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Fisher, Hunter respond to Stern with tough words of their own

Oct 14, 2011, 11:09 PM EDT

Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter AP

After David Stern’s Magical Media Tour on Thursday and Friday, the players needed to respond before a mediator puts the lock on both sides next week. And after making an “armed and dangerous” reference, union executive director Billy Hunter continued along with union president Derek Fisher in pushing back hard against the commish. Various quotes from the AP and other sources:

Fisher expressed optimism that there would be a season, which is contrasted by the dour approach of both Stern and Hunter. Except Fisher’s assertion is based more on calling what he feels is Stern’s bluff.

“My gut tells me that there’s no way Commissioner Stern and the NBA would damage their business by making us miss a whole season,” Fisher said Friday after a union meeting at the Beverly Hilton.

Regarding David Stern’s assertion that the absence of a deal on Tuesday could lead the cancellation of games at Christmas, nearly two months away, Fisher shrugged it off as “arbitrary.”

“That’s an arbitrary deadline just to throw out on Commissioner Stern’s part,” Fisher said. “We don’t see it that way. That’s just arbitrary, with no other purpose than to sway player sentiment.”

Fisher also was quick to shut down talk of JaVale McGee‘s comments about there being “guys ready to fold in the room,” a quote that McGee later denied on Twitter… despite about eight reporters having heard, and recorded, the comments. Fisher did not exactly cover McGee’s tail publicly.

“The person that spent the least amount of time in the room has no ability to make that statement,” Fisher said.

Billy Hunter commented that for nearly two years, the league had been pushing for “guaranteed profitability,” a term the union had shelved for several months, only to bring it back with a vengeance. Hunter said the union replied that a system that provided each NBA team with a guaranteed average profit of $10 to $30 million “simply did not exist.”

If you’re wondering if it was Rhetoric Day in the NBA Lockout, it was. Both sides were volleying shots at one another. But with McGee’s random and profoundly stupid comment, the NBPA still found a way to lose the day. The pressure is on players to comment whenever they’re at an event. The owners face no such pressure. And as a result, we’re learning why the union has been reticent to put its players first and forefront.

Finally, it’s important to note the disappointing turnout. Less than 30 players attended the meeting, with most players visiting colleges for Midnight Madness (Dwyane Wade, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins just to name a few).

  1. bravin4evr - Oct 15, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Javale mcghee needs to shut his mouth. He talks as dumb as he plays….

    • denverdude7 - Oct 15, 2011 at 8:08 AM

      Why should McGee shut his mouth? He is only stating the obvious. Many athletes in all sports fail to plan for the future and blow their money on cars, tattoos, bling and ridiculously inept business investments.

      It would really come as no surprise if some NBA players are quickly running out of money and need a quick settlement to continue their lavish lifestyles. Some may also be in the same situation many blue collar Americans find themselves in with an underwater mortgage.

      Obviously, the owners are playing hardball. They know they have the upper hand. The players will eventually cave in and take what they can get. The upper echelon players can survive an extended lockout but they really only account for a small portion of the total workforce. The greater portion of the players will need to get back on the court and soon.

      In the meantime, maybe they can hit up Bron-Bron for a loan. Yeah, that will happen.

  2. yournuts - Oct 15, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    I hope the NBA takes a stand and shuts down the season. Never bite the hand that feeds you. The owners will benefit in a year or two. The players are lunatics to hold a gun at the owner’s head.

    • florida727 - Oct 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      I agree. I’ve said all along that the players need to realize they are simply EMPLOYEES. Try telling YOUR boss that you’re not going to work today unless he gives you 57% (or whatever) of the revenues or profits. He’d tell you exactly what others are stating here: their shelf life is short, there are others waiting to take their place. The players assume no risk in this business. The owners pay the taxes, make the investments, and are dependent on the fans supporting the product they put on the court. The players just play and collect checks. They don’t deserve as much as they think they do. Eventually they’ll cave. They know they have no leverage at the end of the day.

  3. denverdude7 - Oct 15, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    The NBA owners should take an even tougher stand and cancel the entire season right now. The league should also be contracted down to no more than 20 teams.

