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Stern responds to allegations he’s not bluffing by saying he’s not bluffing

Nov 13, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

NBA Commissioner Stern speaks to reporters in New York Reuters

In the midst of this fantastically stupid game of chicken being played by the NBA and NBPA, the result of which will be a colossal train wreck resulting in massive damage to major economic entity, the loss of hundreds of jobs, and irreparable damage to the sport of professional basketball, right in the center stands the idea of “Stern’s Bluff.”

When Stern threatened to drop to the cap reset this past Wednesday at 5 p.m. without a deal, the deadline passed without a single plague, fire, earthquake, or cat-and-dog domestic union. So that was one bluff that didn’t go through, though you could take Stern’s side and say they “stopped the clock” or whatever. Now with the same threat looming over the current offer, the league has rattled its sabre about the incoming missile attack of 47 percent and a flex cap. The agents, because they’re agents and live to beat the other guy and not actually make a deal and who have substantially longer-term priorities than the career-spans of their current clients, do not believe him.

That’s what decert comes down to. No one actually believes decertification is an option. No one believes this strategy will work, because even if the players were to get a favorable ruling outright, then have the court recommend an injunction of the current lockout, and then get the appellate court to stay the injunction during the appeals proceedings, then have the initial ruling upheld by a significantly pro-NBA district court and so on up…. it would take too long to get that process through in order for it to be worth it to either side and either one caves or the other or the league dies. But the threat is supposed to get the league off its hard line, blow them back off the full-court press and to the bargaining table. And in addition, the agents are sure, just absolutely sure that the league is bluffing about the offer.

Stern would like to tell you he’s not bluffing. From the AP:

“Yes, I am worried,” Stern said, “because theyre talking up this thing called decertification which is not a winning strategy on the one hand. On the second hand, itll take three months to teach them its not a winning strategy, which would not augur well for the season.

The agents misunderstand it and all it does is delay things. They themselves think that if the players decertify, then the league will change its offer. And that will not happen as a result of decertification. Its a losing strategy for them.”

via Stern: Greedy agents hurting chances of NBA deal – NBA- NBC Sports.

Oh, and about those agents?

“By some combination of mendacity and greed, the agents who are looking out for themselves rather than their clients are trying to scuttle the deal,” Stern said in a phone interview. “They’re engaged in what appears to be an orchestrated Twitter campaign and a series of interviews that are designed to deny the economic realities of the proposal.”

“No one talks about the rise in compensation under the deal, no one talks about the amount of money being spent,” Stern said. “I just think that the players aren’t getting the information, the true information from their agents, who are banding together, sort of the coalition of the greedy and the mendacious, to do whatever they can not to have fewer opportunities for the agents to make money.”

via Stern: ‘Greedy’ agents hurting chances of NBA deal – NBA- NBC Sports.

Well, geez, David, how do you really feel? Don’t hold back. Let it all out.

So, as I am wont to do, I’d like to break this down to its simplest terms.

David Stern is publicly responding to allegations that he is bluffing by saying he is not bluffing, which, if he is bluffing, is another bluff about the matter of him bluffing. 

That sound you hear is me pounding my head against the wall.

So Monday, we’ll find out if Stern’s bluffing or not, and if he’s not, the union will have no choice but to blow up the season. If you’re wondering where the red phone is to stop this entire disaster, surprise! It’s a banana, and we’re all doomed.

  1. acieu - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    FTNBAPA … old army saying slightly revised

  2. tomlotter1948 - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    To be a viable league, all teams need to be able to compete , money wise on a level playing field…which is not the case now…that will make the league more competative, and more fun for fans to watch, and many small market teams might see an increase in attendance…

  3. leearmon - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Thats completely false. Give me an example of a league where all the teams compete? The NFL is king of american sports, however The Redskins haven’t hosted a playoff game in 20 years, while only winning 2 playoff games in that span. The Browns have been to the playoffs once in close to 15 years. The Bills have one season over .500 in the past 11. The Lions just got good after being the poster child of a failed franchise for over a decade.

    Point being, there are always going to be good and bad franchises, no matter market size, hard caps, or player movement. Again, the Redskins are a key example of a team that is located in a large market, spends tons of money and always brings in high valued free agents, (Stubbefield, Deion, Bruce Smith, Lloyd, Andre Carter, Haynesworth etc) yet never seems to win. So what will be the owner’s excuse after the new changes are implemented for teams with bad front offices? Players are overpaid, but they provide a trade, and they SHOULD be paid according to their varying success. But lets not forget, GMs and Presidents of Basketball Ops also get paid lots, and lots of money, whether they succeed or not. Looking at you David Kahn, Ernie Grunfeld, Otis Smith etc.

