Labor Talks: Tumultuous Times Ahead

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Forget about Saturday’s scheduled resumption of talks between the warring factions in the NBA labor dispute. There are apparently bigger issues looming right now, particularly for the players and their union.

Both the New York Times and Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday night that a group of 50 players are pushing for the dissolution of the union if things don’t go the way they want this weekend. Whether they are serious about such a drastic move or simply using this as a tactic as a show of power, it presents yet another twist in a tumultuous affair that is clearly grating on all involved.

More from Howard Beck of the New York Times:

A group of 50 N.B.A. players intend to push for the dissolution of their union if a new round of labor negotiations fails this weekend, or if the talks produce an unpalatable deal, according to a person who has spoken to the players.

The movement was said to be entirely player-driven, and borne of a frustration with the pace of talks between the league and union leaders. The players have been locked out since July 1, and a month of games have been canceled.

Two conference calls were held this week between the players and an antitrust lawyer — once on Tuesday and again on Thursday. It is not clear whether union leaders have been directly informed of the effort.

“And the players are seriously considering decertification if a deal is not reached where the players’ proposals are in the final elements of the deal,” said the person connected to the players.

That means the players involved will oppose any deal that includes less than a 52.5 percent share of league revenues for players, or any number of proposed restrictions on free-agent movement. N.B.A. owners are proposing a 50-50 split of revenues and have held firm to that position.

Again, this could all be a negotiating tactic.

But there is no doubt that the rumblings from earlier this week of a possible fracture in the union’s ranks appear to be something a bit more substantial than some of us might have believed.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! explains:

The players, frustrated with the deal union officials have been negotiating, held a call on Tuesday to discuss the state of labor talks with the NBA, and explored their options on Thursday with the antitrust attorney, sources said.

Said one player on the calls: “If nothing else, this takes us off our heels.”

Several prominent NBA agents were proponents of the calls, sources said.

Unless the Players Association refused to go lower than a 52-48 percent revenue split with the NBA and the remaining system issues went in the union’s favor, sources said there was broad agreement among the players on the call that the next step should be a serious consideration of decertifying the union and filing an antitrust suit in federal court.

There also was discussion about refusing to ratify a deal brought to the players by union executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher, sources said.

“We’re beyond frustrated with the concessions that have already been made,” one source on the calls told Yahoo! Sports. “If the union gives in on the [basketball-related income] split and the open system issues don’t go to the players side, decertification may be the next step.”

Things could get wild this weekend. A move like the one the players are threatening could put the entire 2011-12 season in jeopardy, the doomsday scenario everyone dreads.

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24 Comments

  1. Matt d says:

    I think it is funny how “fans” are screaming the players need to do this and they need to do that. How mnay of you go to games? How many of you buy jersey’s? Are you going to watch the players or the owners? The owners KNEW they were going to lock the players out. They knew banked on the NON millionaire players to need there checks. The people that are crying about them being paid for playing a game are just dumb. That is what professional athletes do. That is their JOB. And if you could only work at your job for an average of 5 years, wouldn’t you want to make as much money as you could in that time? The players are not employees either, they are contractors. None of them WORK for the Chicago Bulls Inc., they play for the Chicago Bulls team. The players have conceded a LOT, but look at what the owners have conceded? And the players are not the ones that make the 30k jobs available to people that work in stadiums and the like, it is the owners that do that. The owners all have jobs other than owning the team. They actualy own the team because they can, that is there hobby. Most of them have people running the day to day operations of the business. It is funny that everybody is crying about small market teams and their ability to compete, but those teams have to work themselves a little bit better than the large market teams. For instance, the Bobcats suck because they just suck. Look at everyone they have traded away and the success they have had. These superstar teams that are in the hunt, have always been in the hunt. you can’t cry about the Lakers and the Celtics always being in the finals when they have always been there. teams need to do a better job at building. Perfect example, despite my hate for LeBron (former Pistons fan), if Cleveland put better players around him, they would have won a championship. instead, they chose people like Ben Wallace, Boobie Gibson and Moe Williams to be his cast. Is that the players fault? The lack of a season should not be placed on the players.

