Blog Entry

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:55 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:03 am
Posted by Ben Golliverbilly-hunter

On Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern declared that a labor deal with the National Basketball Players Association must be reached by next Tuesday, when the two sides will convene with a federal mediator, or a significant portion of the NBA season, including the league's Christmas Day games, would be put at risk. For those of us who have watched the league's labor negotiations plod along with little progress in the formal offers from the two sides, a drop-dead date of Tuesday with no meetings scheduled prior to that date sounds like a very, very bad thing.

Responding to Stern's comments, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter told Yahoo Sports that a lack of time really isn't the key issue. In fact, Hunter said that the framework of a new agreement could be arranged lickety-split, assuming the two sides could actually agree on the major issues that separate their proposals.
“It’s not an issue of time. It’s an issue of will. If you are in a room and you want to make a deal and there are three major issues that are holding you up, if you can come to a compromise on those three areas than you have a makings of a deal. It’s not a nature of time. We can go in and do a deal if they want to go in and do a deal. We can do a deal in an hour, two hours if we can agree to the major terms. And after that you got to work on everything else. Everything else will fall in place.”
That sounds awful promising, at least until Hunter goes on to describe his belief that the owners are taking an "extreme position" and accuses them of failing to negotiate in good faith.

 “David Stern told me three years ago – and I keep reiterating that because people keep pulling up their cup on it – that they were going to lock out [the players] in order to get what it was they wanted. And what he’s done is done that. [Stern] said he was going to lock out [the players] and his owners were prepared to lock out to get what they wanted. It’s driven pretty much by the small-market teams... He’s stated an extreme position from the get go and he’s negotiated that way. So here we are.

“We’ve been negotiating for almost three years, and here we are at the 12th hour when all of the sudden they make a slight move. But then on top of that, they then decide that they want a hard cap. So then when you get close to the economics of the number, then they get close to the system. And they know that the system is very important. If we give on the economics, we are not going to give on the system. And so all of the sudden you reach a possible agreement on the economics and now the system becomes a problem. So it’s like a moving target."

Whether Hunter meant to or not, he presents the current state of negotiations as the exact scenario where a mediator would be most helpful. Hunter's account clearly states that the two sides know where each other stand. His account clearly states that his side is willing to give but not totally concede. His account acknowledges some movement by the opposing party and the need for more. And, more than anything, it confirms that recent talks haven't been particularly fruitful because of miscommunication, intentional or otherwise.

A neutral third-party could very well help organize the conversation, clarify the agenda items, and cut through the unnecessary, emotional, personal or petty arguments that might arise during a negotiation that involves billions of dollars, massive egos and competing agendas. If what Hunter says is true, that the 2011-2012 NBA season could be saved in a mere matter of hours if things break right, then Tuesday's mediation session truly is a promising step. If the problem here is the quality of the conversation rather than the quantity of the conversation, it would be a fool's errand to repeat this negotiation's past mistakes without trying to shake up the process.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:48 am

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

I also vote we bring in scrubs! Imagine a league where players try and earn their money. The players are joke and could care less about the health of the league as long as they get their millions! It's like all of them feel they are CEO's of the NBA!

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:36 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Hunter is te cause of this lockout. A deal could have been completed long ago. Everyone is suffering during these economic times. To believe hat the players should get more than 50% is ridicolous. Bring on the scrubs!

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:42 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Get a deal done!

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:09 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Nice italiian shoe ad hogan, is it Stern trying to make money in his other businesses with the NBA closing its doors this season?

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:45 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

They should have been dealing with a Mediator this entire time. It's just silly they weren't. They have been negotiating for 3 years with no progress.

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:58 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

That's Italian, not Spanish.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:57 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Hunter seems to believe (or pretend to) that what the owners are asking for is some kind of ponzi scheme, instead of what the owners need to keep the NBA, and players in business. Faith has nothing to do with the's the NBPA ignoring the math, that fails this process. 

Both sides are aware the NBA lost $300 million and players made well over $2 BILLION (not including endorsements) in salaries last year. People can twist this any way they want to defend their pride, but the bottom line is, what Hunter and the players want, took the NBA to point they are now...The player "concessions"offered 
;amount to asking the owners to "only" lose $100 Million a year, and are missing the entire point.

Hunter seems to believe the small market teams are his problem, and they don't really matter. The facts are, 75% of teams lost money, and revenue sharing is meaningless in a $300 million dollar loss...Besides, you can't run a league with the 6 teams that didn't lose money anyway... even if you could, 75% of players and coaches would lose their jobs, amounting to about a $1.5 Billion reduction in spending....Wait a minute..., saving $1.5 Billion for only 360 guys going on unemployment....maybe Hunter should go work for the U.S. Congress- they'd LOVE a deal like that.

Hunter is right about one thing- this could be resolved in hours. 

It won't be.

It's unfortunate the players and their representatives aren't smart enough to realize that owners don't have to pay them more money than the franchises make, and the payers aren't going to get it, because it isn't there to give them. 

The NBPA is attempting an armed robbery by holding a gun to their OWN heads, and threatening to shoot if they dont get MORE money than the NBA has in their pockets. There IS NO CHOICE, but for owners to tell them to go ahead and shoot... If there was any doubt about the intelligence of the players and the NBPA, now they are removing it. If I were Billy Hunter, I'd be tuning up my resume and finding another job before these guys realize the deal they will get after the season is cancelled, will be a fraction of what it would have been if Hunter could have translated a little 3rd grade arithmetic. 

How's this for a suggestion for Billy Hunter's question to the players ?

We can play for fewer, but still MILLIONS A YEAR, plus endorsements, or we can stop getting paid by the NBA...maybe, forever. The NBA owners will have it this way, or they'll find other players that will, or they can fold the NBA and go back to their billions they made without basketball, and we whatever we can do without the NBA ? WHATCHA WANNA DO ?

Might still not work...unions vote, majority wins, and there aren't any IQ requirements to vote.

These guys aren't banks, Air Traffic Controllers, Firemen, Cops or even Trash Collectors...t
here will be no bailout or President ordering owners to give more to those poor NBA players...we can all live without them. 

Wake up, Billy.   

Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:33 pm

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

NBA = Nothing But Avariciousness...In case you don't know what avaricous means: > greedy of gain : excessively acquisitive especially in seeking to hoard riches...Now, tell me if you don't agree what the new NBA really stands for!

Oh, Mr Hunter, I could easily close on a new tropical vacation home within hours, even minutes. All I need is having it all just given to me as well. 

I will miss seeing the NBA this much > < 

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:35 am

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Any deal can get done in hours if one side caves in to the other side's demands. It's pretty obvious that the reason no deal has been made is that neither side wants to move to a middle ground. I don't know that a mediator is going to help that much since the owners seem justified in wanting to blow up a broken system.

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:46 am

Billy Hunter: Labor deal could get done in hours?

Billy Hunter is a joke.

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