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DeShawn Stevenson is frustrated, rips Billy Hunter

Nov 22, 2011, 5:09 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks players maybe more frustrated with the lockout than anyone. This season was to be their coronation — Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd and a team full of guys who worked hard, won an NBA title and…

No banner to the rafter. No rings. Just lost momentum.

A couple of them spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo and vented that frustration — nobody more so than DeShawn Stevenson.

“For me, personally, I don’t think there will be a season,” Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson said recently at Drew Gooden’s Make-A-Wish charity game. “Right now there is just a lot of bad blood and [the owners] keep putting offers out that we’re rejecting. So we’re not going anywhere….

“I felt like we should have decertified in July,” Stevenson said. “I feel like Billy Hunter is doing a horrible job because basically now [the owners] know our hand. The media knows our hand. The owners know our hand.”

Stevenson, I get your anger and frustration. But I think it’s misplaced here.

It would be a mistake to assume that it was Billy Hunter’s plan to answer David Stern’s ultimatum with a “disclaimer of interest.” Here is the thing — Hunter works for the players (the same way David Stern works for the owners). At the end of the day, he has to do what they want. If he wants to send a counterproposal to David Stern and the 30 team representatives say, “no, we want the disclaimer of interest” then the disclaimer it is.

In the end, the player reps voted unanimously for the disclaimer. If Stevenson wants to be angry with someone, it should be Mavs team rep Jason Terry who voted for this plan of action. And Terry told Spears he’d do it again.

One reason why Terry was glad the players rejected the owners’ most recent offer: Under it, he thought the Mavs would have a tough time keeping some of their core contributors. While Nowitzki, Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd are under contract, the Mavs have a long list of free agents that include Stevenson, center Tyson Chandler, guard Jose Juan Barea and forwards Caron Butler, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic.

“Look at our roster,” Terry said. “Free agency is going to hit us hard. We don’t know what our team is going to look like.”

The fact is now nobody is talking. Maybe the union’s attorneys will call the league attorneys soon and set up a settlement conference, if not that a judge will force the two sides to talk again, a source close to the negotiations told PBT.

But when that happens the attorneys — including Stern and Hunter — have to strike a deal both sides will ratify. And right now they can’t get their people to a middle ground compromise.

  1. sshameless - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Stevenson just has the cajones to speak the truth. This NBA season is gone, thrown away. Here’s a clue Terry, your team looks like Casper the Ghost, a figment, an apparition, second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit.

  2. sshameless - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Terry’s NBA doesn’t have a middle class. Or an upper and lower class. It has no class.

  3. somekat - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Jason Terry needs to face reality. If you win the title, you lose players. That is just how it works, in ANY sport. Guys get overpaid for what they did on the title run, and a lot of the time were playing above their heads, in support roles. They move to another team, and are expected to play a more prominent role, and they fall flat.

    The solution for Terry is simple, tell those guys to play for less money. if they wall want to stay together and play together so badly, surely a guy would be willing to take, say 3 million instead of 5? They’d still be plenty rich. But they won’t, which is reasonable. But just like every other job in the world, you options are usually get less to stay where you are, or get more to move on (assuming you aren’t a franchise player). It’s amazing how many players want it both ways (as much money as humanly possible, and as free to move around as humanly possible), and have no idea how idiotic they sound asking for it

  4. trbowman - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    I absolutely love Stevenson, he’s a badass.

    How’s his Dirk taste, Billy?

  5. kandh2004 - Nov 23, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    As soon as I seen the headline here I knew before I read the whole thing that Kurt was going to stick up for Hunter so just a thanks Kurt for making me think I’m smarter than I really am

  6. irishjackmp - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    He should be upset with Hunter.

    The Union leadership has a responsibility to adhere to the will of the players. If Hunter really thought he had a majority support of the players, he would have put their final offer to a vote so he could show the owners “see, we are united”. He didn’t because he suspected he didn’t have the votes.

    Nobody in a position of authority on the players side is looking out for the best interests of the players…. nobody.

    For Billy Hunter, this is about making sure he doesn’t get mocked in the media as the guy who had his backside handed to him in negotiations with Stern for years to come. He’s afraid he’ll become an adjective in all future sports negotiations (“man did you see the concessions the NFL owners got from the union in the next contract??? They completely “Huntered” them!!!”)

    For Jeffrey Kessler, this is about making sure he comes out of this looking like “the” best labor attorney in America so he becomes the lawyer of choice for prominent unions in the future.

    For the Agents, this is about their long term negotiating ability (read: how much money they can make). They don’t want the players to sign because in the long term it will be bad for the Agents bottom line.

    When this ends next year, there will now be TWO full sets of draft pics and players from overseas looking to sign NBA contact. A lot of the current players will have their jobs taken away from them. If I am some 30 year old veteran who is a role player and I only have 1-2 years left on my contract (and my career) and Hunter basically pursued a strategy of blowing up the season without me even getting a vote, I’m livid.

    These players have a career of what? Maybe five years on average? If Hunter, Kessler and the Agents only had their current earning potential for 4-5 years, does ANYBOBY think they would be supporting killing the season? Of course not. These players are being used by “suits” with ulterior motives. I expect owners to not look after the financial best interests of the players because they aren’t hired for that, but I do expect Hunter, Kessler and the Agents to do so… that’s why they were hired.

    Oh, and Kurt, I am the furthest thing from a conspiracy theorist as there is but at this point you look like a guy working for the players association PR dept. I’m sure you need to make sure players and Agents are willing to be interviewed by you and give you useful information for your site when this is over but continually trying to ingratiate yourself to them by lecturing us in every article about how the players are right here is both transparent and pathetic.

    Just give us the facts, we’ll decide who we think is right and wrong.

  7. sguy2130 - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Billy Hunter said the players could start their own league, he’s clearly a genius, just like Kurt.

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