  2. NBAFan says:

    Since everyone has their unions and are definitely not giving a sh*t about us fans, what we AS FANS should do is also stop caring for the NBA at least 2 weeks. Not going to the games, not watching them on TV. (watch the replays on ESPN later if you are interested) What the owners and players are bargaining about is Billions that they WOULD have if we still continue to watch games and buy NBA products. They are negotiating about money that WE HAVE NOT GIVEM THEM YET. I’m a die hard NBA fan, but I can get used to not watching the games a little longer just to make a point too.

    And don’t tell me that the players are doing this for the greater good and to take care of the rookies the next 10 years, etc etc. It is a sport, and ANY player who get’s paid more than 1 million a year for a 5-6 years is living the dream and has the rest of their lives made. We are in recession, you are getting paid for playing a game you (should) love. You will probably play until the age of 33-35. If at that age someone has 3-4 million saved up, please don’t tell me you cannot invest it properly or at least live comfortably for the rest of your life. Most of us have to work 40+ years to save up 1 mil if we’re lucky by the age of 60+…

    Also, at the end, every player is an “employee”, if you want to be an owner do it like MJ or others and save up plus invest, and later on buy your own team. Sheesh, talk about greedy…

  3. Sports Fan says:

    The unfortunate part to listening to people on this board is people do not understand the whole situation. In the media we only hear bits and pieces and sometimes those bits and pieces are not even communicated correctly. I don’t fault the players at all. The owners are not brining in the money it’s the players. GET WHAT YOU CAN PLAYERS!!

  4. Hot-hand Larry says:

    Amen Troy, amen
    I’d love to see fans stand together for just one game, the first game back when these overgrown children get back on the court, and absolutely no one attend the first game across the league of either this season, or next season if this season is lost. I know as a fan myself that in time, we’ll probably all go back and watch the games and “forget” in a manner of speaking, of this lockout. But it would be nice for a change to actually see the fans voice their disapproval of what’s going on in some way.

  5. jj says:

    clearly, all of this is not about the money: 2.5% more or less won’t change a thing. there’s something political in it; i’m willing to bet it has something to do with the 2012 elections. wait, it could be :”no nba means upset fans; nba fans are mostly Obama voters and if they ‘re upset they aint gonna vote him again”. But i could be wrong.

  6. Bunsenburner says:

    The owners and players should take into account that we, the viewers, pay them. By watching, by attending games, by buying licensed stuff. If they don’t start playing soon, I am gonna stop watching NBA basketball. It’s supposed to be entertainment. It stops being entertainment when you can’t get rid of the thought that you’re watching overpaid millionairs throwing balls through hoops.

  7. DJ1234567890 says:

    First things first. NBPA, take a secret ballot on whether to accept the 50-50 deal or not. If take 50-50 wins, then Hunter and Fisher have to surrender on BRI. Then, make a deal on the salary cap, luxury tax, and the rest of the system issues. If there are disagreements, do the secret ballot on whether to accept the owners’ deal or not with the players. Once all issues are resolved, then how about open the season on Christmas Day if possible????? But if Hunter and Fisher have to surrender on everything, DO NOT DECERTIFY THE NBPA UNION!!!!! I will quit watching NBA if they do!!!!! Is that enough for now?????

  8. Keith says:

    Well I have yet to actually post a comment but at this point I feel I need to. It is a very funny thing this lockout, you have three sides that are pulling all the strings, Union, Agents, and Owners. All of these bodys have an agenda. What I feel is almost the same as many, the players need to get off the high horse and respect the idea of what they are is a group of staff, pay is based on ability and I agree with that. What I do not agree with is the idea that the players should have any controle over how the buisness is run! They are given the option to choose to play basketball and hope that the talent they have will reflect in compensation but aside from that we still need to remember that it is a game and should be looked at that way in respect to the players. I am in a small market fan base and would love to see my team have the same ability to compete as some of the large market teams. This is a system issue that must be settled with that and only that in minde. As for the dredfull BRI split? Well I am a working man and just get what I need to pay my bills but always try for more, what I do not see is the owner of my company looking to split his profit with me. Why? because it is his and the compensation to a staff member is in your pay. Would you buy a company to give away more than 50% of the profit? Tell me any company in the world that gives profit to the employee as an expectation and anything over 50%, really?? It still comes down to the fact this is a game and all the talk of money is makeing a stressed fan base trying to pay bill’s disturbed. It may be a bit of rambling but hey it is my choice to give an opinion.

