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Derek Fisher sends letter to players answering agents

Oct 4, 2011, 8:02 AM EDT

Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter AP

Derek Fisher and the NBA players union is now fighting a war on two fronts — one with the NBA over the new collective bargaining agreement, and one with some player agents. At least it feels that way.

Monday six agents sent out a letter to their clients saying not to ratify any labor agreement that reduces the players share of “basketball related income” (BRI) 52 percent and to make sure they take the time to really read any agreement before voting on it.

Fisher countered with a letter of his own Monday evening targeting the agents, saying that he understands a players bond with an agent but that the letter is filled with misinformation and “unsupported theories.” The Associated Press got a copy of Fishers’ letter.

One issue I need to again be very clear on…nothing can be accepted without a vote by the players. If and when there is a proposal that we feel is in the best interests of us as players, each of you WILL have the opportunity to vote in person. It’s in the union bylaws, it’s not up for negotiation. You will have the opportunity to see the full proposal before you agree, you will be able to challenge it, question it, anything you feel appropriate in order to know that this is the best deal for you and your fellow players.

As far as the negotiations, quite a few guys came out for the meeting on Friday. We met as a group first where we updated the players on the league and owner’s position which I have briefed you on previously. Everyone in the room was in agreement, we have been more than fair in our proposals…

Tomorrow (Tuesday), as you may have read, will be another larger negotiating session. Everyone in the regional meetings, Friday’s player meeting, and throughout this process has been in support of the position the NBPA has taken. We go into tomorrow’s meeting strong, remaining steadfast on the issues we will not be able to move away from. Anyone saying different is not privy to the meetings and is uninformed.

The agents don’t trust union director Billy Hunter and think he is giving away too much and will give away more (they all wanted to decertify the union to start with). Fisher is stressing unity in the face of this and saying the guys in the room have been good with the positions.

The agents meant the timing of their letter as leverage in Tuesday’s big meeting. But the owners will see Fisher having to send out letters trying to keep his troops in line the night before a big negotiating session and think the union is cracking.

The union is now fighting a two front war. If you read your history books in school, you know that usually doesn’t end well.

  1. gugurich - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    I think Fisher and Hunter have screwed up pretty royally. It’s like they had too much trust in the owners. Right off the bat, they give up 200 million dollars annually and swear off the only weapon they have in decertification, almost expecting the owners to reciprocate their good-faith gestures and when the owners didn’t, Fisher and Hunter have just repeated, “Please, please reconsider.” Their handling of decertification is what really confuses me. Even if they weren’t proponents of it, why swear it off? Why not say it remains a possibility just for the sake of negotiations? If the owners knew that the courts could get involve and that a mediator could be placed in the room, that the draft could be threatened, that they could be fined billions of dollars, perhaps they would have budged off their stance of 46 percent of BRI. Goodness knows nothing else worked.

    • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Decertification is not a weapon. That tactic didn’t work for the NFL players and it won’t work for the NBA players union. The players need to cut a deal now while they still can. The NHL players lost an entire season, and were still forced to give in. The same will happen in the NBA.

      The league is a sham, it’s a farce, and they need to make real changes now to ensure there is true parity and a competitive balance or franchises will shut down, costing the players jobs anyway. Out of what 30 teams, only maybe 4 have a shot at winning the title? What kind of a league is that?

  2. savocabol1 - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    They aren’t fighting a “war.” It is labor negotiations. The people that are fighting a war are overseas riskihng their life. I would hardly say this is a comparable situation.

  3. thetooloftools - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    I say cancel the season today. send the players a message that the owners will not be pushed around. Those Pimps (agents) just want to make sure they are going to get their cuts. The players are flat out overpaid. Go to a 50/50 BRI split and keep moving or shut it down now.

  4. suhnum1fan - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    if the season is canceled, the players are f_ck!!! Because I guarantee you the 50/50 BRI will drop substantially.

  5. bcshater - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Wow. I guess the agents are the ones calling the shots now. If I’m an owner, I think I’d have t be feeling pretty good right now, because we all know that the agents are a bloody greedy bunch. It’s probably safe to assume that most agents are making as much or more than the players they supposedly represent. With the agents making the decisions this dispute could go on for years. They will demand unrealistic demands and the courts will laugh them off the court. I could see the players eventually agreeing to less. This could be a wonderful day in sports. Players actually making more realistic salaries.
    Oh, Oh sorry. just dreaming of the day when sports teams go bankrupt and players have to work for minimum wage….

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