    The tail has been wagging the dog in the NBA for far too long. There is simply not enough top level talent available to support the current number of teams. Small market teams can’t compete and now with the players making deals amongst themselves to join a particular franchise the situation can only get worse.

    I don’t see players making deals amongst themselves to join the Cleveland Cavaliers or Sacramento Kings.

    With less teams in the league the talent level would increase dramatically for all of the remaing teams. This would result in a much more balanced, competitive and entertaining game.

    The players of course would never accept this and would, without doubt, be crying foul. Too bad. Their own greed and actions have caused all of this. Maybe it’s time they paid the bill.

  4. bcjim - Oct 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    The players need to realize that people are coming to their senses and that the ridiculous gravy train has run off the tracks.
    You can make a tremendous living playing basketball or you can go flip burgers. You will no longer be given the truly stupid contracts off the past.

    Next

  5. mojosmagic - Oct 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Fisher is wrong because the owners and Stern aren’t backing down. Why should they when more then half the teams are losing money and attendance is down ? If this was MLB or the NFL fans would be up in arms but no one cares. And that Mr. Fisher says it all.

  6. nofunleague - Oct 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    The rich fighting the rich. I love it. Players in all sports are getting more greedy by the year. I’m not a Bball fan but common sense tells you the owner is always going to make more than the employee. shut up and go play, or as some one else has suggested, practice saying, “would you like fries with that.”

  7. vikesfansteve - Oct 15, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Basketball is not a sport that is going to be missed much. It’s true.

    These players need to realize that. They are so overpaid.

    • trueballs - Oct 15, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      I disagree. Basketball is at it’s peak popularity and is expected to grow. The players are handing over billions of dollars to the owners while getting taxed more, losing contract privileges, etc. What are the owners sacificing? We’re basically adjusting the league so any billionaire owner with no knowledge of basketball can still be successful. I like competitive balance, but I hate what the NFL has turned into…..just wait…”this free throw has been brought to you by…Wendy’s!” Competitive balance won’t ever work like the NFL (even that’s debatable), because the league is more star-focused.

      Think about the 80s….celtics, lakers, pistons, and I guess rockets, sixers..
      How about the 90s….Bulls, jazz, rockets, uhhh Knicks?

      I didn’t hear the owners crying about competitive balance then. Right now we have pretty good balance with Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Dallas, Knicks, OKC, Celtics, Memphis…and a lot of rising teams like the Clippers, dare I say Nets, Sacramento,

  8. jaypace - Oct 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    It’s an outdated argument all athletes are overpaid. But an owner decides to pay them. How can you blame players for a finical system owners agreed to. If an owner is losing all the money they say they are, sell your team. Why would you year after year keep an investment that’s losing you 10 mil a year. Like all sports the players are the attraction. No one cares who the owner is. Without the players there is no league, just like any job without employees there is no business but unlike us who can be replaced in a day the players in the league have more leverage because again they are the attraction. If your concern is really losing money why would you cancel the season. The sides just need to work to get a deal that helps both sides. Are there struggling franchises? Yes. When you start talking about contraction of ten teams you know how many people will be put out of work behind that. There is a way to help those teams called revenue sharing bit the big markets font want to help the smaller ones. Stop putting all this at the feet of the players, it’s a LOCKOUT not a strike. And the owners did agree to the system in place during the last negotiations.

  9. brooklynbulls - Oct 15, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    The owners created this mess in the first place. There are some ridiculous contracts out there i.e. Rashard Lewis/Eddy Curry. Guess who’s responsible for that ? The owners! After they’ve damaged the system, they hold the entire sport hostage while they seek a new system to save them from themselves. They (owners and players) share the blame here

  10. yournuts - Oct 15, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Listen Jaypace, Sorry you think this way. #1. The owners have decided not to pay them now. #2. Yo said how can you blame the players for a financial system the owners agreed to. The contract is over and the owners have now decided not to agree to a new contract because they lost money. #3. Why do you keep money in a 401K when it loses money year after year? Because you hope someday the investment will eventually turn around!

