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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  58 responses

Derek Fisher Fires Back at Agents in Letter to NBA Players


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

With NBA labor negotiations reaching a do-or-die stage, things are getting tense between all of the parties.

Agents are pushing their clients not to give in to the owners’ demands, David Stern and the men he represents don’t appear ready to back down at all, and Derek Fisher has penned yet another letter.

After the agents wrote to the players, laying out what’s at stake here (and pushing yet again for union decertification), players’ association president Derek Fisher once again addressed his colleagues via letter (his third since the lockout began.)

Fisher fired back at the agents, accusing them of misinforming their clients. The AP has a copy of the missive:

I write to you from New York where we have had the most recent negotiating sessions, the latest one today. I wanted to keep everyone in the loop on the events of the past few days and since my last update. Before I update you though, I must comment on a letter that has been brought to my attention and drafted by a handful of agents representing you. The letter which I personally read this morning is to their players and had planned to release this afternoon/evening. Your agents represent you, there’s a loyalty there and I can appreciate that. I’ll never question it, the work they do for you, or the decisions you and they make together. The letter however includes misinformation and unsupported theories.

As you would imagine, the agents are not aware of my seeing this ahead of its release. As a player myself, I know that each player should read everything we can. My emails, media reports, letters from their representation, to form an opinion on the situation. Educate yourself, ask questions, do it all. But not all of what you read is fact, you know this, I know this. One issue I need to again be very clear on…nothing can be accepted without a vote by the players. If and when there is a proposal that we feel is in the best interests of us as players, each of you WILL have the opportunity to vote in person. It’s in the union bylaws, it’s not up for negotiation. You will have the opportunity to see the full proposal before you agree, you will be able to challenge it, question it, anything you feel appropriate in order to know that this is the best deal for you and your fellow players.

Today’s negotiation session should be full of fireworks. Get your popcorn ready.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    The agents’ letter does not mention decertification, according to what I read. But like Derek says, be cautious of what you read. I do agree with the agents that the players should not accept anything less than a 51/49 split in BRI. It is their talent and abilities that bring in the majority of the basketball related revenue, including merchandise and TV deals. As much as I love basketball and miss watching games, I hope the players hold out for what is fair even if it means the cancellation of the season.

  • http://aol.com The Iron Lung

    Got Damn Baron, Put a Suit on… (freeway voice)

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

    I HAVENT SEEN HIM YET, BUT IM ALREADY SICK OF DICK VITALE. I PREFER JVG AND HUBIE.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Cheryl
    The agents seemed to be saying that accepting 52 percent was a no-go, if I read that letter right, which I think is silly. While a 52 percent BRI split is a “loss” for the players, it’s a loss they are going to have to take since they hold almost zero power in this negotiation. Yes, they are the talent, but they just don’t have any leverage since the owners have “long money”.
    The agents appear to telling the union to take a hardline stance, and that can only work with the implied threat of decertification.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Yeah agents might cost us a season with their greed, way to go Fisher.

  • Clos1881

    @cheryl cosign I agree 100% I would love for the season to start on time but this league is nothing without the players that’s what separates college and pro to me is individual greatness. I do think guaranteed contracts should be allowed to be voided after 80% of the contract I call it the Gilbert arenas Rashard Lewis rule.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    There are certain segments of society who seem hellbent on disbanding unions and collective bargaining of any kind and a lot of these agents seem to be card carrying members of that particular group.
    Like Allen said — and what has been known all along — the players have virtually no leverage in this. None.
    Yes fans play to see them play, but it is the owners who give them that stage/platform to do so.
    These seemingly never-ending pro pickup games that pop up every week (and seem to give people the insane thought that players can actually start their own league) are cool, but 1. It doesn’t generate the same kind of excitement, 2. It doesn’t generate any meaningful revenue for the participants, 3. It’s more or less bad basketball being played at the highest level.
    Who *really* wants to see that? I’m already tired of it.
    Players shouldn’t allow themselves to get taken advantage of in these negotiations, even with little to no leverage. But these agents have less leverage than the players do and their interest is solely their own.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Bryan, you make a good point about the weakening of unions generally. We are living in a period where those that own and control capital could give a rat’s a$$ about negotiating with “unions”. And that is in fact, the underlying issue here. Ric Bucher makes a good point about the narrative of the last two years being that the league is “hemorrhaging” money, has been taken as fact. But in actuality, no one associated with the players’ union has all the data related to BRI and how can you negotiate in good faith a fair and equitable split of BRI when you don’t know the extent of basketball related income. Again, I REALLY hope the players hold out for a fair deal only after they have all the information available to make that deal.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well I posted a breakdown a while back of what’s included in BRI, and if you take a look at it, it shows that that there are several lucractive funding sources, like sponsorships, which do not get factored into BRI at all, and other revenue streams that only get factored in partially.
    So Cheryl, you are right. The owners aren’t giving a true picture of the money situation.

