations. What was going to happen when the next class of rookies came up for extensions, Allen Iverson in Philadelphia, Antoine Walker in Boston?” The owners took advantage of an option to reopen the agreement after three years, and they shut down operations until a new contract was reached. Under the new one, there is a cap on salaries for all players. If Garnett were to sign now, the maximum he would receive would be $71 million over six years. He made roughly $60 million more by signing when he did. No, he made more than that. Much more.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    It’s funny how the media ignores Billy Hunter but anything Stern says is deemed credible and on the front page the next day.

  • Jim


    I hope you aren’t implying the race card.

  • Jeremy

    @bull22 is a little punk ass racist

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    I heard the owners refused to resume negotiations unless Billy Hunter gets a haircut.

  • TruthHurts

    Jeremy stfu.

  • Jeremy

    @truthhurts How about you say that in person yo suburban kids think ya’ll slick

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

    Jeremy. Shut Up.