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Fisher says NBA players don’t want to follow in NFL’s footsteps

Jul 21, 2011, 1:02 PM EDT

Derek Fisher

Sometime very soon, the NFL is going to end its lockout and get back to work, the two sides agreeing on a salary system.

Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players union, is no fan of the NFL’s hard cap, non-gaurunteed contract system.

While the NBA owners are proposing a system that moves in that direction, Fisher told Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated the players would push back.

“It breaks my heart to see the way guys like LaDainian Tomlinson get dealt with in the NFL,” said Fisher of the former MVP who gained 914 yards for the Jets last season after he had been waived by the Chargers. “To see what he’d done for the San Diego Chargers and to get to that place where he was under a contract that’s already been signed. The Chargers were able to absorb value in income and potential profits from years of his services, and then at the drop of a hat, based on arbitrary thinking because he’s a certain age and he can’t produce at a certain level anymore, he’s gone. Out the door.”

Fisher made is comments prior to the lockout starting, but since then nothing has really changed. While there have been some mid-level staff meetings between the league and the players union, that can accomplish only so much. The big guns are not talking about the big issues yet.

Another thing the union has resisted doing is following the NFL players union down the path of decertification.

Agents and other union advisers have been urging Fisher and union executive director Billy Hunter to decertify in order to bring the NBA owners to court, much as the NFL has done. But the NBPA has believed that court actions could essentially end hopes of saving the 2011-12 season. Fisher and Hunter are still seeking the ultimate: a compromise with the owners in time to enable regular-season basketball to begin as scheduled Nov. 1 in Dallas.

So far, there is a lot of posturing, both sides making their case to the public and each other. Both sides need to start compromising soon. Games were missed in the 1999 season in part because the two sides didn’t get serious about negotiating until it was too late to reach a deal. It feels like that again. As Thomsen points out so well, both sides have ground to give.

The talks are frozen because neither side has been willing to hold itself accountable yet. Any educated fan would urge the players to move toward a system that rewards performers and punishes malingerers who sign long contracts only to wind up “stealing the money” (to turn a phrase that players use among themselves), and likewise that the deep and entertaining rosters of the champion Mavericks and Lakers should not be diminished in order to prop up the underachieving Timberwolves and Clippers. Yet the owners and players continue to blame each other for the NBA’s problems, without confessing to their own negative issues. Perhaps they will move toward compromise as they begin to run out of time in September.

  1. seanb20124 - Jul 21, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Fisher your overpaid and likely need a trip to the glue factory.

  2. cosanostra71 - Jul 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    you see Fisher, the problem is, in every other job in the world, if you’re not performing up to what you’re being paid, you will be fired.

    • craigw24 - Jul 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

      In most situations, when you have a contract the owner/employer has to buy you out to let you go early. Not so in the NFL – they can cancel any contract, regardless the remaining years, on a yearly basis.

    • mella21 - Jul 22, 2011 at 12:28 AM

      thats actually not true, there are some jobs where people get tenured, and they’re basically there for life.

      I don’t know much about these talks, but I will say Im generally on the side of the players in these things. If the owners are getting rich from the players on the field (or court), well I think the players should reap a lot of the rewards since its their bodies and image that are bringing fans to the arena.
      However, I’ve heard talk of the NBA losing money. If that’s really the case, then fix the overall system where it needs to be fixed… Still, Im generally not in favor of caps. I like the way baseball does it, though Im not sure about their revenue sharing.

    • leucas66 - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:25 AM

      what fantasy world do you live in where underperforming staff are always dealt with appropriately? Just look around you at work.

      If what you are saying was true, there would be no millionaire CEOs who get bonuses even when the company goes downhill.

  3. tneeb - Jul 21, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    How about a hard cap and guaranteed contracts but if a team doesn’t want a player anymore they can waive them and their salary doesn’t count towards the cap. If the player signs with another team then they are only responsible for the difference between their deals. To say that you should be fired if you are not performing is short sighted. In the real world, if you fall and get hurt and you can’t perform anymore you collect long term disability which the company pays for. LTD is comensurate with your earning capability before you became hurt so the NBA owners would be paying for millions of dollars in LTD insurance to cover their “emplyees”. Better to allow for a smaller amount of guarenteed money and include incentives. That way if the player gets hurt the owners don’t owe the money for being in “x” number of games or averaging “x” number of points etc.

    Just a random thought…

    • tneeb - Jul 21, 2011 at 2:35 PM

      And only guarenteed $$$ counts towards the cap

    • tneeb - Jul 21, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      On second thought that doesn’t fix the problems with the “haves” and “have nots”. The owners will have to come up with their own revenue sharing solution. That is not the players problem anyway.

  4. goforthanddie - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    1-“LaDainian Tomlinson get dealt with in the NFL,” said Fisher of the former MVP who gained 914 yards for the Jets last season ”

    Soo, 60ish yards/game is now the benchmark?

    2-“Sometime very soon, the NFL is going to end its lockout and get back to work”

    One would think NBA players would want that as well.

    • MTArider - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:21 AM

      Fisher was refering to the fact that Tomlinson carried the Chargers for years and once he was old was dropped like a bad habbit.

  5. involvement82 - Jul 22, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Fisher isn’t playing no significant role in this lockout. He just want to be on tv like the kardashians..

  6. metalhead65 - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    would someone please point out to fisher and anyone else feeling sorry for nfl players,that while contracts are not guaranteed the signing bonuses are. which means players get their money up front when they sign their contracts. this means you get 10 million or whatever amount when you sign your name whether you ever play a down or not.or let’s put it another way,jamarcus russell got paid 30 million to suck! he never did a thing to help the raiders but still got that guaranteed. my point is the contracts may not be guaranteed but they still get their money so no I do not feel sorry at all when players like tomlinson get cut when they no longer can do the job they are paid to do. as far as getting cut being disrespectful to him,how much did the chargers pay him for carrying them those years?

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