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Blog Entry

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:10 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young



Evidently, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher like writing letters. Because after Tuesday's labor meeting wrapped that potentially brought the two sides close to a deal, they sent out another one.

Obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (read the full thing here), basically it's this: Stand together, we're not backing down, we'll get the deal we want if we hold firm. It says, "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused."

Some could read that as, "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to make a deal and therefore save the season. We refused." Depends on your perspective, I suppose.

The letter really focuses on the crux of yesterday's negotiations: BRI (Basketball Related Income). Here's the player's offer that they like: They reduce their share of BRI to 52.4 percent and gradually increase that to 54 percent over the six-year deal, which would be an average of 53 percent. The letter makes sure to point out that this offer would shift an average of $185 million per year to the owners' side, which is $1.1 billion over six years.

"We feel this offer -- which would involve no rollbacks of existing contracts and maintain the current Salary Cap and Luxury Tax levels -- is fair and addresses the owners' complaints," the letter said.

The letter addresses the owners' original 47 percent BRI split, but then acknowledges the last-gasp 50-50 split that David Stern referenced in his presser.

"After seriously considering whether we should proceed down this path, our group determined not to do so," the letter said. "Recognizing all the owners' arguments about the state of the business and the condition of the economy, in our view, the owners can and should share more of the record revenues our players generate. Reducing our share of BRI by 7 points to 50% -- a level we have not received since the early 1990's -- is simply not a fair split. We refused to back down. As we have done since the beginning, we again indicated a willingness to compromise, and asked the owners to do the same. They refused."

So basically: We refused, they refused and basically, we have until Monday to un-refuse so that the season starts on time. Here's the thing: Someone's got to bend at some point. It will happen. Whether it's the players or the owners, someone's coming up or going down with their offer. It's not like there won't ever be basketball again. But the deeper it goes and once games start getting missed, the owners may try and go back to some of the bigger issues such as a hard cap, salary rollbacks or non-guaranteed contracts. So the negotiations have sort of hit a crucial point.

Here's how the letter concludes, which doesn't exactly make me jump for joy:
As the day ended, each side felt that they had gone as far as they could. We will continue to review the numbers and assess the various proposals, but we will hold firm until we can get a fair deal. While this negotiation is far from over, we cannot now say when it will resume again in earnest. For today, the players made a stand. It was the right stand to make, for ourselves and for the generations of players to follow. Hard work and sacrifice by both sides will hopefully end this soon, and the owners will open the doors and let us come to work. In the meantime, we ask you to maintain the same strength and focus you have exhibited since the beginning. We must demonstrate our unity, especially as we expect the league to announce the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season next Monday if no further progress is made. The owners must know that the players are firm, educated and resolved to getting a fair deal.
By all appearances, the players aren't going to budge. Things change when money starts getting lost though. And that's what's going to happen if a deal isn't done by Monday. The stakes will be raised. It's just a matter of who's moving first. Clearly the players think it will be the owners.

As Berger has reported, the two sides are closer than they're letting on. A gap of only about $80 million per year separates them right now. That's $2.6 million per team, or in other words, the 12th man on pretty much every roster. This can be done. It should be done. They have less than a week to make it happen.
Comments

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

When the Owners read the letter sent to all the players by its union their response was... LOL
You can not compare a mogul owners money to a player that does not even have a clue about saving money and living like this is 90pct of all the money I will ever make.
The owners have plenty of money and can ride this storm out for a year with the insurance clauses they carry let alone the money they already have.   AFLAC




Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:25 am
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

Let's just get to the point where the union decertifies and the NBA owner's can bring in the replacement players. How many of them unsigned rookies and free agents do you think would jump at the idea of getting paid this year?

If the owners would cancel the season, negotiate a little more between now and next summer and still don't come up with an agreement, it wouldn't be just unsigned  rookies and free agents that would jump at the chance, it would be 75 percent of NBA players that would cross the picket line in a heartbeat.  Right now the players are acting tough, but they haven't missed a paycheck yet.  Once a full season's salary is gone and there is no guarantee for a season the year after either, everybody will be amazed at how many players tell their union to f*** off.

Think about this for a second guys.  A ton of NBA players are supposedly considering playing overseas for a fraction of what they get paid in the NBA.  WHY? Because they can't afford to miss too many, if any NBA checks.  There is NO OTHER REASON AT ALL why ANYBODY would travel overseas to play basketball if they didn't desperately need the money.   Spare me the "they love basketball" or "they want to stay in game shape" crap because all that is exactly that, CRAP.  Players plan on leaving their wives/girlfriends and in a lot of cases children behind while they go overseas to play for peanuts compared to what they make in the NBA.....  it's a joke.  Their idiotic union thinks that puts pressure on the owners when in reality it does the exact opposite of that.  It makes the owners laugh because it confirms what they alread knew, and that is the players can't afford to be off.

