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Union leaders to talk, just don’t expect a vote on Stern’s plan

Nov 7, 2011, 8:39 AM EDT

Derek Fisher AP

We know one thing that will not come out of Monday’s teleconference of NBA players’ union leadership — a vote on David Stern’s ultimatium.

Union sources have said the leadership is not going to present Stern’s offer – a 49-51 percent band on basketball related income, a mini mid-level exception for tax paying teams (but no sign-and-trades for them) and a few other things — to the membership. That was something Henry Abbott at TrueHoop was reporting not long after the meeting blew up Saturday night.

There may be a push from some in the union to get a vote on it (because it might well pass) but union leadership — including director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher — sees the as Stern and the owners being bullies and the players will not give in.

But aside that offer, just about anything else is on the table in the teleconference, including decertification, according to Matt Bonner speaking to the Spurs Nation blog at the Express-News.

Bonner said the executive would discuss all aspects of the impasse in its Monday conference call, including a move by some agents to collect enough player names on petitions to call for a vote that could decertify the union….

Decertification would allow players to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the league, but the more important immediate result would be some leverage for the union during roughly 45 days it would take for the National Labor Relations Board to arrange a vote of all 450 members of the union….

“I’m sure we’ll talk about everything on the call,” Bonner said.

My guess: The union is just pretty much going to dismiss and ignore Stern’s ultimatum and deadline. When they sit down again and Stern comes back in with his lower offer, the players are pretty much going to ignore that and negotiate from where the team’s left off. We’ll see how that goes.

Also, the players union will let decertification start to play out. The union has the signed cards and can ask for a decertification vote whenever it wants, or it can let the agents pushing the idea do it. Either way, they think that the 45 (to 60 days) it would take to get to an actual vote might be their best chance because the unpredictability of the court system is something the owners want to avoid.

Whether the union could actually get the votes to decertify is another question. But, by the time the players would vote it would be late December and if there is no deal by then the entire 2011-12 season will be in danger of being lost. And at that point, decertification might sound like a good idea to the players.

Sadly, by that point, the owners and players would have dramatically shrunk the revenue they are fighting over, because fans will turn away.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Nov 7, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Right, because why would they let the entire union vote on the league’s latest offer(“because it might well pass” God Forbid!!!!) when they can just decertify and blow a whole season or two? That’s definitely the smart thing to do. Good job, union leadership.

  2. bestfffff - Nov 7, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    There may be a push from some in the union to get a vote on it (because it might well pass

    That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. I thought the majority rules. If most of the union is in favor of accepting the deal how can the minority hold it up?

  3. hail2tharedskins - Nov 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    Before the union leadership sits down to plan their course of action, they have a duty to the membership they (are suppose to) represent to see if they are satisified with the current offer on the table and get back to work. But of course since that doesn’t paint the union leadership in the best light they won’t do that regardless of whether or not the that’s what the people they represent want.

    Considering that a decertification (which I think is nothing but a bluff) would sacrifice the entire season, if a majority of players really would accept the current offer to return to work there would be a great chance that once the union decertified there would be a new push to start a new union before next season and leave the current union leadership behind and undercut any anti-trust suit. If it were to play out that way, a new union with even less leverage would be accepting a lesser deal than the one currently on the table.

    I say give the actual players (not union leadership) a chance to vote on the current proposal, if the players reject it then they have their mandate to keep fighting, but if the deal is accepted then you can end this thing and move on. The union can even recommend that the players reject the deal before giving them the chance to vote, but at least give them a chance to vote.

  4. dcipher80 - Nov 7, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    “There may be a push from some in the union to get a vote on it (because it might well pass) but union leadership — including director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher — sees the as Stern and the owners being bullies and the players will not give in.”

    Exactly why you shouldn’t have Billy Hunter and Fisher leading the charge. If they don’t represent the wishes of the majority of their constituents then they should be given a vote of no confidence. I can understand why the players don’t like the proposal (they want to make the most money they can in whatever market they want) and that’s fine but the owners want to make the nba more profitable and competitive which creates a better situation for everyone (fans, owners, and even the players). Let the NBA start contracting (and it’s close to that in a few markets) because the lack of profits and the system scaring off potential buyers, then we’ll see if Fisher and Hunter will support the out of work players and their families.

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