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Stern tries to frighten NBA players into taking deal

Oct 28, 2011, 7:39 PM EDT

NBA And Player's Association Meet To Negotiate CBA Getty Images

David Stern was masterful Friday afternoon.

He put on a frightful Halloween show for the NBA players watching at home.

Certainly it was all spin at his press conference following another day of blown up labor negotiations. He spoke to the media for about 15 minutes (it was broadcast on NBA TV) and NBA union president Derek Fisher would disagree with 14.5 minutes of it.

But the media and even you the fans were not the audience. The NBA players out there were the target. Make no mistake, Stern wanted to scare them. He wanted them to know they were losing money, will be losing more and need to call their union reps and say “take the deal.”

The scare tactics were about money, starting with what is lost with the cancelation of more games.

“I know for a fact in short run players will not be able to make (money lost from cancelled games) back, and probably will never be able to make it back,” Stern said.

He then tried to warn players that the offers the union was getting from the owners now were only going to get worse. Much worse. Because the owners were going to start decreasing offers due to revenue they are losing when games are not played. (Which is a brilliant bit of spin — the owners lose money when games are played, they lose more money when games are not played.)

Stern said the owners officially are offering the players 47 percent of the BRI but that they came into this day offering a 50/50 split out of the goodness of their hearts. Now, the offers will go down, Stern said.

Then Stern tried to throw union head Billy Hunter under the bus, saying Hunter would not budge off 52 and was the one who closed the books and walked out of the room. Stern portrayed himself as a guy who wanted to sit in the room and talk, it was the players who screwed everything up.

Of course, that’s not how Hunter sees it. He said every time the players made a concession the owners “eyes got bigger” and they pushed for more. He said the NBA was not negotiating in good faith.

And you can bet that is the message the union will get out to players starting Friday night. That this breakdown was all the owners and the union will not back down in its fight for the players. The union has remained largely unified so far, but we’ll see if that changes now that paychecks will be lost.

But know that Stern, again, got in the first volley at the rank-and-file players. We’ll see how that works.

  1. mikey1977 - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I’ll boycott this league for a long time…very long. People seem to forget that the economy is in peril, compared to ’98…people will not nor should they be so forgiving…wise up NBA, especially you overpriced arrogant players…two leagues currently dominate the US landscape…that’s the NFL and MLB…the NBA is a distant third place league…Cancel the season…it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out the BRI once the season is lost…I can’t wait to see half filled arena’s…the league and its players will suffer for its ignorance and blatant disregard for the fans…remember, it is we the fans whom fill your already overstuffed pockets…that goes for both players and owners…

  2. mikey1977 - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    David…I Guess you’re forgetting the fact that the US struggles, when it takes the international stage…yes,Dallas played great team basketball…unfortunately three quarters of the league is built on 1 on 1 isolation plays…yes the foreign leagues are fundamentally better…I think you’ve misunderstood my the way Pau Gasol would agree with me.

  3. yournuts - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    There are NBA players writing here and their friends. It makes no sense at all. Give me just one reason why I would side with the players? Just one intelligent reason?

    • iamdanabnormal - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      the owners care less about you than the players do.

  4. jaypace - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    If you boss came to you and said I paid this other guy too much money and I want everybody at the office to give back 5% of business related income going forward, because I’m not making enough would you be considered greedy for standing up for yourself. Let me explain how this works, you have a player who is represented by an agent. The agent’s job is to to get the best deal for his client. On the team side you have a gm, a cap specialist and an owner. Both sides come together and negotiate a deal that should work for both sides. So now owners want to complain about competitive balance when it was them and their mgt team that decided to give Gilbert arenas 100 mil or Andre igudala 80 mil. You would think at some point someone on mgt side would say you know what he should really do our homework because this deal might handcuff us going forward if it doesn’t work. Their are levels of mgt that can put a halt to a deal and check and balance each other, no one holds a gun to an owners head and tells them to sign a deal with a player. My next point competitive balance, what a joke. I’ll use lebron as an example. I believe he wanted to stay in Cleveland. But couldnt get anyone to come play there. Let’s see play in south beach or Cleveland, that’s a tough choice. He took less money to play somewhere else, that’s his choice as a fa. Who wants to play in Minnesota, or Milwaukee or cleveland when if you can play in ny, la or Miami. Okc is not a huge market but the are competitive because of sound basketball decisions. Owners make bad moves now want the players to give up money because the owners feel they should be making more. I’m sorry I find it hard to believe 22 of 30 teams are losing money. If I’m an owner I’m jumping ship right now, who continually pumps money into a losing business. Players have made concessions now it’s time for owners to do the same.