  9. Liga says:

    Would be nice if the owner take the hit on this. How about a new League with new owners. Let there be a little competition for players. Are not the owners running a monopoly and telling players to take it or leave it?

  10. Theo says:

    I the same as TROY…..the players are so hypnotized by the money that they have forgotten about the reason they are making the money. Because of the fans and the love of the game. being a kid who has looked up to basketball and the players in it his whole life feels as if I’m not a factor. I say we as fans get on the media and voice our oppions so we can talk some sense in these people’s heads

  11. Ron says:

    As a fan I could care less how the money is divided up. What I do care about is will my team have the same chance to win a title as every other team and not be economically hamstrung like the small market teams in baseball. Secondly will I be able to afford to attend a game.

  12. Amen Troy, amen
    I’d love to see fans stand together for just one game, the first game back when these overgrown children get back on the court, and absolutely no one attend the first game across the league of either this season, or next season if this season is lost. I know as a fan myself that in time, we’ll probably all go back and watch the games and “forget” in a manner of speaking, of this lockout. But it would be nice for a change to actually see the fans voice their disapproval of what’s going on in some way.

  13. JohnBaptist says:

    My TVs busted so I cant watch NBA anyway, the NBA is waiting for my TV to get fixed, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  14. Troy says:

    Man this is so garbage. Like I needed another reason to hate d-bags like Paul Pierce or D Wade. I am such a huge fan of the NBA, but if they pull this crap and miss the whole season, I will have a hard time watching anymore when they come back. I’ve always looked at NBA players as loving the game first, and being stoked about the $ second. Now it’s obvious that the $ is the ONLY thing that matters to them, so why should I care who wins the games if they don’t? They don’t even care if they play the games. You are spitting in the collective faces of an already unstable fan base fellas, just make a reasonable deal and keep cashing your ridiculous paychecks. NOBODY FEELS SORRY FOR YOU, YOU PLAY A GAME FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. F’ing pricks.

    • J.S. says:

      If they ONLY cared about the money the would accept the deal and play this season. How many more years do you think Peirce, Allen and Garnett have left? The reason they are holding out is for the future: rookies and players that will play the game for the next 10 years or so. They are the ones who will be affected by this CBA. And if they accept a bad CBA now, what do you think the next one will look like??? The players are fighting what what they believe to be FAIR. That being said the system does need to change… but it is alot to ask the players to come down from 58% BRI to 48-50% in one shot. That’s not a negotiation, that’s flexing muscle. Anyway, this is the ugly business end of the game that is very much needed but we would all prefer pretending owners and players did this out of the goodness of their heart.

      • Sports Fan says:

        Finally J.S. someone who understands. The players have given up alot!!!!!! But folks don’t see that side

  15. heftyload says:

    The NBA is self destructing. The lockout is not a punishment. The Owners will survive and the players will adjust and the Fans won’t have basketball. Way to go Geniuses! I suppose they’re gonna need a bailout too? This has to be a parrallel universe.

  16. Brandt says:

    This whole arguing over 2.5% is ridiculous!!! 2.5% of the almost 4 billion dollar income of last season is only 100 million dollars. Yes its alot of money, but to be spread over about 360 hands( if every team only has 12 players), thats about $275,000. And thats if would go to everybody fairly. Seriously, when you are a pro athlete and have multi-million dollar contracts, come on. Am I the only one who feels this way?

    Im not all against the players, both sides are at fault.

  17. dawi says:

    why players has BRI share?i thougt if you are an employee in a company you only have incentives.bonus,13th month pay and SALARY.if you are a good player you can get many endorsement and sponsor,that is your own income and goes to your own pocket.company has share in your endorsement?

  18. TS says:

    Is this whole mess because the Dream Team only got a bronze medal in the ’04 Olympics? You must learn from your losses guys, don’t hide from them.

  19. iampinoy says:

    im tired of watching nba greatest games over and over…though i love those old folks…im dying to see the young guns back in action..start the games for godsake…nba where WAITING happens

  20. Not Another Mistake says:

    Well, let that group players do that exactly and we’ll see how that will unfold. NBA drama is getting excited from now on. Well see who will turn out as the best performers at the end of the show. We’ll just hand out awards later on.

  21. blackmamba24 says:

    I’ll say it again, stop wasting your time. No games are going to be played this season.

    R.I.P NBA.