Blog Entry

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

Posted on: November 18, 2011 2:08 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:28 am
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Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Thump.

That's the sound of the bus backing up and rolling over Billy Hunter.

On Monday, Hunter, as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, announced that the players union would be disbanding so that the players could file multiple antitrust lawsuits against the NBA. That bold move, which came as a surprise to many and potentially could lead to the cancellation of the entire 2011-2012 season, has brought his predecessor out of the woodwork.

In an interview with USA Today on Thursday, Charles Grantham, the executive director of the NBPA from 1988-1995, said that the NBA players should be playing games right now and not chasing the possibility of legal victories while missing paychecks.
"Today, we spend too much time in the court, with too many lawyers. … Instead of having 10 lawyers and an economist you should probably have 10 CPAs or forensic accountants and two lawyers," said Grantham, a guest lecturer on professional sports negotiations at Seton Hall's Stillman School of Business. "In this case, (the players are) looking to use the law to gain leverage, to get a better business deal, when, in fact, the negotiations that should be taking place is with regard to how you divide that (every) $100."

"My philosophy was to keep the guys working, because they lose income that's not recoverable," he said. "They're employees. They're not partners. … Let's not get this twisted, (players) don't sit in the boardroom."
You can just see NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver opening up their newspaper on Friday morning and breaking out into a synchronized Dougie. The reverse equivalent of these comments would be if a former NBA commissioner held a press conference to call the hard-line owners greedy while admitting that their goal of improving competitive balance is a total crock and is actually just a poor excuse for drastically limiting free agency. 

Disagreeing with the controversial decision to disclaim the union is one thing, but to suggest that the players should have taken whatever deal they could get to save their paychecks -- even the extremely owner-friendly one presented to them last week -- is another thing entirely. Grantham clearly advocates both stances here. This is Bruce Bowen-esque undercutting we are witnessing right now. Watch your ankles, Billy!

The key word in Grantham's comments is "philosophy", and it's easy to see the many places where he likely would have departed from the path Hunter has chosen. Hunter, remember, admitted early on that the possibility of losing part or all of a season was very likely, given how steep the league's demands were. If the players' goal had simply been to negotiate and then accept the best possible deal with the express purpose of not missing any games this season, the last three or four years would have unfolded quite differently. 

The union would have met Stern's demands for a financial overhaul with capitulation, rather than threats of decertification, early in the process. That would likely have meant sacrificing the Basketball Related Income issue, the most important one to hard-line owners, to focus on the system issues they felt were most in need of preservation. Then, the union would have acted with much greater haste in scheduling meetings throughout 2011, looking to chip away at whatever minor victories they might have been able to salvage while publicly preaching that they were operating for the good of the sport. The union would have publicly sided with the league in decrying any individual agents who dissented from the approach or tried to exert influence on the negotiating process. There would have been no months taken off this summer, no bombastic rhetoric about plantation overseers, no need for a federal mediator, and certainly no preemptive legal filings to set the table for later lawsuits.

The final deal produced by that path would have been, without question, a landslide for the owners, an even worse deal than the most recent offer that the players rejected this week. But, no one can dispute that it would have been better than nothing, which is what the players are stuck with right now.

That said, the only way to judge whether Grantham's approach would have been better is to compare the final deal the players agree to, less the salaries lost during the fight, to the hypothetical deal that we've just laid out. If the two sides resume negotiations and are able to save a portion of the 2011-2012 season, there's a good chance that will mean that the league agreed to additional concessions along the way. That could mean Hunter's brass tacks approach won out. If the season is lost entirely, though, there's virtually no argument to be made that Grantham's save-the-paychecks-no-matter-what approach would have produced a worse situation for the players once all those lost salaries are gone for good. The only Hail Mary possibility there: a major victory in court for the players, but that seems awfully improbable.

In sum: it's still too soon to authoritatively second-guess Hunter. But the time for that is coming very quickly, possibly in as few as six weeks. Grantham, though, isn't bothering to wait. He sounds happy to get on the record with his doubts and philosophical differences right now, when things look bleakest. That's a bad sign for Hunter, the players and this process as a whole.
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Comments

Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: November 20, 2011 12:24 am
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

How can the ownerrs who were crying they were losing money justify a work stoppage of any kind or length ? Without a season how can there be anything but contraction  ? The league alreadcy owns the Hornets and have saveral teams with woeful attendance  . How does no season somehow save those franchises ? 
Some of those buildings already have events filling up their schedules. Concerts for example.
And without shellling out $50-$100 million in player payroll, some of those teams will actually do better without the season than with it.




Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: November 20, 2011 12:22 am
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

Neither side has done much of anything right during this lock-out.
On the contrary. The owners have started turning things around. Their businesses were losing money. By correcting the problem they might just save them.
Their dumb-ass employees however are holding the show up.



