Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  49 responses

Players Union Readying for a Lockout

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Billy Hunter, the man in charge of representing NBA players in a battle against team owners that they have virtually no chance of winning, is no longer mincing words.

When it comes to the possibility of another lockout, it’s not a matter of “if” but of “when” and “how long”.

To listen to Hunter tell it, you’d better get your fill of NBA action next season, because after that, there likely won’t be much basketball to watch.

From ESPN:

In response to NBA commissioner David Stern’s assertion that the league lost $370 million last season, the head of the players’ union claimed Wednesday that Stern’s numbers are as much as $370 million off base. Union director Billy Hunter made that statement in a telephone interview with ESPN.com, saying the commissioner’s assertion of the severity of the owners’ financial woes “just doesn’t hold water.”

The sides have started negotiations toward a new one but remain far apart, creating fears of the first work stoppage since 1998-99. “I’m preparing for a lockout right now and I haven’t seen anything to change that notion. Hopefully I’ll see something over the next several months,” Hunter said. “As of this moment, it’s full speed ahead for me in preparing the players for a worst-case scenario.”

Hunter, who also spoke Wednesday to several other news organizations, said the players do not believe the owners’ claim that they lost a combined $370 million last season — a statement Stern reiterated in public comments Monday following an owners’ meeting in Las Vegas.

This is just depressing. What it isn’t, though, is surprising.

Naturally, Billy Hunter concluded his comments to the press by predicting that things will work out, and that “cooler heads will prevail.” It’s a claim no one truly believes, and that includes Billy Hunter.

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  • http://www.yamahyouth.com Gerwin

    Please, no ’99 again. Just play!

  • Megalo

    F**k it, as long as the 2011 playoffs are still on

    The king needs a ring

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Millionaires vs billionaires! Its a classic battle where the average fan gets angry and screwed over. 1999 was bad enough, another lockout would be even worse. Hockey never recovered from its last strike. Now hockey isnt even on TV. Has Stern hedged the numbers? I dont know the answer, what I do know is that he is a shifty character. Are the players getting greedy? Absolutely. For everyone’s sake I hope this is resolved before everyones tempers start to flare.

  • lexluther5

    Can someone explain to me how the NBA can lose 370 mill? Just curious..

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    When you look at some of the contracts that have been and are being handed out, you have to understand why Billy Hunter isn’t buying that claim.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Such bullsh*t. Stern needs to get the owners in line and make the games more affordable for the average fan to spike attendance numbers leaguewide, not just in the big markets and not just in the playoffs. Billy Hunter needs to stop placating the players every whim. They all cry broke while they are pulling down huge amounts of cash in BOTH camps. All that being said, if they play another strike-shortened season, who’s the crappy team that can make inroads to an improbable Finals appearance like the Knicks did?

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    no, please just no. c’mon america pick it up..

  • Bruno

    mmm maybe the heat eboy hahaha

  • Saku 39

    I can’t pick a side overall, but in regards to revenue sharing I’ll side with the Union. The divide between the haves and have-nots is large and some teams will always be at a disadvantage due to the size of their market, state tax structure, etc.

  • Saku 39

    Oh, and for a lockout shortened season I think they should do a tournament, NCAA style. All 30 teams, single-elimination, Lakers and Celtics get first round byes. I can’t wait for the Grizzlies to make a cinderella run to the Final Four!


    Ignore the rhetoric from both sides, a work stoppage won’t happen, because both sides deep down know how vital it is to avoid a strike. It’ll most likely be the middle and lower tier players along with the rookies who are impacted the most by an eventual new CBA, not the top players.

  • The D Train

    ah, good ol’ labor-induced saber-rattling

  • Clownfish31

    Why is ESPN all of a sudden such a big NBA news source? I mean, it’s almost taken over Twitter as the #1 credible source for NBA news.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Clownfish31 I wouldn’t use Twitter as a barometer, but ESPN.com’s a monster hub for reporting.

  • bambe

    winter of 98 99 was a nightmare for those who remember it

  • Robb

    @IAMORANGE4EVER I hope you’re right man.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    I hate to think that there will be a lock-out. When the wealthy (ownders) and the rich (players) battle the people most impacted are the middile class small business owners that drive huge percentages of their profits during the season. Some bars, resturaunts and other shops near arenas make up to 35% annual income just during the home games. Not to mention the other vendors in and out of the arenas who largely depend on the crowds and games to make a living. The economy is bad enough and this really hurts everybody. I don’t know who’s side I’m on, the owners take the risk by guranteed contracts if they make money or not, if the player lives up to expectations or not. The players are the talent that people are coming to see and deserve a fair share (not sure what that ‘really’ means). The complications are real and I don’t blame either side for bolstering thier position, I just hope they consider the fans and the other people who rely upon the NBA for thier livelyhoods.

  • http://www.pablasso.com pablasso

    “NBA Lockouts: Ruining players career stats since 1999″

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Players are getting paid to much money. When Darko can get a 4 year contract for 20 million on a bad team, when he did nothing. This says it all. Owners are messing their own money, up. Owners need to meet like the B Team in Miami and set their own cap on players. BOOK IT!!

  • Clownfish31

    @Ryne Nelson

    I agree that ESPN is big, but why is this ESPN / NBA tandem suddenly in our faces so much all of a sudden? I never got the impression ESPN was quoted everywhere. But all of a sudden, pretty much every NBA article I’m reading cites ESPN.

    Just an observation …

  • LA Huey

    Open the books. Since I can find out how much each player makes, why won’t the owners show me how they’re reaching this $370 million figure?

