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NFL union’s DeMaurice Smith will speak to NBA players Thursday

Sep 15, 2011, 8:55 AM EDT

Bud Light And Marcus Allen Launch NFL Fan Camp Getty Images

I’ll take “Stars from other lockouts” for 200 Alex…

Apparently DeMaurice Smith is a lockout junky. Can’t get enough. You remember Smith from the NFL lockout — he is the head of the NFL Players Association. Well, he’s back.

Smith is set to speak to the NBA players at their meeting Thursday in Las Vegas, reports Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

It’s easy to see why NBA union president Derek Fisher reached out to Smith — Smith just came out of a lockout where his players were able to get a deal they could live with in time to salvage a full season. An outcome that appears lost for the NBA.

Smith is expected to talk about how decertification of the NFLPA was not what led to a deal being struck. Bringing in Smith also could take some of the pressure off players’ union director Billy Hunter, who is going to have a rough Thursday. NBA players — some pushed by agents who want to take the aggressive step of decertify he union (like the NFL did) — have a lot of questions. They want to know why the negotiations are at square one 77 days into the lockout. They want a plan. One that gets them on the court and keeps something close to the old economic system.

After a series of high-level meetings in previous weeks, there was a growing sense of optimism among players. They were willing to give up four percentage points of “basketball related income” to make a deal (players got 57 percent of the league’s total BRI last season, on Tuesday they offered to make that 53 percent.

The owners said that was nice, but they want a hard salary cap, too. The players balked, saying the owners can’t have both.

Smith may be able to help bolster the players’ spirits for a day. But it will not change the underlying challenges in the NBA lockout.

  1. rajbais - Sep 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    What will he do, talk about how it didn’t work???

  2. readysethike - Sep 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Obviously it did work, NFL season started on time, NBA season seems very much like it won’t

  3. therealhtj - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    DeMaurice will be giving Fish and Hunter Snake Oil Selling lessons, AKA “How to remain relevant in labor negotiations when your position basically doesn’t exist anymore.

    The NFL started on time because the players basically gave the owners everything they wanted but were able to save face because they redefined how revenue was split. The redefined split basically gave the owners what they were looking for.

    Now the big brain trust of Fish, Billy “Why do I still have a job?” Hunter, and DeMaurice Smith have to figure out a way to convince the players they actually got a good deal while giving the owners everything they wanted in the first place.

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