  5. rreducla1 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Again, give me one, just one reason to support the players side that I can live with?

    If it wasn’t for the owners and the media contracts then these players would be not so recognizable or famous.


    And if it weren’t for LeBron James and the NBA Players, Dan Gilbert would just be a rich cheeseball from Cleveland of whom no one, other than the people who depend on him for income, would be aware. David Stern would just be an overweight corpprae lawyer if it weren’t for Michael Jordan.

    The players need the league, but the league needs the players.

    You are making the same mistake most people make, and this is one reason the owners have stayed at 50: people assume that anything that is “50/50” is inherently fair. Stern knows that it makes a great soundbite.

    In 2011, the league’s revenues went up–again, to 3.817 billion, in spite of the lack of “competitive balance.” Even with the BRI at 57%, the league still owed the players money, since total salaries came up short of the 57% mark. The league as a whole made money.

    In spite of these things, the players have given back five percentage points of the BRI, the equivalent of a 3-4 billion dollars or more over a seven-year deal. The owners, on the other hand, have still not worked out a revenue-sharing plan among themselves.

    There are two reasons the NBA will never be the NFL:

    1. The nature of the sport
    2. The fact that the NFL, alone among all US professional sports leagues, has a completely national TV deal, split among all the teams. No other sport can do this.

    The Lakers and the Celtics just signed gargantuan cable deals. If the owners really gave a crap about competitive balance, Priority 1 would be revenue sharing. They don’t, though, so Priority 1 is getting as much money out of the NBAPA as possible, and making people think they’re doing it for the fans. They aren’t.

  6. rreducla1 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    That should be “corporate.”

  7. rreducla1 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM


    Take a hike.

  8. lucky5934 - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    The 2011 NBA Finals aside, the NBA just doesn’t put out a good product anymore. I am sure people love watching the NBA, but it is not nearly as good as it was in the 80’s and 90’s. The team aspect is missing in the NBA. Yes the NBA has great athletes and amazing ball players. But it is a team sport and like it or not, that is where European basketball shines a little more. The salaries have gotten out of hand and as a result most NBA teams have followed similar scripts of one or two good players and average players everywhere else. The NBA is essentially broken. Now instead of both sides working together to figure out how to improve the NBA, they want to fight about money. Now I can declare that I won’t watch this season. Heck, I doubt my viewership will even be missed. Even more so though, I won’t miss the NBA. Not at this rate. I don’t see how the NBA will ever fix itself with misguided priorities. But the players and owners will eventually solve this issue and make their money. In the meantime and beyond that day, it is the fans who will continue to suffer.

  9. mikey1977 - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I think I’ll stick around…I’m offering sound opinions…cool with me if you stick around though too…I welcome others opinions amigo

  10. mikey1977 - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Great “dream team”excuse….er reason I meant reason.

  11. mikey1977 - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    My point is other countries players are playing together and are also comprised of the best players in that international league…often times they’re coming together for the first time too…

  12. heat24 - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    @ rreducla1

    Right on to your initial point! The NBA has always been about the next dynasty, and this competitive balance baloney the league is marketing is hogwash that they are trying to get the public to by in on. This lockout is moreso about control. Yeah I agree that there is an economic aspect that should be addressed but not all off the backs of the players.

  13. heat24 - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    And…the NBA has never nor will ever be the NFL or NHL. David Stern and his mouthpiece Silver thinks someone head screws on and off.

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