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    It’s unfortunate that the players have no leverage, because the reality I they should hold it all. Without the players the owners get no BRI at all. The best players in the world can play anywhere and true fans will pony up the money to watch them. The owners need them, more than the players need the owners in the basketball league sense.

  • Joe

    If there is no basketball this year, does that mean that the 2012 free agents: Chris Paul, D. Williams, D. Howard would be available to all teams with no compensation necessary in addition to this year’s crop of free agents: Chandler, etc.? If so, the big city teams should push hard against the players so that there will be no 2011-12 season then they can sign whoemever they want (pending salary cap limitations) and not have to give up any of their present players.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I disagree with that, Bryan. The players absolutely need the owners in the basketball league sense because really, what’s the alternative? More pickup games at small college venues? Overseas? How many games have you watched Deron Williams play since he’s been in Turkey? Are you willing to pony up cash to travel halfway across the world to watch your favorite player(s)? Who is?
    Yeah, it sucks because we know who drives revenue but the fact still remains that the players have no leverage. The best they can do is ensure that they don’t get screwed but when you’re dealing with a group of billionaires whose professional ownership is more hobby than money making venture and you have a group of players whose only source of income is derived from playing in the NBA, you’re at the mercy of the people who signs the front of the checks.

  • eleanor jordan

    Does anybody remember what a lock out did for baseball? You had better remember this before you decide you are going to compromise with the owners. Baseball has yet to recover from that loss of a season as fans walked away and never came back. This kind of loss will hurt eeryone….repeat, everyone. Somebody has to think about the entire business of professional ball and consider what this can do to many of us. This agreement, if it can happen, is for the preservation of the sport, not just salaries which already are way out of line with other professional sports. Be realistic.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    All the players are doing by playing elsewhere is showing the owners they are willing to play for less money. No league can pay what the NBA can.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    BDiddy kinda looks like Kanye.

  • LP

    they can’t wear suits, thats the first step to conducting business..Baron Davis has a lumberjack shirt on in the picture…

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Wrong, playing elsewhere overseas is just a means for some players to survive/make ends meet during the lockout, in order to get what they deserve long-term in the next CBA. Owners don’t want to have to give back the TV money plus interest in the event the entire season is canceled. Bottom line, I hope the players hold out if the owners keep on trying to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. Go players! Stand firmly together and make the owners divide.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    One problem with that. The owners aren’t missing meals if the season doesn’t happen. Actually if it’s between keeping the system in place and losing the NBA all together the vast majority of the league’s owners would profit. Only Jerry Buss owns a team as his main source of income. Every other owner is in it as like a hobby.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    The other problem with NBA guys going overseas? Everybody can’t go.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah and all those other American professionals are losing their jobs. I know 3 people that can’t find work, or took a worse job then the last season, and they all blame it on the lockout.

  • MikeC.

    The owners don’t have to give back the TV money if the season is canceled. They have income during the lockout from naming rights, TV broadcast rights, etc. If they own the arena their team plays in (Ex. Jimmy Cablevision owning MSG), they’re going to have income from other events like concerts, hockey, college sports, circus, etc, etc, etc. Only the superstar players with big-money endorsements will have money coming in during the lockout. The owners can outlast the players for years, while most players can likely last a few months. Some will be broke by December. The owners have all the power in this scenario. Only teams like the Mavs, Lakers, Celtics that have aging cores and want to make another go at it with their current team have any real sense of urgency to get the season going on time. That’s thinking from a basketball perspective, but they’re thinking long-dollar business first in order to protect the long-term health of the league. When they get to the point of canceling regular season games, hopefully they go to an arbitrator who will work out something that’s fair and bind both sides to that agreement.

