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NBA players reject Stern’s ultimatum, want more negotiations

Nov 8, 2011, 5:06 PM EDT

NBPA Representatives Meet To Discuss NBA Lockout Getty Images

The NBA players have made their position clear — they are not taking your deal, David Stern. They reject your ultimatum. They want to keep negotiating, but need more system changes to make a deal.

And don’t expect that deal before Stern’s deadline of end of business Wednesday. After which he said the owners would pull this offer off the table and put back on it things like salary rollbacks, a smaller revenue share to players and a hard salary cap — all things the union will not accept.

The players are essentially going to ignore Stern’s deadline and threats and keep on negotiating. They did say they would reach out to the league and try to set up another round of negotiations in the next day or so.

There were 43 players in a three-hour meeting in New York and they came out speaking of unity in being opposed to what the owners have offered.

“Our orders are clear right now, the current offer that is on the table from the NBA is not one we are able to accept…” Fisher said in a press conference broadcast on NBA TV Tuesday. “We’re open-minded about potential compromises on our (basketball related income) number, but there are things in the system that we have to have.”

Fisher and Hunter said it is more about system issues, things like the mid-level exception, sign-and-trade for tax payers and the luxury tax itself rather than just the split of revenue. The players feel like they gave up a lot of money in BRI and with that should have bought a system closer to what exists in the league now. The owners want the money and the system changes that would rein in big spending teams. The owners call it “competitive balance” but it is really about controlling salaries.

Hunter and Fisher both said there was little talk of decertification of the union, something agents and some players have pushed for as a way to give the players some leverage (though anti-trust lawsuits against the league). Hunter said decertification is not worthwhile right now.

Players said there was an aggressive tone in the room, that they were not going to back down. And there was talk of Michael Jordan, the owner who has become the poster child of the league hardliners.

“I would give him the advice he gave Abe Pollin,” Hunter said, referring to Jodan’s comment in 1999 that the Wizards owner should sell his team if he couldn’t turn a profit.

If the owners really stick by their guns now on the rollback on the offer you can kiss Christmas Day games goodbye for sure, and maybe the entire season. It looks like things will get uglier before they get better.

  1. somekat - Nov 8, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    players are classic. League has been a joke for years, because nobody cares outside of 5-6 cities. But they should keep all the rules the same?

    Going to be classic when they are forced to take a deal much worse than what they were offered today

  2. jleimer - Nov 8, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Folks we can kiss the season goodbye with this move as I see both sides not budging worth one inch.

  3. hail2tharedskins - Nov 8, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    How do you reject an ultimatum then say you want more negotiations? This is not going to end well for the players. If they were prepared to reject the deal they should have said we are ready to decertify and take this to court. You can’t make a power play and then immediately follow it by taking a position of weakness. If you wanted to continue negotiating, you should have done so with the goal of doing it before Wednesday. It doesn’t make since to publically call down Stern’s bluff. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that and the owners will make sure their next offer is based on a BRI number giving the players’ less than 50%. If they players were going to reject this deal and not proceed with decertification, they should have at least made a public counterproposal and put the pressure on the owners. The owners can just sit back now and wait for the union to beg for another meeting (on the owners terms) meanwhile the dissent amongst players will continue to grow. This really doesn’t make sense to me, time is not on the players’ side. If they don’t feel they have the leverage to force the owners off their position then they need to quit stalling and take the deal on the table. If they feel they have a power play left they need to make it, if they lose a season 90% of the union will greatly regret it.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 8, 2011 at 7:41 PM

      Decertification doesn’t really work the way you seem to think it does, and the players are saying they want to negotiate. The owners are saying they don’t. Since a large percentage of the public seems to be rabidly and comically pro-owner, people will mostly miss this point.

      • hail2tharedskins - Nov 8, 2011 at 8:17 PM

        I understand exactly how decertification and a subsequent anti-trust suit works. I don’t even think they should go that route, but clearly it is the only play they have left. So, either pull the trigger now or accept the deal. The players wanting to negotiate doesn’t mean squat if the owners are done negotiating. For the record the owners haven’t said they are done negotiating, they said any further negotions would see the current deal pulled off the tabel and the owners would propose the hardliners’ stance of giving the players a 47% of BRI. Bottom line, unless you think the owners are playing there is nothing left for the players to negotiate – continued negotiations will yield less than whats currently on the table. So if you aren’t going to accept the current deal then you better be prepared to make your next move (unless you know of some other strategy the players can employ the only thing left for them to do is decertify and take the dispute to the courts – while I don’t agree some people think just the threat of calling a decertification vote would budge the owners off their current stance).

