Blog Entry

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 6:18 pm
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Players have been invited to New York for a meeting Wednesday to discuss the new collective bargaining agreement, and an electronic vote will be held Thursday on whether to approve the deal, two people familiar with the process told CBSSports.com.

The Wednesday meeting will be mandatory for the 30 player reps, but all 450-plus union members are invited. In the electronic vote, a majority of players who cast ballots must approve the deal for it to pass.

Members of the National Basketball Players Association's executive committee have spent the past few days sorting out confusion among players who felt they didn't have enough information about the deal or thought the vote to reauthorize the union was akin to a vote approving the deal. Some players who thought they were voting to approve the deal this week complained that they hadn't even seen it -- even though a summary of the major deal points was delivered via email to every union member.

The union was reformed Thursday with the approval of more than 300 players, and negotiators for the NBPA and the league reconvened Friday to finish hammering out the details -- including a list of secondary items that have yet to be agreed to, such as drug testing, the age limit and provisions that allow teams to shuttle players back and forth to the NBA Development League. None of those items is expected to be a deal breaker, and a key one -- the age limit -- may be left in its current form, to be revisited at a later date after the agreement is ratified.

Not unexpectedly given how painful this entire fiasco has been, it won't end without one more dose of drama.

While the deal is expected to pass overwhelmingly, a potential sideshow could emerge regarding the future of NBPA executive director Billy Hunter. As CBSSports.com reported Wednesday, there is an insurgency being led by a handful of agents who are attempting to have their clients' votes approving the new CBA contingent on Hunter agreeing to return as head of the union only on an interim basis. As far as player involvement, the movement is being led by Celtics stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. 

UPDATE: A small but vocal group of players is trying to have the executive community replaced, as well, two people with knowledge of the situation said.

Pierce is represented by Jeff Schwartz, who has been among the leaders of a group of seven agents from six of the most influential agencies who've long disagreed with the union's bargaining and legal tactics. Those agents, including Arn Tellem, Dan Fegan, Mark Bartelstein and Bill Duffy, believe the players should've voted to decertify back in July and sued for antitrust violations much earlier in the process. Garnett is represented by agent Andy Miller, who has had no association with the dissident agents and was not aware of his client's involvement, sources said. Rob Pelinka, who represents Kobe Bryant and union president Derek Fisher, also is said to be among the group of insurgents, sources said.

Maurice Evans, a vice president of the union and member of the players' executive committee, said he's spoken with about a half-dozen players who were dissatisfied with the deal and the process until the details were explained.

"Once I explained the CBA to them, they were disarmed and enlightened," Evans said Friday. "A lot of guys are really excited about the deal. ... It sounds like a bunch of disgruntled agents who felt their tactics weren't followed."

The flawed strategy of an earlier decertification could've jeopardized the season and resulted in a worse deal for the players if they'd failed in their legal efforts before pressure mounted on the league to make a deal or lose the season. Furthermore, once the union was reformed, the leadership was reformed with it. Two people with knowledge of Hunter's contractual situation told CBSSports.com that his contract was renewed at some point in the past year and has either four or five years left.

In any event, Hunter will not be in place when the next opportunity arises to negotiate a new agreement -- after the sixth year of this deal, at which point each side can opt out of it. Commissioner David Stern, Hunter's longtime bargaining adversary, is expected to be retired by then as well.

Evans said several of the players he's spoken with about the deal in recent days backed off once they realized they'd been given "misinformation" about it from "not credible sources."

"Anyone who wants to challenge Billy's position will have their opportunity come Wednesday," Evans said. "I think they'll find his credentials unmatched. ... I'm extremely confident. For them to get a deal like this that speaks to each class -- the minimum player, the mid-level player and the superstar alike -- there's no way they wouldn't take this deal."

Once the deal is approved by the players and owners, it will lead to the opening of free agency and training camps on Dec. 9, with a five-game Christmas schedule of openers on Dec. 25, which the league officially announced Friday: Celtics-Knicks, Heat-Mavericks, Bulls-Lakers, Magic-Thunder and Clippers-Warriors.






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Comments

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: December 4, 2011 12:11 am
 

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

deal falls apart. world cheers no boreball to eat up air time and waste time watching.  would that be so bad no.



Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

Good news, let's ball!



Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 9:14 am
 

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

Hunter needs to go, and agents need to just be quiet. I hate agents for this reason, they don't care about anything other than money.



Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

Members of the National Basketball Players Association's executive committee have spent the past few days sorting out confusion among players who felt they didn't have enough information about the deal or thought the vote to reauthorize the union was akin to a vote approving the deal. Some players who thought they were voting to approve the deal this week complained that they hadn't even seen it -- even though a summary of the major deal points was delivered via email to every union member.

How the hell can these guys be misinformed from "uncredible sources" about a deal that potentially impacts their careers?  How are they listening to rumors and conjecture from other players that are about as in the know as they were? And these are the guys they wanted going to the bargaining table against high priced lawyers and seasoned businessmen?

 Billy Hunter was publicly the hold-up in negotiations, but let's not forget he was a representative.  The players were going to try and get over as much as they could until the owners drew the line as to no further.  Once the players realized the owners were not playing chicken and would take the on-coming car in the form of a courtroom battle, tensions eased way off.  Hunter did in good faith what he thought was the best for what was offered. 

Problem with the whole thing is that the previous revenue sharing numbers were completely out of whackfrom the previous CBA.  Most people in unions will tell you they are not about to give up concessions that took them intense bargaining to get in the first place.  Hunter is merely the scapegoat. 

As far as blood-suckin agents that represent a good majority of players in the league.  They can go straight to hell as far as I am concerned.  They already have way too much impact in the daily operations of the league, and almost a stranglehold on player movement and contracts.  Now they have the audacity to say that they want to be able to have input on who is the head of the Player's Association?  Here's a nice middle finger right to them.

 How in the world do they think they should have control of the other side of the table when they are as biased as any party in these matters.  And then you want to throw their egos in with it and the players would be looking at a sheist storm ten possibly six years from now.  Those guys would never let a deal get done until the whole conglomerate got their beaks wet on the backside.  



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Deal expected to pass, but not without drama

Hunter needs to go.  He is the reason why this mess went on for so long.  He refused to accept the 50-50 revenue split even after the first owners proposal, saying the players deserved more, but then he accepts it.  The owners offered a fair deal a month ago and he refused to approve it.  The last deal was all in favor of the players; besides rookie contracts, they made all the money and got whatever they wanted.  Then, 22 teams lost money because of the 57-43 split and he thought things could remain how they were.  They need a person with a business mind to be the NBPA director and not this clown.  He and the Miami Big Three superteam are the major reasons we had a lockout.  Smaller market teams were mad how these three teamed up to go to one team in a bigger market, nicer weather city and that they had no chance of bringing in stars or keeping their own.  Hunter has to go.


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