    • richsaint - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      The one thing you are missing there is that those teams have had….dun dun dun dun bad management.
      Lions-worst management in sports, bad drafts, bad free agents.
      Redskins-bad coaching combined with a overzealous owner who wishes he was mark cuban but instead is a failure.
      browns-an expansion team that has still been to the playoffs (how about the charlotte bobcats how have they done?)

      Overall the NFL has parity, teams that are bad get to be good again and there is a feel at any point in time that a team can get better.
      The Rams went to two and won one Super Bowl and they were in the most literal sense the worst team of the 90’s. Know who was the 3rd worst team of the 90’s? The Colts. They have been to two and won one Super Bowl this decade and been to the playoffs perennially.

      The Patriots were another team that underachieved in the 90’s look at them now.
      The NBA has two options, be baseball (Which I love) and have a few teams constantly competing, largely based on economics and them being able to put out more money than any other team (I’ll see your celtics lakers and raise you Red Sox-Yankees) or be the NFL where Pittsburgh, baltimore and cincinnati are currently in a virtual tie for first place in a division (BTW Baltimore used to be the browns, they sucked in cleveland and have again become a perennial play off team and won a SB) a league where Buffalo, is competing with the NY Jets, where oakland arguably one of the worst franchises of the last decade is currently leading a division, where every year you grow your league because almost every team feels like they have hope. The Saints, once again one of the worst franchises in the league just a couple of years ago, has won a SB and is a regular play off team.
      The NFL just like the NBA only has so many play off teams so not every team will make it every year, but in a league where my once hapless bengals have been to the playoffs twice in the last half decade and appear ready to go again, anything can happen and it leaves me with hope which is more than I can say for the fans of the cleveland cavaliers.

      • leearmon - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        You have made several incorrect statements in your post. You joke about the Bobcats, however they are an expansion teams, the excuse you used for the current Browns team, and they went to the playoffs two seasons ago. Jordan and company however blew that project up, trading Tyson Chandler for change, and failing to re-sign Raymond Felton who is greatly underpaid as it is.

        You say bad teams get to be good again in the NFL, as if they don’t in the NBA? The Knicks were worse than Patriots of the 90s (remember they went to a Super Bowl, and made the playoffs 4 times in the 90s. From 2000-2010 the Knicks made the playoffs only once. Need another example?

        The Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol, who in his time in Memphis didn’t win 1 playoff game. Then last year, they go 7 games in the conference semi-finals. How about this. Oklahoma City is an expansion team, yet if memory serves me right, they made their first trip to the playoffs two seasons ago, then went to the Conference Championships this past season. How about this. Name me one time in the history of the NFL where a team finished with one of the 3 worst records in the league, then turn around and win the championship the very next season. That speaks to parity to me. Its happened in the NBA, and it hasn’t yet happened in the HISTORY of the NFL.. Of course Im talking about the Celtics, and its important to note that Boston was an awful team throughout much of the 90’s and the greater part of the 2000s.

        Dynasties don’t just happen in the NBA and MLB. For every Lakers, there are a Patriots. For every Celtics, there are the Giants. But there are no Spurs in the NFL. While the Packers are a small market, they have won only 2 Super Bowls in 15 years. The Spurs won 4 championships in a 9 year span.

        Finally this is the issue that I cannot understand at all. You clearly can understand how a bad front office can do harm in the NFL i.e. Redskins, Lions etc. Why is it hard for you to then understand how bad front offices can do the same type of harm in the NBA. Name me a good team with a bad front office. Better yet, name me a good team with a bad front office. I really would like to hear someone’s opinion on that. My point is clear, bad front offices = bad team. And while the Bengals have made the playoffs twice in the last half decade, how many playoff games have they won? Much less than the Cavaliers of the last half decade huh?

      • leearmon - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        * Good team with a bad front office.

      • somekat - Nov 13, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        leearmon, bad form to talk about someone else’s “incorrect” statements, then make you own.

        OKC is not and never was an expansion team. They are the sonics. A moved team is not the same as a expansion team.
        Your second paragraph proved the point. The Knicks and the Pats were the same. The Knicks went down for a decade, and had to tank several seasons to get in position to put a good team together
        Comparing title numbers is again proving his point. You can list the NBA champs of the last 20 years using 1 finger from you second hand (Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Mavs, Bulls, Pistons).
        The rules can’t help bad management. But they can make it virtually impossible to make up for a bad management call, like the NBA does. You make a bad signing in the NFL, you can clear it within 2 years. You do it in the NBA, you cripple your franchise for a decade

        Even attempting the debate that the NBA and NFL competitiveness is comparable is either idiotic, blind, or just a joking. There is only one way to fix a team that is average in the NBA. Become terrible, hope to grab a few superstars in the draft, and rebuild that way.

