Blog Entry

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

Posted on: July 27, 2011 9:43 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverbilly-hunter

Earlier Wednesday, we noted that representatives of the NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association are scheduled to meet next week to resume negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This is welcome news for NBA fans and observers, who have been left to wonder why the two sides haven't talked for nearly a month since a lockout was imposed on July 1.

Talking is an important first step. But compromising, ultimately, is what will prevent an extended work stoppage from disrupting, or potentially cancelling, the 2011-2012 NBA season. reports that Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBPA, thinks that the league is headed for a worst case scenario -- the complete elimination of the upcoming season -- unless the negotiations produce a change in course from developments that date back to 2007.
Four years ago, when Hunter and Gary Hall, working on behalf of the union, met with [NBA commissioner] Stern and Adam Silver, Stern suggested phasing in a new labor deal that would help all of the league's owners turn a profit on their investment. Hunter said he left with the impression that the league would lock the players out if the requests were not fully met.

After the 2007 meeting, Hunter said he started prepping players for the inevitability of a lockout. "[Stern has] pretty much followed [his original] road map," Hunter said, as he leaned back in his chair. On a whiteboard behind his head, figures and proposals from both sides had been written up in black marker. "I was convinced when he told me then that he would do it, so I started to prepare the players."

If each side maintains their current stance, Hunter said he believes the league's owners will lock out players for at least an entire season.

If there is a positive takeaway here, it's that Hunter and Stern apparently know each other well enough that they are able to tell when the other is bluffing. Mutual respect is important, so that's something. 

It's extremely ominous, though, to hear Hunter explain how long Stern's approach to the negotiations has been in the works. Formulating a strategy and approach to a negotiating session over multiple years, and showing the resolve to stick to it this long, doesn't bode well, especially because the pace of negotiations this summer has been so deliberate. 

As we look ahead to next week's negotiation, the critical question becomes: Will the NBA publicly budge on anything? Will we find out that the time away from the negotiating table and the dead month of news -- without a free agency period -- made the league come to its senses about the harm it is doing to its reputation and the future of the game? Or, will the league come back even more entrenched, feeling empowered because international clubs haven't exactly been lining up to cherry-pick NBA stars?

Hunter, and the players, seem ready for the give and take. The league, at this point, just seems happy to take. Let's hope that finally changes, after all these years.

Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:37 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

American greed at its best...  Millionaires and Billionaires arguing over a fraction of what they make.  They don't care what the fans think, even though without the fans there is no NBA.  What will sports bars like the ones in San Antonio do??  The Spurs are the only big market team there.  Same for places like Milwaulkee, Toronto, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Memhis, Portland, and Utah.  These fans don't make millions but support these guys and the cities they live in.

Stop the greed.  Give a little, people!!!

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:33 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

We will how many franchises are really losing money. If 2/3rd's of the league is losing $$$$, then the season is a bust. It's no big loss for the players though, they can always find $3 mil per jobs somewhere else. Let the blood flow and we can see this test of strength developing.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:16 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

As long as there is NCAA hoops we will be OK. Duke, Ohio State, UNC, PITT, Kentucky are stacked and this is going to be of the best years in NCAA history this year.

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:55 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

Not having to heat about LeBron and the Heat for a year; Priceless

Since: Mar 3, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:42 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

What a difference between the NFL lockout and the NBA lockout. The NFL had a sense of urgency to get back on the field, it seemed.
The NBA has no sense of urgency. They thorougly intent to roll the dice and let things lie, and there are only a smattering of fans that are really that deeply concerned, at least right now.
One thing is for sure, it would make a 2012-2013 season that much more interesting with a year off and players a year older. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:40 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

And there is no business on this planet that guarantees a profit regardless of management performance. Want to know who makes money in the NBA? I'll tell you. Good teams and teams that are not run by idiots, that's who.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:36 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

At least an entire season? If it's at much as an entire season the league might as well fold. Players can scatter to Europe. Owners can find another business to screw up. The NBA will have nothing to come back to. They can't just take a year and a half off to fight over billions and then roll the balls out on the floor and start games up again. No one - no one - will care. But at least they took a month off to relax before wiping the NBA off the face of the Earth.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:50 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

I'm hopeful that LeBron just signs a contract to play overseas and then the NBA comes back so he'll be stuck out there. That would be even better!

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:49 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

If it's 75%, then that would be more than the NHL or soccer.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:42 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA on track for lost season

Sleepee...If you hate the NBA so much, why even post on an NBA site?
A55...look, I'm not saying that NBA players don't have a sense of entitlement, but niether you or I know what the owners are making. Was it not the Owners who decided to "overpaying" for players in the first place? I always ask this simple question. If the place you work at said that they want you to take a significant pay cut, would you not at least try to fight for it? If not, then I guess you are happy with anything that comes your way. More power to you. But I would hope that most people (amount of money is relative) wouldn't be so accepting. Just my thoughts.

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