  • JTaylor21

    The owners and stern are such liars. They are like the broad who goes shopping daily, blowing money left and right on useless overpriced crap and then cries about how she’s in debt and has no money. Bi**h stop shopping. They pass out major money to guys like darko, kwame, and joe johnson. then turnaround and cry about how they are losing money. I have no problem with what the top players making,deserve every penny and more, but you cant keep playing bums like CEOs. Baseball pays players more than the NBA but I hear nobody complaining about that. Seems like experts and so-called fans are always complaining about overpaid players. NBA has to have the most annoying fans always bit**ing about one thing or another.

  • http://Slamonline.com Troy

    Were screwd

  • JTaylor21

    No other major sports fans pout about how bad their sport is. Fans always cry about how boring the 00s are comparied to the 80s and early 90s. If you don’t like this generations players, create yourself a time machine and take ur whining a** back to the past and slob on magic, mj, and larry’s balls. Let all of those who enjoy this generations players before they are gone.

  • Overtime

    Co-sign Saku, I wouldnt actually want that to replace the playoffs, but that would be pretty interesting to watch. Get them to do it over one week in the summer or something

  • ConeyIslander

    You know what would fix this up real fast…A FAN LOCK OUT!

  • http://Slamonline.com Troy

    A fan lockout? That would maybe work

  • andre anglais

    Bring on the lock out- that means a short season (its way too log), the chance for a cinderella run like the Knicks made in 1999, plus you get weekends where the ball starts at 10 and goes all day long.

  • KJ

    this is karma striking Stern for destroying Iverson’s career

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    just kick them out and create a new league with the players.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    Not that I believe Stern isn’t warping the numbers, but can Billy Hunter EXPLAIN why he thinks the numbers are fixed instead of just claiming they are very loudly and continuously?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevinwilson16 Kevin Wilson

    Kinda interesting total, considering Miami just paid its new starting lineup $372.2 million in guaranteed contracts.

  • DennardC


  • http://www.hufsf.com Waylonakolipse

    A lockout is the only thing that could keep Miami from winning the title.

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoshElam JE

    Every time Phil Jackson wins 6 championships, the players go on strike. What gives?

  • Scottie Pimpin

    rich people fighting over money….yawwwwn.

  • Klemperer

    Kill all unions.

  • Danny

    Here’s an idea to save teams money — non-guaranteed contracts for GMs! Your team loses money, the GM, Pres. etc. should take major paycuts. Lets see how money bad contracts they hand out after that.

  • Danny

    “how many bad contracts” — sorry

  • k

    Weird, question, supposing the ENTIRE 2011-12 season is locked out, what would happen with the draft? Is there a protocol in place? Would it be like the NHL, where they keep the standings as they are but go from the top of the league to the bottom and give everyone a chance?

  • Sean

    Some ideas:

    - Bring down minimum roster size to 12 players.

    - Do not bring in a hard salary cap but set the cap on max contracts lower.

    - Reduce the size of the draft to one round.

    - After the first round players who missed out can sign minimum contracts with teams or join the D-League. This would mean teams who actually do their work and scout players get better.

    - Integrate the D-League more closely with the NBA. Allow each NBA team to have a D-League team who plays in or close to their arena (smaller market teams would not be forced to do this). Get rid of the age restriction in the D League and hope that this, along with an influx of undrafted talent helps the D-League sell some tickets. This would of course be dependent on the D-League team`s finances being tied to their corresponding NBA team`s (I don`t know what the situation is on this now). Also it might be an idea to keep the number of D-League games to a relatively small number (maybe 40 or so a year) and to emphasize player development and training.

    I think overall these steps would drive profits and increase the quality of basketball in the NBA.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Okay. I like the idea of a fan lockout. PEOPLE POWER, people. At the end of the day, this sport is only profitable because fans like you and I all over the world will pay money to be associated with the sport on some level, clothing, attendance shoes etc…. lets take control back of OUR sporting interests. We are the shareholder/stakeholder!!!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Owners making it rain then crying for a bailout.
    Ret@rd bobdybuilder Lewis – $116M
    Larry effin Huges – $70M (proving the age-old notion that money doesn’t automatically upgrade you to a legit 2nd option)
    Diop – $32M
    Dalembert – $64M
    Ben Gordon – $55M
    Turkey Glue – $53M
    Erica Damier – $73M
    Adonal Foyle – $42M
    Not to even mention the recent Joe Johnson, Amare, Amir Johnson, Darko, and Kleiza contracts.

  • http://www.threadsandkicks.com.au Eduardo

    Who would have thought that the NBA is losing money? With all the Social Media networks and YouTube videos coming out. Basketball is growing in Popularity because people can be exposed to it now. There was a 10 year period from 98-2008 basketball wasn’t shown here in Australia unless you had Cable TV. I had to watch NBA video’s on YouTube which are being upload by the thousands these days.

  • http://www.clownpenis.com Tarzan Cooper

    Jukai, he gives great reasons, you have to actually read the articles. Attendance was second all time high, season tix are all time high, etc. Owners are still make large profits, maybe not as much as before, maybe more. Warriors just sold for a record price, maybe new owner will complain monta makes too much

  • Beni

    How do these greedy mofos sleep at night ?

  • hoodsnake

    David Stern saying the are losing money but everytime he opens his mouth he has a stupid expansion idea? Gtfoh

  • hoodsnake

    David Stern saying they are losing money but everytime he opens his mouth he has a stupid expansion idea? Gtfoh

  • pennydunk_1

    Bring da rawkus