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After meeting, union leaders reiterate they are unified front

Nov 3, 2011, 6:06 PM EDT

Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter AP

After every National Basketball Players Association meeting of any size, union leadership and players have stood together and preached unity. Often wearing matching T-shirts, because nothing says unity like matching clothing.

But this time the symbolism and words were needed.

With players smacking union leadership publicly and signs of division everywhere, the union’s executive committee stood side-by-side after a meeting Thursday and again preached unity heading into a weekend bargaining session with the league. Union president Derek Fisher and director Billy Hunter again denied that there is any rift between to them.

“We’ve had no problems, and that’s the reality,” Hunter told the Associated Press.

Fisher again denied he spoke with David Stern to set up a side deal, as Ken Berger of tweeted:

Asked if he promised NBA negotiators he’d be able to deliver a 50-50 deal to players, Fisher said, “No I did not.”

The players, however kept their “we’re nowhere close to a deal” face on. They said it was system and percentage of basketball related income combined, not just one simple thing that keeps the two sides apart.

“Obviously we’re going to have individual members in individual sets of circumstances that want to get back to play. We want to get back to play,” Fisher said. “But we realize the ramifications of agreeing to a bad deal at this moment. … This particular collective bargaining agreement will forever impact the circumstances of NBA basketball players. We can’t rush into a deal we feel is a bad deal just to save this season.”

Hopefully the union did find some unity in the last 24-48 hours, because a fractured union can’t make a labor deal. Maybe they were never as fractured as it appeared. Who knows? We do know the two sides start talking again on Saturday and we’ll see if they can finalize everything and get the season rolling.

  1. yournuts - Nov 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Your bed now lie in it. I hope there is no season. Imagine no paydays, one year less of playing for money that you will NEVER see. Good union, Maybe this weekend that the owners pull the 50/50 split and tell them that next week it will be a 52/48 split in the owners favor. PLAYERS SHOULD JUMP at this deal. It won’t get any better for the players if the owners are smart.

  2. thetooloftools - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Hello.. players.
    Are you reading this?
    The owners have been unified from DAY ONE !
    They know what they want, they know how to go about it, and they are not meeting trying to “stand firm” or find a consensus this late in the game.
    What are the players doing?
    The NBA is giving notice to arena’s well in advance they are cancelling games so they may be able to book other acts into those venues on those dates.
    What are the players doing?
    The NBA wants their teams to be more cost competitive which will drive fans into the seats like the NFL did and does.
    What are the players doing?
    The owners can write these losses off of their taxes.
    What are the players doing?
    What are the players doing?
    Losing money they will NEVER make up and wearing T-shirts to show solidarity.
    If it takes shutting the season down for the owners to get what they NEED to save the NBA and level the playing field in smaller markets… then I’m all in with the owners.
    Maybe Wade, James,and Bosh showed the rest of the NBA that what they did is NOT good for the NBA.
    But they are too blind to see it.
    Stand your ground OWNERS…
    I can live without NBA players because more are on the way.
    This product is yours NBA owners… not the players.
    Look at the guys coming back from Europe and they can’t even get “World Superstar Tours” together.
    What a sad joke.
    The players are just totally ignorant of the “modern reality” of the sports business model.
    The owners are laughing at your ugly t shirts too !
    I know I am.

  3. kandh2004 - Nov 3, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    It’s funny to me that the union say it’s unified. Do they really think that people believe that. If they were as unified as they say they wouldn’t need to hold a meeting every-time someone says something that they don’t like. Do the players who make less then the superstars really think that they can afford to waste a year,don’t think so. I just want to thank King James, Melo, and Bosh for forcing the leagues hand here. STAY STRONG OWNERS

  4. jollyjoker2 - Nov 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    the union is done. Put a fork in them. Seen this type of behavior a million times over. Now, its how do we save face when its 50-50. I guess, they get to walk away with platitudes.

  5. davemeisner - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    The players are really getting on my nerves… they say they “want to play..” but aren’t willing to negotiate. NBA owners are high profile business men and they are trying to negotiate billions of dollars with high school graduates and players that went to college for a year (just cause you dress nice doesn’t mean you know how to handle money)… get ready for the long haul. Gonna be a long lockout.

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