And if the players don't go overseas it's only because they are afraid of an injury killing their NBA career... so they'll stay behind and get into more debt waiting for the NBA season to start.  I hope the NBA cancels the entire season soon.... let the union know who's boss. 



Since: Oct 31, 2009
Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:39 am
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

Let's just get to the point where the union decertifies and the NBA owner's can bring in the replacement players. How many of them unsigned rookies and free agents do you think would jump at the idea of getting paid this year?



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2011 8:00 am
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

A hundred letters won't help. These people need a translator. They don't speak the same language. The players believe the NBA orbits around them, and everyone owes them the billions owners earned before basketball. Owners realize it's a business, and the employees have been spoiled to the brink of bankruptcy, and are now trying to maintain a (very well paying) venue to keep these guys employed. 

Higher math, tax codes and economics aren't in the skill base of the rank and file NBPA, and for some reason they distrust those who have those skills, but trust their agents. Go figure.

Players have SOME options...They can play in Europe, Russia, China...just like ALL American imports, these countries will only allow so many in...and they'll notice what the market will bear for salary too...and when the NBA goes on without the highest priced stars, their value drops....everywhere. They could go back to college to study Medicine (or bartenders school) and tell the NBA goodbye...or they could live off what they've made already (right)...or they could go into business for themselves... create a competing League, and pay themsleves out of business....or invest in a bicycle and go on a religious mission.....common sense would tell them to take the millions of dollars they are offered, and go back to the NBA...obviously, common sense is rare here.

 
Owners have several options. They can just wait...a long, long time- SOME players can too..... Or they can fold- get out completely, take a one time loss and go back to what made them wealthy in the first place- Players can't.  The logical middle ground-(contrary to what players think, middle ground ISN'T giving into players and losing $100M/yr) is the NBA can REPLACE PLAYERS and go on. As a pre-emptive measure, I would suggest franchises agree to a defined (long) length BAN on NBPA members that refuse to go back to work- say a year for every week they aren't with their team....once LeBron and Kobe see they aren't coming back, their "competing" European contract offers will drop to a fraction of what they were in the NBA, and it all looks like the mega stars committed suicide by stupidity. Players WILL come back to the NBA, and the NBA will be better for all of this. 

Ultimately, This may be a good lesson for all concerned. Owners see what happens when they give in too easily and try to buy players like real estate, and players need to understand the reasons they are basketball players, be happy they are, and appreciate it more. Fans get a better perspective on why no one here should be a role model, consider what they are paying for, and demand the price match the product.



Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: October 5, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

Most of these players want more money because they can't manage the money they have, they hate paying all that child support, they don't intend to work after basketball, they have little skill to function beyond a gym and a locker room.  Most of the players are not bright enough to make it outside basketball given that they will always want to be paid big bucks for doing almost nothing.  Mickey Mantle was a great athlete, he was not illiterate, he had lots of business advice, and he lost money on almost every investment he attempted.   In retirement the most valuable asset of The Mick was his autograph.  His family still tries to live off the Mantle name and the number 7.  Today's NBA players are scared.  They want to live a lavish lifestyle for another 50 years after basketball.  They are welcome to try but I don't meet anyone that sides with them.  The owners may not be liked but they had the capital, lease arenas, take the risks.  The players have wet nurses, agents, CPAs, housekeepers, and ex-wives running their lives. How many of the low life players need to have millions stashed away so they can hire lawyers to get them out of trouble?




Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 5, 2011 7:08 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

 there are 30 owners and over 400 players. What makes 50-50 fair except it is the same number? There is no logic herre. In addition, the owners not only have profits from operations they also get the benefit of increase in value. Look at how much the old Warriors owner netted in his deal. I think he made close to 300m after owning th team for about 15 years, and oh by the way, running it into the ground. I wnat the season as much as anyone, but if i'm a player, i am not buying the poor us from the owners. The NBA had record attendance etc. last year trust me the owners are doing fine and if they are not, they need to share amongst themselves better. if they don't why the anti-trust exemption

It doesn't matter if there are 5 owners or 30 owners and 400 players.  What you're missing here is the owners took 100 percent of the risks involved in purchasing an NBA franchise.  The owners are guaranteed NOTHING,  yet the players are guaranteed profits.  And I mean GUARANTEED profits because unlike the real world, these guys just can't get fired that easily, owners have to honor their agreements regardless of how much they suck or if they get hurt, too bad so sad, the owner pays.

As for your benefit of increase in value, that's the dumbest argument anybody has ever made.  Of course the owners benefit with increases in value, THEY BOUGHT THEIR TEAM.... You want the players to benefit from a team's increase in value without investing one penny AND making guaranteed money every year?   And wait a second here.  How much of his personal endorsement income does Kobe Bryant give back to the Lakers every season?  The only reason Kobe is worthy of that kind of money in endorsements is because of the NBA and the Lakers.  Shouldn't Laker owners ask for some money for helping make Kobe famous?  

