Labor Talks: Our Own Black Friday

– For labor updates, follow: @daldridgetnt | @AschNBA

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The biggest shopping day of the year holds new meaning for those of us that choose to sit out this annual stampede on discounts across the country.

This is Black Friday in the NBA as well, the day the owners and players get back to the task of trying to save the 2011-12 season and finally end the lockout in time for us to celebrate with some games on Christmas.

We appreciate the way both sides have gone about their business this time around, quietly resuming talks instead of using the cameras to send their messages back and forth.

Of course, the tenor changes today with union president Derek Fisher reportedly joining the fray in New York with the clock ticking on the aforementioned Christmas Day start to a 66-game regular season, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

After deliberating for 24 hours, Players Association president Derek Fisher flew to New York on Thursday night to prepare for Friday’s labor settlement meeting with the NBA, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

His appearance in this week’s negotiations – along with that of several other key Players Association officials – figures to run the risk of validating the league’s charges that the disbanding of the union was a “sham” negotiating tactic. Nevertheless, the belief that the end of the five-month lockout is within reach this weekend inspired Fisher to make the risky move to join the talks.

Representatives of the owners and players spoke on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the possible settlement of the players’ recent antitrust lawsuits – which would essentially be an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. It is felt that Fisher’s appearance is needed to reach an agreement on a deal.

Several high-ranking sources – on the league and players sides – believe there’s a do-or-die nature to getting a deal done to start the season on Dec. 25 and preserve a 66-game regular season.

Once again, the Players Association will have familiar negotiating faces in the room with the owners’ representatives: Fisher, executive director Billy Hunter, staff lawyer Ron Klempner and antitrust suit lawyers. Some on the players’ side still fear [NBA Commissioner David] Stern is setting up the players with these talks and will use the participation of key union figures to show the disbanding of the union wasn’t for the purpose of filing antitrust suit in court, but gaining leverage in negotiations. Fisher understood the consequences, but sources believe there’s so much motivation to reach an agreement to end the lockout he needed to join the negotiating sessions.

“They felt they needed Derek there to continue,” one high-ranking league official told Yahoo! Sports.

If Fisher’s attendance is what it takes to get this done, then he absolutely needs to be in that room. We’ve seen and heard enough from an assortment of players, the superstars and rank and file alike, to know that the one thing that they have been most sincere about is wanting to play this season.

Obviously, we’ve been here before several times in the past five months, believing that there is reason to be optimistic that a bargain could be struck by the end of the weekend to preserve the season. We’ve fallen through this ice several times, too. So we’d be wise to slow down right here and follow on our own advice and proceed with extreme caution from this point on. If talks collapse this time, when technically only a “settlement” can be reached since the union does not exist right now, who knows how ugly things will get in the aftermath of yet another failed attempt to come to an agreement.

ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard took to Twitter late last night with the sort of messages that give us reason to pause:

Lawyers 4 players looking 4 league to make concessions Friday. Players want 4-yr full midlevel contracts available every yr,10% cap 4 escrow

Players also want increase in mini midlevel 4 tax teams, sign&trades 4 tax teams for life of new CBA, fewer penalties for repeat tax teams

Players also want max salaries 4 superstars to be 30% of cap, not just 25%, as well as higher qualifying offers 4 restricted free agents

Constructive progress is needed today. We can’t afford another setback in this already ridiculously contentious process. Neither side can afford yet another public relations hit with fans that have long been fed up with the process.

If you’re going to tease us with the prospect of settlement talks and then get inside that room and continue the same foolishness that led us to antitrust lawsuits and the complete breakdown of the collective bargaining process … we’d have all been better off rising in the dark and braving the cold (in most places) of those Black Friday lines wrapped around the local mall or shopping center.

Please, in the name of Naismith, don’t leave us all hanging on for nothing again!

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22 Comments

  1. hegalian2012 says:

    GO PLAYERS: YOU’RE RIGHT ON POINT, NO PUN INTENDED, BY STANDING TOGETHER AND NOT CAVING IN TO THE PRESSURE OF THE COMMISSIONER, OWNERS AND EVEN SOME UNDER INFORMED FANS. STICK TO YOUR PRINCIPLES! THAT’S SOMETHING MOST IN THIS CULTURE OF GREED AND MYOPIA LACK. FRANKLY, I’M TIRED OF SOME TREATING THOSE THAT PLAY SPORTS, MOSTLY AFRICAN AMERICAN, LIKE PERSONAL PROPERTY–COMMODITIES. NO! THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS THAT HAVE RIGHTS AND CHOICES AND FREEDOMS. AND MONEY CAN NEVER NEGATE THESE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS. SOMEONE NEEDS TO STAND UP TO THESE PLUTOCRATS AND OLIGARCHS. THANK GOD FOR SOMEONE, ANYONE WHO WILL NOT LIE DOWN AND TAKE THIS CRAP ANY MORE! THE THING THAT I LOVE MORE THAT THE NBA IS—AGENCY—LIBERTY–FREEDOM!

  2. Pepe says:

    Everything started to fall in place …but then : There was Fisher /Hunter getting in the way.
    Those are my guy;these are the people do not wanting a season.
    Ironically , these are the people who will make these dumb/chump players to pay really hard.
    No season !! come on Stern ,Hunter and ….Fisher

  3. Pepe says:

    Everything started to fall back on place …But then : There is Fisher Once again!!!
    Thanks Fisher!!I need you along with Huntar and company to screw up the whole thing again!!
    I know that you ,DO NOT WANT THE SEASON GOING ON

  4. Jokes on us says:

    ROUND 53425453534535

    Recaps this weekend)

    ”Players and owners once again cant come to an agreement, but they would like you to think they will.”