    I care who the owner is! Because without the owners there is no league! The owners made the players and the players make EXCELLENT, no better than EXCELLENT MONEY. The players want to destroy the league! The players are making pleanty of money and have other opportunities like endorsements, movies that nobody else has the opportunity to have. It is just a matter of GREED by the players! Isn’t 20 or 30million enough? Now you want to bite the hand that feeds you? As far as I can see the players don’t care about the fans they only care about the money. This is so sad that this once was a sport but now has turned into a GREED FACTORY for the players.

    I don’t know who you are Jaypace but I can tell that you now a fan of the game, I think your either a wannabe player, a player or on a players payroll. You can’t spell and your use of the English language is horrible. Let me put it this way .

    The players have opportunities that normal people will never have. A free education, Salaries that are 500 times on an average or more that the average person. A pension plan that is beyond EXCELLENT. FREE healthcare. Free travel and bonuses. Now you also want to STEAL the owners business? How GREEDY can you get?

    Jaypace, don’t come on this site and start DEFENDING the players. There is no defense for your GREED.

  11. yournuts - Oct 15, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Listen Jaypace, Sorry you think the way you think. #1. The owners have decided not to pay the players now that the contract has expired. #2. You said how can you blame the players for a financial system that the owners agreed to. The contract is now over and the owners have now decided not to agree to a new contract because they lost money the last contract while the players were in a no lose situation. #3. Why do you keep money in a 401K when it loses money year after year? Because you hope someday the investment will eventually turn around!

    I care who the owner is! Because without the owners there is no league! The owners made the players and the players make EXCELLENT, no better than EXCELLENT MONEY. The players want to run the league which will destroy the league! The players are making pleanty of money and have other opportunities like endorsements and movies that nobody else has that kind of opportunities to have. To me I see it as just a matter of GREED by the players! Isn’t 20 or 30million enough? Now you want to bite the hand that feeds you, you want more and more? When is enough, enough? As far as I can see the players don’t care about the fans or about the sport, to me they only care about the money! This is so sad that this once was a sport but now has turned into a GREED FACTORY for the players.

    I don’t know who you are Jaypace but I can tell that your not a fan of the game, I think that your either a wannabe player, a player, or on some players payroll. You can’t spell and your use of the English language is horrible.

    Let me put it this way, the players have opportunities that normal people will never have, a free education, salaries that are 500 times on an average or more than the average person will ever see in his or her lifetime. I am talking about what the player makes in one year to what normal people, teacher, policeman, fireman etc. make in their lifetimes. A pension plan that is beyond EXCELLENT. FREE healthcare. Free travel and bonuses. Now you also want to STEAL the owners business? How GREEDY can you get?

    Jaypace, don’t come on this site and start DEFENDING the players. There is no defense for your GREED.

  12. igotitforthemelo83 - Oct 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Your nuts is a fitting name because it describes you perfectly from what I have read. Jayspace has a right to an opinion just like you. I agree with him on many points and disagree with you on many. For starters let’s get one thing straight both sides need each other period! None is more important than the other. Players need the NBA and NBA needs players or neither have anything. The players make a lot of money no one disputes this, but the NBA makes a lot of money as well. In the last deal that BOTH sides agreed to the players got 57%. they have not asked for a larger % of money they have tried to meet owners half way on their losses. It is ludicrous to expect the players to cover all the losses of the owners. What happened to accountability in bad management??? There are examples of poorly run teams and well run teams that span across large and small market. Smaller market teams have less room for error management wise because their earning potential is less to start there is nothing you can do about that. You can’t make Milwaukee into New York. It doesn’t mater who is playing there or what you do it’s not going to happen. How can you make the players take the fall for that. When management makes terrible decisions they have to live with that just as in any other business. Essentially the owners want a bailout from the players. There are players that do not deserve their contracts I agree with that. Management needs to stop signing these players and complaining about it after. In any business there is risk and I never heard of any rule that guarantees businesses profits.

  13. yournuts - Oct 15, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Hey Igotitformelo83, I think your wrong. The Owners don’t need the players half as much as the Players need the owners. What do the Players have? A union? That’s all. The Owners have, the Marketing plan, the Arena’s, the Television Contract, the Cable deal for the next 10 years.