      • leearmon - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        You are correct, the Thunder are not an expansion team. I can admit when I am wrong, however you did conveniently leave out the point about the Bobcats. The absurdity of saying “The Knicks and the Pats were the same” is laughable at best. Again, in the 90s the Patriots went to a superbowl, and made 4 playoff appearances. The Knicks from 2000-2010 have only been to two playoffs, and were swept in the first round in one of them. There is no way on Earth you can compare a team who has been to 6 Super Bowls in approx 20 years to a team that hasnt made the finals since 99. I would love for you to expalin this logic. You say the Knicks had to go down for a decade, exactly when were the Pats “down a decade” again?

        Im not sure how old you are, so I will give you a history lesson. Dynasties in the NBA didnt just start in the last 20 years. In fact if you go back to 1970 (41 years) there have only been 15 different NBA champions. So why the need for drastic system changes now? Im asking these questions, hoping you or someone will answer them, however im not confident in that, seeing as though most times posters with your point of view see the facts then chose to ignore them all together.

        For what seems like the 5th time, the Redskins have made several bad signings and they havent been able to turn anything around. Same for the Browns, Dolphins and Bills. And to say a NBA team can’t succeed with a bad management decision is just lazy and categorically false. The Mavs just signed Brendan Haywood to a foolish contract, yet they won the championship. The year before the Lakers let Trevor Ariza go and signed Ron Artest to a deal he was not worth. Yet they still won the title. The Heat went to the finals this year despite the corpse of Mike Miller and his bad contract. The Bulls had the best record of the year without much help from Carlos Boozer (who took time away from Gibson) and Kyle Korver, both bad signings. See the trend?

        Finally, to steal a line from you “bad form to talk about someone else’s incorrect statements, then make your own” In the last 20 years 8 teams, not 6, have won the NBA championships. Bulls, Rockets, Spurs, Lakers, Pistons, Heat, Celtics, Mavs.

      • somekat - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        That is the point. The bobcats are an expansion team, and are therefore terrible. Saying they snuck in to the playoffs once, with a core of a team which would of been lucky to do the same thing, is laughable. The latest expansion team in the NFL? Houston. They’ve been MUCH better, and are in the race every year (in a sport where half the league doesn’t make the playoffs)

        I don’t care how old you are, but you aren’t smart (or well infromed enough) to give me a history lesson on anything. A Dynastry from the 70’s? Really? You do realize that happened because players had NO rights and couldn’t leave the team that drafted them, correct? Besides, bringing up ANYTHING from an era that didn’t include goaltending, palming, 3 seconds in the lane, etc is idiotic

        The knicks and the pats, again, you proved my point. The pats were able to change almost seemlessly. Because it is possible in the NFL. However, the Knicks made a few bad signings (Spreewell, Houston, etc), and their franchise was doomed for a decade.

        But please, give me another 8 paragraph book of a response that does nothing but prove my point of how broken the nba is, and keep ignoring the question of the last team you would consider average that didn’t have to tank to the bottom of the league to get up to elite level

      • leearmon - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        8 paragraphs equals a book to you? Well that explains a lot. Ill try to keep it short this time because you clearly have trouble reading/understanding detailed, specific writing. Maybe it makes your head hurt. You know words and all…

        The fact that you site the Texans as an argument is quite telling. You are aware that the Texans have been in the NFL longer than the Bobcats have been in the NBA, yet the Texans have NEVER, I repeat, NEVER made the playoffs since their beginning in 2002, and have only finished above .500 once. While they look like they finally will overcome the playoff hurdle this season, it will be 2 seasons after Charlotte.

        And speaking of Charlotte, while you mock their core, you should at least try to know the facts. That core was Stephen Jackson (former NBA champion) Gerald Wallace (former NBA All-Star) Raymond Felton (led the Nuggets to playoffs this season) and Tyson Chandler (anchor of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks’ defense). Yeah thats a “laughable” core…

        Your asinine stance on these matters have seemingly confused you. The initial point of the Pats / Knicks debate was an incorrect comment that stated the Pats were “underachievers” in the 90’s. Again New England (large market) has been to 6 Super Bowls in 25 years. Dynasties do happen in the NFL whether you want to believe it or not. Also, quick question, what does “seemlessly” mean? If you were to read actual books instead of anything less than “8 paragraphs” you would realize the correct spelling is seamlessly. However, I digress. Winning in the NFL doesn’t “seemlessly” happen as you make it appear. Please enlighten me about why the Redskins, Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Bengals haven’t made the quick switch back to contender?