    Seriously I come to this site and read the articles, but seriously how many of you really think this is gonna end. The writers just write about it cause they have nothing else to write about.The NBA dont care about you. so dont care about them. pretty simple.

  5. L R 1218 says:

    Everytime they “meet” nothing gets done. Stop reporting nothing NBA.com. Until a deal gets done (IMO wont happen this season) then you report. Get your head on right players & take what they give you. You want to play ball? Well heres the deal.

  6. Jimbo99 says:

    Haha I hope the idiots, formerly known as Fisher, Hunter and the 30 other players who instead of letting the players vote decided they were smarter than the rest, can see hang time now. Comments are now running empty meaning people are tired of the BS. I’m not with the owners but they should have put the last proposal to vote.

    Well, I’m a basketball fan so I’m sure I’ll watch NBA in the future but I know who not to watch. Especially those players who tweeted devil may care attitude…thugs

  7. Fan says:

    Forget this,

    When they get the deal through, we as fans should show them 10 games of empty stands in each city. There’s a point it gets to where it really is just millionaires arguing for who gets the last dime.

  8. Backlash says:

    If it’s not about the owners and players reaching a deal please don’t report it , were tired of hearing “the players and owners to resume talks” “their making progress” “were really optimistic” “sides are close to reaching a deal” because all of that means nothing as you can see..were half way through November and still no deal..all your doing is making (us) the fans even more angry with these pointless updates ..we already know how it’s going to turn out, either cancel the season or reach an agreement but stop selling hope because I’m not buying it and I’m sure anybody else who’s a fan of the league is either.

  9. Rich Tullo says:

    Kenny Smith you are right. In the last proposal the NBA included an upside option where the players made between 49% and 52% and because it was still below the 52.5% line in the sand Billy Hunter drew four weeks ago the just 30 players turned down that deal. Had 30 players accepted that deal it would have saved the players $1 to $3 million per player this year and roughly $1.3 to $2.5 million per player over the 10 year life of the contract adjusted for inflation. It is pretty clear to me that point Billy Hunter could care less about players going broke and was working for the agents. My guess is if Billy Hunter offered a 48% to 55% deal based on league profits defined as operating income excluding depreciation, amortization expense and non-cash income taxes the NBA would take it as long as some of the upside over 50% went to pensions or healthcare and the players give just a little 1 of the 4 systems issues debated. I would offer flexibility on the cap tax as long as contract guarantees are in the 4+ year range. To be clear the Players contribution is tremendous but the owners risk the capital and operate businesses that serve the players and fans. If you doubt what I say just look at the attendance and profits generated by the various exhibitions touring the country and compare that enterprise with the gate and media revenue generated by a Heat versus KNICKS game; you will see that success is a two way street.

  10. Scott says:

    Get Fisher out of there is he screwing everything up he is a idiot!

  11. arp720 says:

    ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS AN NBA SEASON

  12. vince says:

    the NBA need not worry. it will never run out of fans. their constantly placing their comments on threads like these is an indication of that. on their comments saying that they’re mad, or fed up, its just their way of venting their frustration about this lockout. but they’re still here. they’re still waiting for the ball game to start (whenever that may be). and the NBA knows that. they know that even if they drag this thing all the way to 5 years, the fans will still be there when they come back. they don’t even bother to read these threads. just knowing that there’s a thread of comments is enough for them to know that the fans are still there and will never go away.

    • Hg says:

      We are not saying we will not be fans, we are saying we are not getting our hopes built up again then dropped again.

      When it is said they have a handshake, then I will believe it is over; I am not going to have my emothions played with in the mean time.

      Of course we read and respond to threads as this, where else can we get the scoop of what is going on?

  13. troy says:

    Stop the madness! They aren’t playing this year. I’m so tired of being taken on this rollercoaster every 2 weeks. They will come out today with the same old BS, maybe even extending talks through the weekend before totally ripping our effin hearts out. I’m over it.

  14. LANDIM says:

    After that meeting today..
    Easter.. next deadline
    Fed Up With this conversations..
    The train his going to crash… everybody is seing that… and the only thing i want to know now is if the casualties are going to be only the players .. they had no chance from the begining…

  15. guynotgay says:

    Final round !

  16. Fan from Mongolia says:

    At some point, NBA didn’t really seem to matter. We just saw some of the game highlights, top 10 dunks and played the video games with friends. But now that we don’t have NBA, we understand its importance or whatever it is called and… just want it so badly. Even the conversation between friends seem to have gotten less. I mean, we don’t really know what’s going on over there, but one thing’s for sure – players do a lot to us, not David Stern nor the owners. And I believe players do to the same to those guys too. We just got the chance to watch live games on TV this year and look what happened. We can only watch Griffin’s car dunk over n’ over again. I’m just some unknown kid who likes basketball, but we have tons of my kind here, waiting for Kobe and the others do their thing. All we want for Xmas is the new season of NBA… and some other things.

  17. Hg says:

    A question to be asked. Regardless of Fisher being ex president of the union, could he not be there as a player and just to represent the players, not the union?

    It would be nice if they get things done, but of course we have been burnt to many times to rely on a bunch of hurtful leaders.