  4. bigrele - Nov 8, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    GOOD! I’m so glad to hear the players/union rejected dictator Stern & his incompetent lackey owners ultimatum, excellent! Stand up for what you believe & don’t allow some jakked up pathetic imbecile owners & their 20 million puppet Stern dictate to you what you are going to accept! ESPECIALLY when its suppose to be a “collective BARGAINING agreement”, a NEGOTIATION! I truly hope this results in decertification & ends up going to court & the players end up winning or at best get whats fair in this process; bottom line is fans do not go to & fill up arenas to see some fat-ass owner sitting in a pressbox or luxury suite, they go because they love the game & to see the superstars who MADE the damn game what it is today. David Stern did NOT make the NBA the big money making machine it is today, it was done off the backs of NBA legends such as Kareem, Magic, Bird, Dr J & Michael Jordan! Yes I’ll give Stern some credit for managing the aspects a commissioner has to do to maintain good order in the league & what not but he is not overlord dictator who’s every word is law & knows whats best for the game, he’s doing only what his fool ass mismanaging jackass owners want him to do & that’s to receive a bailout from the players end of the money pot to make up for their incompetence. Also for those same STUPID ass idiotic posters on here who continue to post the same tired ass BS that I’ve read since day one about: “nowhere does an employee dictates or negotiate his salary to his employer blah blah blah BS, STFU & get a clue you dumbass idiotic imbeciles! YOU ARE SO STUPID! Stop trying to compare YOUR peon ass daily wages to that of those who make millions & billions, there is NO COMPARISON whatsoever nor does your existence at your job equal shared profit! You MAKE someone profit BUT know that you ARE expendable & can be replaced, nor does your stay or talents make a beneficial profit for you & your employer, you can be replaced easily; however in the NBA these owners are dependent on these athletes talents to fill the arenas & they are in a SHARED business venture AND are not expendable which is why these incompetent owners sign them to ridiculous amounts of money, HELLO?!!!! Furthermore if these players were/are so selfish, expendable & so on then why have the owners & the league not opened the arenas & filled them with strike players? Wanna know why? Cause they cannot be replaced nor would anyone waste their time filling arenas for Joe Schmoe offf the street NOR would anyone waste their time watching the garbage from home, in other words there would be bad ratings and no attendance. Finally if the players had no leg to stand on then why did the league file the suit to the NLRB to try & stop decertification? Hmmm…..I wonder, maybe cause they know they got a good chance to win in court, oh and one final thing as well; for those that continue to post that same tired ole BS you keep coming back about “not going to miss the NBA & let them go & who cares, it sucks & so on. If that’s the case then STFU & stop posting on here every fukkin day then! Go away! Fukk off! Get a fukkin life already! If you don’t give a sh!t about the NBA or the so-called greedy players then why do you KEEP posting that same tired ass line you useless fat-azz trolls?!

  5. mogogo1 - Nov 8, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    I don’t think either side really wants a deal, given how they’ve been acting. First, the players: They should have shot back a reasonable counter offer to the owners to put the ball in their court. Don’t say you want more negotiations when the sides are apparently pretty close–present your own ultimatum or decertify. On the other hand, the owners seem most concerned with rubbing it in the players’ faces. Stern knew they’d call his bluff–he might as well of demanded they bow down to him and call him “master.” And the owners last offer was clearly designed to prove they could make the players take a little less than they said they would.

  6. jollyjoker2 - Nov 8, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    The players response is bizarre. The players gave up nothing. The contract was over and now they are negotiating for a new contract. If I was a money losing owner, I would tell them all to stick it and additionally, hold out until I got every nickel I could.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 8, 2011 at 7:38 PM

      A few guys have said this; like you, they are all dead wrong. If the last contract had nothing to do with this negotiation, the owners would simply have offered 37/63 or whatever, said take it or leave it, and taken their chances in court.

      Saying this is a “new contact” and “the players gave up nothing” is a just a faux-logical way of saying, “I want the owners to get whatever they want. I am rooting for the owners.”

  7. dcipher80 - Nov 8, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    How could Fisher say that his orders are clear if they haven’t called the body and asked for a vote…. Both Hunter and Fisher are schumks.

  8. elvoid - Nov 8, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    NCAA basketball is about to start. Who needs the NBA? Hell with these guys – all of ’em – owners and players. Millionaires and billionares can’t agree on who gets what – well, boo-hoo-hoo. Losing the NFL would have been awful. Losing the NBA would be like losing the NHL: Just not that many people will care.

  9. mannyicey - Nov 8, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I think the entire season is lost. I would be surprised if they get together and have a season. The sides are too far away and the effects aren’t felt as strong.

  10. rreducla1 - Nov 8, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    The problem hail2theskins has is that he sees the whole decert thing entirely from the owners POV. Sean Deveney explains it from Hunter’s:

    • hail2tharedskins - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      Hail doesn’t have a problem and understands what is going on a lot better than you. And what is that bullchit article about Hunter’s perdpective? This isn’t suppose to be about Hunter it is suppose to be about the players he represents. As I said in my previous response time is not on the players’ side, sure Hunter doesn’t see and urgency he is getting paid throught the process it is the players who are losing game checks in a career that won’t be extended by the corresponding missed time. As I said before I am not a proponent of going the decertification route. But at this point in the game, you either have to make that move or accept the deal and end this you can’t just sit there kill more time (and players’ careers in the process). While if you are looking from Billy Hunter’s perspective, sure he has the luxury of waiting since he is being paid as this drags on and if the union does decertify he would be sidelined. Sorry I don’t choose to feel his interests should matter in this, it should be about the owners and players. Now, if you have a better solution please feel free to share with us what the union should do (since you think you understand the situation so much better than me).

  11. rreducla1 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Hail doesn’t have a problem and understands what is going on a lot better than you. And what is that bullchit article about Hunter’s perdpective?


    The point is simple, as Deveney explained: if they want to go the decert route, there is nothing little to be gained, leverage-wise, by doing it NOW, as you asserted. It isn’t, as Deveney said, “a time-sensitive issue”, and there are other factors involved, as the article points out– and all of which you ignored, of course.

    And obviously no one, except the people involved, can say “what the union should do.” Paul Pierce is the leader of the decert contingent and supposedly he already has 200 signatures, and there are at least that many pleyers who probably want to take the deal.

    There is certainly a good case to be made for taking the deal. If they’re not going to, though, decertifying TODAY doesn’t really help them.

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