What you player supporters don't understand is the owners may depend on players to succeed in the NBA, but they don't depend on THESE players.  Players come and go, every single season.  Don't tell me they can't be replaced because they are successfully replaced all of the time.  We've seen Jordan leave and the league survived.  We've seen Bird leave and the league survived.  We saw Dr J leave and the league survived.....

And when every one of these players leaves, the NBA will still survive. That's why the owners need to make sure they can afford to keep the league in place and stay in business for future decades and to give opportunities to others down the road.  THESE players can go screw themselves..... there are plenty willing to take their place.

 



Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

The NBA had record attendance etc. last year trust me the owners are doing fine and if they are not, they need to share amongst themselves better. if they don't why the anti-trust exemption?


Last comment, then I am moving on.  The owners lost $300 million -- specifically 22 teams lost money, 8 made money for a net loss.  That is not "fine" in my book.  Second, they have no anti-trust exemption other than the fact that the players are unionized...i.e. the same "exemption" that Ford or Chevy gets when dealing with the UAW or other businesses negotiate employee contracts with a union.  If the players don't like that then they could decertify and negotiate contracts/benefits on a player by player basis with all the rules thrown out -- no minimum salary, no floor, no cap, no guaranteed contracts, etc.  While a few players -- LeBron, Wade, Kobe, etc might do a little better under this system, the majority of players will not.



Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

there are 30 owners and over 400 players. What makes 50-50 fair except it is the same number? There is no logic herre. In addition, the owners not only have profits from operations they also get the benefit of increase in value.
Name me another industry, other than professional sports, where a fraction of the employees are guaranteed 50% of a companies gross revenue each year -- that is the logic here.  Again, the owners take all of the financial risk and bear all of the costs of operating the teams and then have to pay over 50% of the revenue to the players out of the total revenue.  Sweetheart deal, even at 50%, for the players regardless of how many there are (400 players sharing $4billion in income is still an average of $10million per year per player---if the players dont like that wage, let them find a job they like better).  Yes the owners get the "benefit of increase in value" IF they sell their team, and then pay the taxes on the gain, etc etc, but that is because it is the owners who took ALL of the financial gamble of all the costs, including tens to hundreds of millions to purchase the team, tens of millions of dollars per year in salaries, front office salaries, purchase/rent contracts for arenas, insurance, utilities, etc, etc.  The players take no risk -- win/lose, team makes money or loses money, team increases or decreases in value they get paid the same with guaranteed contracts-- so it is not "logical" to think that they would share in the increase in the value of the franchise.  If you want the "benefit" of being an owner you have to take the risk too, the players don't take that risk.



Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:32 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players


but then acknowledges the last-gasp 50-50 split that David Stern referenced in his presser.

"After seriously considering whether we should proceed down this path, our group determined not to do so," the letter said. "Recognizing all the owners' arguments about the state of the business and the condition of the economy, in our view, the owners can and should share more of the record revenues our players generate. Reducing our share of BRI by 7 points to 50% -- a level we have not received since the early 1990's -- is simply not a fair split.
How is this not fair?  The players want to talk about being "partners" with the owners but don't back it up.  The fact is, and offer of 50% of gross revenue is better than a partner....a "partner" would get 50% of net profit, which is less than gross revenue (or pay 50% of any loss after expenses).  Here are the owners saying "we'll pay all of the expenses and give you 50% of revenue" and the players say that's not "fair"?  Not fair that the players take NO financial risk (the arena costs, advertising, front office staffs, coaches, trainers, medical for the players, insurance, utilities, etc etc) and yet, in effect, they want MORE of the revenue than the owners who must pay these costs from their share of the revenue.  On a 50/50 split of revenue, considering the players bear none of the expenses of the league, they actually make quite a bit more money (albeit split between more people -- all of the players vs 30 owners) than the owners do.  Sounds "fair" to me if I am a player.



Since: Oct 5, 2011
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Fisher and Hunter send another letter to players

That may be true that they are not close but the problem is not just how much the owners lost it is how they split the revenues. The NFL does  a more even split resulting in every team doing well. If the owners continue to let the big market teams keep too much, the players are then subsidizing the small market teams, whcih is ridiculous. 50-50 sounds fair but why is it fair? there are 30 owners and over 400 players. What makes 50-50 fair except it is the same number? There is no logic herre. In addition, the owners not only have profits from operations they also get the benefit of increase in value. Look at how much the old Warriors owner netted in his deal. I think he made close to 300m after owning th team for about 15 years, and oh by the way, running it into the ground. I wnat the season as much as anyone, but if i'm a player, i am not buying the poor us from the owners. The NBA had record attendance etc. last year trust me the owners are doing fine and if they are not, they need to share amongst themselves better. if they don't why the anti-trust exemption?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com