  • seriousblack

    Other players not making overseas teams due to NBA players taking spots is neither here nor there. That’s part of life. Ideally, the most qualified candidates in any field of employment get the jobs first. Why should basketball be any different? How is that a problem?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Sidenote: when the heck they gonna post the next player in the top 50?
    Side-sidenote – who copped that 2k12? Got mine last night. I’m a geek like that.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Well its just greed taking jobs away from people who need it. Those guys over in Europe aren’t paid any kind of exorbitant amount of money. They actually need their paychecks to pay for their lives. I’m not saying I feel bad for them, they do get to play a sport for a living. I’m saying going overseas to play is not improving anyone’s chances of ending the lockout faster, and it affects more then just NBA players.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Matic they just posted John Wall.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @seriousblack: Try thinking about this from a more “personal perspective”: If you were the best at what you did professionally and then your chief competitor/rival went belly up for some reason and your current employer then went about recruiting and hiring the best folks from the competition, effectively forcing you out and leaving you jobless, you think you’d feel the same way you do now?
    Highly unlikely.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Thanks, Soop.
    In case y’all can’t tell I hate talking about the lockout.
    One, it makes me feel hopeless and two, it makes me feel really stupid.
    Y’all have at it. Peace.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think the overseas players are justified for feeling shafted.
    I don’t think the NBA players are doing anything wrong.
    I mean, if I lost my job, I”m going to go look for another one. I may be willing to take another job that pays less than my current job because I need the work. That means that another person, who would normally have gotten the job I accepted, will be out of work. And it rolls down the food chain.
    That is the basis of capitalism. It’s why people who love capitalism also like to build things into capitalism to protect themselves from it’s full consequences.
    If your supply is in demand, you’re golden. If it’s not, you’re out of luck.

  • seriousblack

    Bryan Crawford: That happens every day to people who don’t have the option to play a sport for a living. Every company hires the best talent that they possibly can. What makes basketball so special that it’s so sad when the better candidate gets the job? If a non-NBA level talent had no other back up plan, lockout or no lockout, what does that have to do with the Player’s Association?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    haha matic it’s pretty clear you hate all this lock-out talk. — And thanks BC & AP, y’all journalist know how to say what needs to be said.

  • seriousblack

    Also, while I firmly believe that EVERY employee has the right to be treated and compensated fairly, the job itself isn’t a right. The overseas players aren’t entitled to a spot on those teams. No one is.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    serious, Nobody said it does have anything to do with the players association. It is just another negative aspect of the lockout

  • bike

    I don’t think the players holding out for a ‘fair’ deal is going to get them a fair deal. If the season is partially or entirely canceled, it seems that both side’s positions will have to harden because of the lost revenue. Then, the entire dispute could turn into a very ugly game of chicken. The players will eventually cave at which time the owner’s offer could be considerably worse than it is now. Hunter and the players really need to ask themselves if letting the season go is going to benefit them in the long run. If I was a rookie or a mid to low level salary player, I would be getting very, very worried right now.

  • seriousblack

    @ NBK: 1) How can anyone “need” to play basketball for a living? If you aren’t NBA talent and you don’t have a back up plan then you are a fool for choosing a career that will likely end at age 35. As you said, these guys are probably only making six figures. 2) How is it greedy taking a job when you lose your own? If that’s the case then anyone who has taken a job from someone less qualified is also greedy. Are NBA players supposed to just not look for basketball jobs because other guys want them? That’s silly and unrealistic.

  • seriousblack

    It’s not negative. It’s normal. Bottom line, the better talent usually gets the job. Basketball is no exception.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They aren’t making six figures lol. Only the cream of the crop out there are making that kind of money. But the NBA players / other NBA hopefuls are taking those jobs, then those guys are taking a job a rung down, and so on until the guys that are just living out their dreams are pushed completely aside. ——— And I didn’t say taking jobs in Europe is greedy, I said this whole lockout is greedy. And I wasn’t talking about the players.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    people need income not basketball. And a “backup plan?” Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a job right now? Let alone a career? How the f*ck do you really expect people to have a job on lay-away? Plus how can you blame someone for chasing their dreams? I hope you have a kid who aspires to be a professional athlete someday so you can say, don’t pursue that until you have a backup plan. smh

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Another issue that doesn’t get “airtime” is a lost season is a year off of the basketball life of these athletes. As someone here mentioned, their is a limit to a players’ earning potential. He has x number of years to earn enough to carry he and his family for another 40 or 50 years. Think about that. Owners pass down their teams to their heirs. (Jimmy Buss/Nicky Arison) The cash flow doesn’t stop for owners. Players get a very limited number of years of earnings while taking care of immediate families, extended families, and when they’re dumb, friends and other hangers-on. So, my point is no, they can’t afford to lose a season, but they also can’t afford to sell their value to the game short.

  • http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2011-09-29/canceled-season-nba-david-stern-lockout-consequences IAMORANGE4EVER

    @MikeC: IF the ENTIRE SEASON is CANCELED, the OWNERS WILL HAVE TO RETURN THE TELEVISION MONEY PLUS INTEREST. Click my name and read up.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    NBA only keeps its revenue from ABC/ESPN and TNT — some $930 million — so long as games are actually played in 2011-12. If the entire season is missed, the league would have to pay back that revenue to the networks plus interest.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    The NBA players union will likely decertify if the owners keep playing hardball. Let’s see how the “bully” likes those apples.

