Everyone is not on the same page in the NBA labor negotiations. The owners are not a unified front and neither are the players.
I have heard from players willing right now to take a 50/50 split of basketball related income (BRI) — the league’s revenues — and get on with a season right now. How many players feel that way? There’s no way to know, but other media members have heard the same thing. There are also plenty of players — and virtually every NBA agent — who don’t want the union to go below 52 percent.
Is Derek Fisher among the group good with a 50/50 split? That’s what Jason Whitlock reported at FoxSports.com.
The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher has been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push, a source familiar with the negotiations told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon…..
According to my source, at least one five-time champion, NBA superstar with the initials K.B. was on board with Fisher’s push for a 50-50 split. Hunter is firm that the players should not accept less than 52-48. According to my source, Hunter and a member of the executive committee convinced Fisher to stand firm at 52-48 after they questioned the Lakers point guard about his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
No doubt Whitlock has a source that told him this. Is it true? Who knows. That source has an agenda — he doesn’t want the players to go below 52 percent. Said source clearly fears things are going that direction, so the source leaks this stuff about Fisher hoping that it adds to the pressure on Fisher not to “cave.”
Reading between the lines of Fisher and Billy Hunter’s words, it sounds like Fisher told David Stern and the owners that if they really gave in on system issues — leaving the system of contract lengths and exceptions close to what existed in the old deal — then they could talk about a bigger share of BRI for the owners. But the hardline owners want both a system that reins in big teams and gives them a majority of BRI (even 50/50 is not an even split because the owners get expenses off the top).
Really, the two sides are very, very close to a deal. A deal that neither side is going to like, which is the nature of compromise. But as long as the hardliners like the Fox Sports source drive the bus we are not going to have a deal. We are not going to have NBA basketball.