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David Stern: “We are going to make a deal”

Nov 8, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

David Stern, Adam Silver AP

NBA Commissioner is back on his media tour bus… in a metaphorical sense. Stern wouldn’t actually get on a bus. But he is doing a lot of media interviews right now as he spins his side of the ugly lockout story and essentially tries to talk to the players directly about taking the deal on the table.

What he said to Stephen A. Smith of ESPNNewYork when asked about losing the season was interesting, however (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“I refuse to contemplate it or discuss because we are going to make a deal. (Host: So you’re confident?) Unlike any other deal, if I don’t bid enough for your house you don’t have to sell it to me. Or if you ask too much I don’t have to buy it. Our players, there’s going to be a deal. The only question is how much damage is done to the game and our fans and the people who work in our industry before we make that deal.”

He’s right, there will be a deal someday. It’s vintage Stern in that it’s a great quote and headline, but it’s meaning is vague. Besides, to make a deal would require the two sides actually sitting down and meeting, and as of this writing no talks are scheduled.

Stern also talked about the pressure from hardline owners who thought he has already given up too much. Those owners may not make up a majority, but they make up a significant enough minority that Stern has to keep them happy. And, Stern is happy to use them as leverage against the union as well (“take this nice deal I’m offering you or I will have to release the hounds”).

I still think the biggest goal in all of the media stops is to talk over the heads of Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and the union leadership to pressure the rank and file players on taking the deal. To try and force a groundswell of players willing to take the deal that the union can’t ignore.

He’s smart, that Stern.

That said, nobody is making a deal if they don’t sit down together and have a meeting.

  1. danielcp0303 - Nov 8, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    If you know there is going to be a deal, then why the hell weren’t the owners and players figuring out a deal 3 or 4 months ago? They could’ve gone all the way up until the preseason if they wanted to…both sides wanted to wait and use power instead of doing things the easy way.

  2. marcusfitzhugh - Nov 8, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I could be wrong, but I believe the owners of individual teams vote. I believe they vote on everything offered. What percentage of BRI to offer, hard cap, sign and trade, everything. The players allow their representatives to steer their ship. If the individual players were allowed to vote, we may not have missed ANY games – preseason included. It’s unknown why the players aren’t allowed to vote. I know it’s a union rule, but why is it a rule? Is union management afraid the players as a group will make unwise decisions? If that’s the case, it shouldn’t be, should it? If the players make a bad decision – it’s their decision to make. They’re smart enough to earn their money, smart enough to spend their money, so why can’t they vote on issues concerning “their money”?

    It certainly isn’t because it’s too difficult for the 450 players to vote. If that is truly the problem, pay someone like me, and I’ll design and implement a system that allows the players to vote from a smartphone. They can have instant tallies, multiple choices, and if they want, they can change their mind back and forth on issues all the way up to any voting deadline they choose. I’ll do it for one quarter of one percent of the money lost by this labor disagreement – and I’ll retire a very wealthy man.

    So really, why can’t the players vote?

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