Tag: NBA union

Los Angeles Lakers Fisher speaks at a news conference alongside Executive Director of the NBA player's association Hunter in New York

Hunter trying to force vote to oust Fisher as union president


This is becoming a mess. Potentially a very public mess.

We told you earlier today that NBA players’ union president Derek Fisher had ordered an outside audit of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) books and business practices. Union Executive Director Billy Hunter got the union’s executive committee to kill that audit. Then the committee requested Fisher resign as president, something he refused to do.

Now Hunter is trying to get the team reps to vote Fisher out as president, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter is pushing to organize a vote of team player representatives on Friday to oust union president Derek Fisher, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The union constitution isn’t readily available to the public, so it is unclear how many of the potential 30 team representatives would be needed to vote Fisher out of office. One player representative told Yahoo! Sports he wasn’t sure the reps could do anything but offer a “no confidence” vote.

Fisher told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated he isn’t going anywhere.

“I do and have always taken my job as president of the players’ association very, very seriously,” Fisher said on Friday. “And anyone or any group who questions my intentions in any decisions I’ve ever made that I felt were best for our players I think need to step back for a moment and ask themselves this: Why would I try and ask certain questions and call into review the association that I’m the president of unless I thought there were some serious questions that needed to be answered, things that I, as president, aren’t satisfied with?

“It calls my leadership into question in some ways, in terms of not being able to put certain controls in place. I’ll take the hits, and the negative comments that may come or whatever may happen, but it won’t take me away or distract me from doing what I feel is best for all of our players.

“This is in no way about me. It’s about our membership. So I won’t lose focus of that idea. I’ll continue to push for what I feel is right for our players.”

Hunter seems to have support on the union’s executive committee, but how much support he has among the general membership remains to be seen. Among agents Hunter has never been popular and they may try to influence their clients on this matter as well. During the lockout there was a split between backers of Fisher and Hunter in the union, but over the months of the season that crack has grown to a cavern.

Which is to say, it’s all going to get ugly. Fast.

Bosh calls lockout league’s revenge for Miami, New York

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Chris Bosh thinks that part of the owners’ motivation in playing hardball is their anger about what LeBron James and he did last summer, then what Carmelo Anthony did to Denver. Bosh believes those moves are fuel for smaller market owners trying to get a complete and total destruction of the union during the current negotiations.

Bosh is right.

The Miami Heat forward talked about it with our man Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Bosh said it would not be a stretch to believe the Heat’s signing of himself, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the 2010 offseason contributed to the league’s belief that the work rules had to change.

“I think so,” he said….

“I mean, if you look at the free agents coming up in the same situations, with Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, they can control their own fate,” he said. “They have the power to control that and I think that’s a great thing. In any job you want freedom to negotiate.

“With us doing what we did, and Carmelo going to the Knicks, I think that has a lot to do with it. Hopefully we can keep that and guys can come and go and make the deal that’s best for them and their family.”

Last summer, and watching what ‘Melo did to Denver, the hearts of the small market owners hardened. They saw themselves in that position and didn’t want it to happen ever again (Utah tried to avoid it by trading Deron Williams before he could hold the hostage).

Know this — there are owners who want to break the union, make the players miss paychecks and watch them cave. Getting in a season in did not matter. Only a complete and total victory mattered.

Bosh is right. What LeBron, Bosh an ‘Melo did is part of the reason we do not have basketball in mid November (and beyond). The question is really should they be allowed to choose where they work?

Union head Billy Hunter denies any rift with Derek Fisher

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In case you weren’t reading PBT over the weekend — and if not, what is wrong with you? The outdoors are overrated — we told you about a report that union president Derek Fisher was good with a 50/50 split and that union director Billy Hunter confronted him about it.

Hunter denied that there is any rift between him and Fisher to the Sports Business Journal on Monday.

NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter disputed a report that indicated there was a rift between himself and union President Derek Fisher. Hunter, in a telephone interview with SportsBusiness Journal late Sunday evening, said he did not confront Fisher about him pushing for players to take a 50-50 split of basketball revenues on Friday morning, hours before talks to end the NBA lockout broke down.

As we said before, the first report clearly was leaked by one of the hardline players (or agents) that does not want the union to take less than 53 percent of the basketball related income. The union has gone to 52.5 percent officially, and that is as far as the hardliners want the union to go. Yet the leaks out of the most recent player/owner meetings suggested the union might go lower if the owners gave concessions on system issues such as the luxury tax and cap exceptions.

So someone put this out there, trying to put more pressure on Fisher and Hunter not to “cave.”

Again, as long as the hardliners are driving the bus on both sides we are not going to have basketball.

Players union trying to keep the “play in Europe” dream alive for lockout

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It’s another negotiating tactic.

Kobe Bryant followed in the footsteps of Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Jennings in saying he might play in Europe — Italy, in this case — if there is a lockout.

Except there is a massive hurdle — they are all under contract to an NBA team. Any player under an NBA contract that wants to sign in Europe would have to get FIBA to sign a Letter of Clearance. FIBA has hinted if the entire season were cancelled they might consider this, but now we’re into January already, and that’s not counting the time from the lawsuit to block the move the league would inevitably file.

(If a free agent wants to go overseas — for example if Carmelo Anthony opts out then signs with Barcelona — that is completely legal. It’s the guys under contract we’re talking about.)

Union sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein they don’t think the Letter of Clearance issue is really an issue and players could go overseas. Of course they did. This is a negotiation and it’s about leverage. Realty has little place in this kind of rhetoric.

But the Stein article did have two interesting tidbits about what the union is telling the players about Europe. And it doesn’t paint a rosy picture as a realistic option.

1. The union will be telling its players that they risk forfeiting any guaranteed money left on their NBA contracts if they suffer serious injury overseas. Bryant, for example, is owed $83.5 million over the next three seasons. Nowitzki is currently in the first season of a new four-year, $80 million deal. The Lakers and Mavericks would almost certainly have the ability to void those deals if Bryant or Nowitzki suffered some sort of catastrophic injury in an overseas gym. And you have to believe — drastic as the notion of cutting ties with franchise icons sounds in those examples — that the threat of getting hurt and invalidating a guaranteed contract will deter plenty of people.

2. The union, I’m told, is also realistic about the overseas market and knows that only a limited numbers of players can reasonably expect decent offers. There are likewise very few teams, even in Europe’s biggest leagues, with the budget to come anywhere close to NBA money, which is why we never saw the once-feared exodus of NBA players after Josh Childress left for Greece in the summer of 2008 for two seasons with Olympiacos. So no one in the Players Association is prepared to suggest that Europe, even if its legal read proves correct, will be a legitimate option for more than a handful of locked-out NBAers.