        Finally, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt when it came to your age. I assumed, maybe it was a false assumption, but then you state this

        “A Dynastry from the 70′s? Really? You do realize that happened because players had NO rights and couldn’t leave the team that drafted them, correct? ”

        Forgetting about the “dynastry” of the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. You are aware that Lew Alcindor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the same person right? I ask because Kareem was drafted by the Bucks, then forced a trade to the Lakers (sort of what Melo did to the Nuggets). That happened in the 70’s. But the greater point, that you clearly missed, is that dynasties have happened in the NBA since its inception.Its the way the league is, the way it will always be. Most stars in the NBA don’t leave in free agency. For every Lebron, there are 10 Duncans, or Pierces, or Nowitzkis etc. And exactly how does goaltending effect who wins championships? That point is extremely ludicrous.

        So i’ve addressed your points, and Im still waiting for you to return the favor. But heres a tip, instead of trying to be witty and snippy just get the facts down first.

      • leearmon - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:37 PM

        Oh to answer you question somekat, the last team who was “average” to then jump to being “elite” in the NBA without having to be terrible:

        The Spurs, The Heat, Mavericks and The Lakers are four that come to mind initially. Ignoring the subjective nature of the question, can you name me NFL teams who became “elite” without a down period?

        Saints were bad before Brees. Packers were awful 2 straight seasons before Favre’s last year in GB. Colts were equally as awful before Peyton, now they are the worst team in the league. Ravens were bad in Bellick’s last season in Bmore. Can you name any? I named 4 NBA teams, and can only think of 4 NFL teams: Eagles, Steelers, Giants and Pats.

      • leearmon - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM


  4. Walk - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Both sides have now painted themselves into a corner. I actually did that once varnishing a fllor and had to crawl out a window. What i am getting at is by both sides holding a hard line they have now made next deal after this one harder as well. Whoever comes out on top of this one will have the edge in next deal so it is important now to win this one instead of coming up with a compromise and 70ish game season. Whatever happens after this is going to be bad. Bad for the league. Bad for the players. Bad for the fans. Heres hoping a fair deal for all is just over the horizon. (Btw i was on the ground floor, i am not telling anyone to leap from an office building, though that feeling is creeping up on more than just myself i am certain)

  5. poorlittlepinkus - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    I wonder if I could get a David Stern ‘fat-head’ sticker for my living room wall.

    The union looks like an old Keystone Cops silent.

  6. unknowneric - Nov 13, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    I can’t stand David Stern (lost all respect for him after the SuperSonics debacle), but I’ve heard too many people blaming him personally for the league’s stance in the lockout. Folks, he’s just an employee. He’s doing the bidding of the owners, and the small-market owners especially are being extremely hardline in this negotiation.

  7. silk32 - Nov 13, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    What would famed trader Michael Milken advise NBA players to do on owners “exploding offer?” >> “TAKE THE DEAL”

  8. somekat - Nov 13, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    I would probably change my stance if the players offered 2 things.

    1st, Have a secret ballot off ALL players letting them vote on the current proposal. The 40-50 players who are set for life regardless of how this works out should not be able to hold things up for the 300 who need their check.

    2nd, Whatever percentage the players get of BRI, the owners get the same percentage of any endorsements the players get. Just like there is no league without the players, the players have no way to market their skills without the league. So why shouldn’t the owners get a percentage? (I realize this is totally unreasonable, but it is basically the opposite of their stance)

    They will do neither. Something makes them feel entitled to by far the best deal of any professional sport, while having the least skilled (not least talented, but least skilled) group of players of any of the sports.

    • leearmon - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      This is equally as dumb and short-sighted as some of your earlier posts. As of 5:39pm PBT hasn’t posted my reply to your last comment but as far as this gem is concerned ….

      You are aware that when players have endorsements with the team jersey on, the owners do get a percentage of said endorsement. You know, when Kia showed Blake Griffin jumping over that car for 5 million times after the Slam Dunk competition? Well Donald Sterling received a pretty penny off that. So the players have already done, and have been doing your second request.

      But think about this, John Wall received his Reebok deal before ever being drafted to the Wizards. Why would it make sense for an owner to receive a percentage from a player’s endorsement when the player was able to get said endorsement without the NBA? Lebron had a lucrative deal from Nike before ever stepping on a NBA court. The difference is NBA players help increase the BRI. Again I have stated FACTS to support that claim. Examples Knicks increasing ticket sales 60% after Melo and Amar’e sign there. Clippers national attention and spiked ticket sales thanks to Blake.

      So once again your argument has several holes in it, but I appreciate your dedication. Its admirable if not completely foolish and off base. Congrats.

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