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: November 20, 2011 12:19 am
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

They're employees. They're not partners. … Let's not get this twisted, (players) don't sit in the boardroom.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the bottomline.



Could you imagine how good the owners would look to the fans if they just took what the players proposed?


Right... and go broke in the process??  



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 19, 2011 12:33 am
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

The players wont go broke they will simpy play elsewhere

That's such a naive statement to make it's kinda funny if you ask me.  Where are 400 NBA players going to find a job playing basketball for millions of dollars?  The answer:  Very, very few players will make anywhere near the money they make in the NBA. You are dillusional if you think the players will average more then 25 to 50 percent overseas of what they currently rake in playing in the NBA.  Teams overseas simply don't have the money to support this many players, and they certainly aren't going to tear apart their leagues and destory their own employee's lives just to satisfy the NBA players immediate need for some money until the NBA is back up and running. 

And what NBA owners are you talking about that aren't filthy rich or successful outside of the NBA ??  A minimum of 90 percent of these owners will remain as wealthy as they've ever been, and the other 10 percent weren't making a whole lot of money anyway.  You can't even acquire the financing to purchase an NBA team unless you are filthy rich...... banks don't just finance people for hundreds of millions, and even back in the day when teams were purchased for 20 and 30 million dollars banks didn't just write those checks very easily as well.   They already know they can't touch an owner's personal assets if the league or team they are financing goes belly up, so trust me.... banks only finance very wealthy people they know can make payments during the rough times....

The players are so screwed it's ridiculous....  they don't take an immediate 15 percent pay cut, but you're saying they are willing to play "elsewhere" for a fraction of what they would have made this year in the NBA?   The NBA players don't like the new and very expensive luxury tax rules that will prevent players from moving around so easily and teaming up with superstars to put together dream teams, but they don't mind playing OVERSEAS?  What are the players saying?  "When my contract is up, I want big market teams to have the ability to sign me to a huge long term max contract, I don't want to be stuck in Cleveland or Detroit or Seattle, but I'm more then willing to sit out and go play basketball in CHINA OR CROATIA OR SERBIA??  WTF?????

WHAT????????????????????????????????????????   



Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:07 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

The players tok the only apporacvh they could to an ownership group that basically decided that there would be no negtotiation but that they would just take everything that they wanted . 

The players wont go broke they will simpy play elsewhere . How can the ownerrs who were crying they were losing money justify a work stoppage of any kind or length ? Without a season how can there be anything but contraction  ? The league alreadcy owns the Hornets and have saveral teams with woeful attendance  . How does no season somehow save those franchises ? 

Individual owners who are filthy rich personally will still be that way if there is no season but what about the ones who are not . 

The league will have to back national tv money ifv there is no season and will still have tomns of depth while losing a billion in ticket sales . 

Once the players caved to the 50-50 split under no circumstances should there be no games being played now and the owners shouldve made sure of that but instead they dropped the ball. 



Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

The owners and players don't get it.  Sad state of affairs after the NBA had once again gotten popular.   The players are making a huge mistake.   The owners will lose more than they know as they will not only upset their fans but the communities that depend on them for wages and that depend on them to pay the debt that was taken on to build the arenas.  A bunch of ego maniacs.  They will lose fans.  I hope the fans also stop buying the products that they endorse.



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

Neither side has done much of anything right during this lock-out.




Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

@reverandglenn

preach on Reverand.  I totally agree with your comment.  Well said.



Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

  In the end, once again, we have a bunch of players who cannot get it through their heads that they do not own the teams. the owners won't go broke, but the players will (see NFL just recently). Why is it that these guys can't see that they have it really, really good. They make a lot of money to play basketball. If they lose the whole season, many of the players have played their last game a few months ago. Every year there are many players who end up without a job the next year. This will be no different.

   I don't understand why people feel that because the company owner is making more than them, they should get more. The owners took the risk to but the team. No players took any risks. Now that the investment is paying off, they deserve to make a lot. I own a small business. I worked my azz off for 3 years before I made any money. I took out what we needed to live, but there were no vacations, new cars, new houses, anything like that. Now, we are doing well, and I will be damned if I will feel bad for it. If my employees have a problem with that, and figure they should get more now that we are doing well, they can find another job. I didn't see them offering anything when we lost money every month for the first 6 months, and I sure didn't see them offering anything when what we earned was barely enough to pay the bills for the next 6 -8 months. i will not apologize or feel bad for finally seeing a return on my investment and neither should the owners of teams, or any other business owners. It's not like the players are underpaid, or mistreated; that would be a whole different story.

 




Since: Aug 25, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Former NBPA boss: Players taking wrong approach

Mr. Grantham has a point...........................

BUT, that / this is Billy Hunter's problem now..........................

 


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