    I am a fan of the Knicks, Have been for 40 some years. Whoever puts on the uniform I cheer for. If Melo is in a Knick uniform I go see him play and cheer for him, but if he is not in a knick uniform I could care less about him. Although I do want to see the best basketball from the best basketball players in the world I am willing to suffer another couple of years to see the state of professional basketball change for the better. I personally don’t like players being able to tell owners where there going to play during their contract years. I do like having unrestricted free agents when one’s contract expires but I want players to LIVE UP to their contracts. I’d like it to be a sport again.

    If the owners really wanted to they could easily put players who want to play into uniforms and start over. We would miss all the good players but they would come back within a year or two. The owners could easily do what the Football owners did during their lockout. THE PLAYERS IS NOT BIGGER THAN THE SPORT! Perhaps the sport will suffer for a year or two but it has suffered for the last 5 years where the players THINK they are bigger than the sport.

    If you are a real fan then you know that the players don’t rule the roost. That is like the patients ruling the insane asylum.

  14. igotitforthemelo83 - Oct 16, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Well we can agree on one thing I’m a huge Knicks fan as well. I love the Knicks and anyone who plays for them. Having said that I disagree with you on some points. People come to see superstars play period. the league might be successful with replacement players but there would not be any where near the draw if super star players are playing. You are totally wrong the owners need the players as much as the players need the owners. Their product is the best basketball in the world you can’t provide that product without the best players. If you think the owners are in the right then if they lower pay the players why not lower ticket prices for fans I believe tickets are over priced. I do not believe the players are absent of blame but you make it seem as if the owners are some saints and that is not the case they are as greedy as you are making the players out to be. Go NYK!

  15. balleriq - Oct 16, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    youruts, How is it greed by the players when they havn’t asked for anything and are actually willing to negotiate BRI? You talk as if they want more than what they have, they don’t, its the owners who want more. I agree that the league is imbalanced right now and a couple changes could take place, like the amnesty clause, but the players are needed just as bad as owners. That being said, they make a ton of mony, but how would you like it if your boss suddenly wanted you to take a paycut.

  16. yournuts - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Igotitformelo83, I know the owners are not saints but, they are the owners and as an owner you get to set some conditions. Lets look at what happened to the football lockout in 1987. Replacements players were hired and the regular players eventually signed the deal that the owners put on the table. Football took a little hit for that season but rebounded and became the most popular sport in America replacing baseball. The players realized that they needed the owners more than the owners needed them. Yes the quality of the sport suffered during the time of replacement players but the regulars players came to back and accepted the terms. This would most likely be the same story with the NBA.

    I know that it is hard to understand but the Stars of the NBA are only stars of the NBA because the NBA made them. Melo made his name playing in the NBA, Michael Jordan made his name playing in the NBA. The NBA created these stars and they got and are getting compensated highly. The old contract is over with the NBA Players Association. The Players Association is under the assumption that the negotiations should start where the old contract left off but, the owners will not make that mistake again! Many franchises lost money and the league suffered because certain franchises not being able to compete. Players were telling teams where they wanted or would play and the league started to look less like a league and and professional sports and more like entertainment for a few franchises. Players cared only for the money and didn’t have the fire to play to win.

    The Economics of the situation for the owners, weather it be any business is that if you are an owner and you pay 150 Million dollars for a franchise you risk the loss of your money and deserve a bigger piece of the action. Sharing a 50 50 split with the players is a fair offer for the owners. The players risk nothing, they have guaranteed contracts, but the owners risk everything. It has to be a win win situation for everyone. If the owners wanted 55% then maybe it wouldn’t be a win win for everybody.

    The players have been treated extremely well by the owners. High salaries, guarantee contracts, an outstanding pension, and free healthcare, they also get product endorsements, movies, and other financial opportunities.To me it is time for the players to step up and accept a split with the owners. If there is no basketball this fall and I don’t think there will be I put the blame squarely on the NBA Players Association. I say this because they know that the last contract was not fair to the owners but they wouldn’t move an inch to change anything. Now, they have to live with the consequences.

    Hey I hope we have basketball, go Knicks.

    balleriq, I hope this answers your question? Negotiate the BRI, OK 50 50, Is that fair? It would change the balance of the league.

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