  • seriousblack

    Yes NBK, a backup plan. Starting with an education. I stand by my statement that it’s stupid to pursue a career that barely pays six figures without something to fall back on when it’s likely that career will end before you’re forty. I’m not admonishing anyone chasing their dreams, but let’s be realistic here. Losing your job playing overseas is a very possible risk regardless of whether or not there is a lockout in the NBA. If my kid is wants to hitch his wagon to a short lived career for very little money than that’s his problem. A lockout can happen during an economic boom or bust so your point is moot. As far as the greed issue goes, your direct quote was “taking jobs away from people who need them is greedy.” Well if you weren’t talking about NBA players I’m assuming you were talking about European club owners. Paying the more talented employees more money than less talented employees to make the company more money isn’t necessarily greedy. It’s good business. This isn’t a fantasy world.

  • bike

    Some players can afford to lose a season, some players cannot. The corner the players are in is whether taking a stand and forcing a canceled season will eventually get them the deal they seek or will it result in them eventually accepting a worse deal. The only thing the players have going for them should they take that severe a stand is that the owners become divided. However, there is also the risk the owners could become very united if the season gets canceled and resolve to reclaim lost revenues at the expense of the players. So players, think this thing through.

  • http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/4/2468098/nba-lockout-2011-owners-david-stern-robert-sarver-the-hook Allenp

    Click on my name for a link to some guy going off about the owners. He is really angry at the situation and does raise some interesting points about how this issue has been framed.

  • http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/4/2468098/nba-lockout-2011-owners-david-stern-robert-sarver-the-hook Allenp

    Also, nobody has really explained what these other outside costs are that are making the league unprofitable.
    League wide revenue has increased by 4 percent annually for years.
    So total revenue is up, and the largest cost, salaries, is capped.
    So, it’s all ancillary costs like coaching salaries, executive salaries, loan repayments and other stuff nobody has discussed. Honestly, we have NO IDEA what the true costs are to running an NBA team and how individually teams spent their money because the NBA has refused to release that information.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I wish this lockout woukd hurry up and end so I can see Chris Bosh bring home the MVP award

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I didn’t say its greedy because they are taking jobs from people who need it. I said greed is taking jobs from people who need it. Meaning greed is causing Owners to lockout players, making players take jobs in other markets, making people in other markets lose their jobs. Greed in the NBA is taking jobs away from people who need them. Because the OWNERS are greedy. I don’t care that a player goes and finds work, I would prolly do the same thing.

  • seriousblack

    Speaking of coaches salaries, am I the only one who thinks a lot of them are overpaid? Don’t get me wrong, I can never be mad at anyone for taking the money but cats like Mike Brown make a little more than their services are worth.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I just don’t understand guaranteed contracts for coaches. That blows my mind. i don’t remember which team, but there is a team that will pay “fired coaches” more money next season then their actual coach.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Probably the Pistons.

  • ab40

    In other news.. Deron Williams his Turkish club Besiktas got kicked out of the qualifications for the eurocup (the second division after euroleague) by losing the return game in Bergen (Belgium) by 11 points after winning at home with 9 points. Deron Williams whom some believe is one of the best point guards in the world had only 7 points.

  • http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/4/2468098/nba-lockout-2011-owners-david-stern-robert-sarver-the-hook Allenp

    If you don’t believe Deron Williams is one of the best point guards in the world, then you don’t know basketball.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Cosign ^ – And you definitely don’t know about the differences from the NBA to Europe if you type anything resembling ab40′s comment.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I would love to see that game with D-Will. I mean did he have 20 assists? Or only play 10 mins? Or, they just didn’t pass to him when he was out there? Or what haha. Sounds like a fluke. Derron Williams is for sure a top 3 PG in the World.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I see that parents are still allowing their kids to use the computer unsupervised. Keep on faking the funk, punk!
    That was a pretty good article, AllenP. I had no idea that player salaries were directly tied to the League’s revenue. So how in the hell can player’s salaries be the problem when the owners claim they are losing money?
    The owners are lying out their a** and it’s nothing but greedy billionaires looking to make even more money.

  • T-Money

    am i the only one that is shocked by dfish’s poor writing skills? he seems to be fairly articulate…

  • BBaller

    JT21 is a regular poster on this site, sometimes good, sometimes moronic. Would the person who is using his name please stop! You are undermining the credibility of this website as everyone is entitled to free speech and impersonating another true poster is not cool.period!

  • BBaller

    That is reference to the 4:15pm comment, please just stop it.

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