Tag:Derek Fisher
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:36 pm

Report: NBA, Players to meet again next week

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Don't look now, but the pace of the NBA's labor negotiation talks appears to be finally, mercifully, picking up.

After meeting just once during the first eight weeks of the lockout, which began on July 1, representatives of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association plan to meet for the second time in less than 10 days, according to SI.com.
According to two sources close to the situation, the NBA and National Basketball Players' Association have agreed to meet again next week.

As was the case with Wednesday's six-hour meeting in Manhattan, next week's session is expected to include only a small group of representatives and will likely take place on Wednesday or Thursday.

NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter all met in New York City on Wednesday, although both sides were tight-lipped about the details of the meeting, going so far as to refuse to characterize it as either positive or negative.

With the pace apparently accelerating, here's what we know: the two sides have agreed to stop taking shots at each other in public and that there is still enough time to get a deal done prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season. We also know that neither side has moved off of their original bargaining positions, neither side seems poised to move off of their original bargaining positions and billions of dollars separate the two sides. We also know that the start of training camp is roughly 3-4 weeks away.

In other words, it's good that the foot is back on the gas pedal, but it's time to really stomp on that sucker.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 7:40 am

NBA, players tight-lipped after six-hour meeting

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Finally, officials from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association sat across the table from each other in a negotiating session on Wednesday. The big question: Did they make any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement? That is still unclear in the meeting's immediate aftermath.

As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last week, the Wednesday meeting consisted only of a select few individuals from each side, including NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and players association president Derek Fisher, rather than full negotiating teams from both sides.

The New York Times reported that Wednesday's meeting at a Manhattan hotel lasted for six hours, but that the sides didn't have much to offer to reporters afterwards, refusing to say even whether the talks were positive or negative.

The USA Today also reported that Fisher was about as mum as it gets. "There won't be much to share," Fisher said. "We still have a lot of work to do, and that's what we're going on at this point."

The paper noted that Fisher "did acknowledge there has not been a drastic ideological change on either side."

Sports Illustrated reported that Stern and Silver were similarly vague, noting that the league officials "didn't offer many specifics [but] did say [meeting in] small groups [was] more productive."

The Times reported that Stern did say that "there is definitely time to make a deal."

USA Today quoted Silver painting the meeting as an important step. "It's good we're meeting," Silver said. "We're not going to get a deal done unless we spend time together. I'd say that's progress onto itself"

Further talks are expected but no specifics as to when, where and with whom attending were made available.

Despite the lack of details and tight-lipped nature of these comments, there was one clear bright spot. The Times noted that Fisher stated that the league and the Players Association "agreed to dispense with the rhetoric and public shots at each other." Civility is certainly a first step towards compromise.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 12:50 pm

Players advised to keep money trouble talk down

Posted by Royce Young

With a vital meeting taking place soon between the owners and players, the NBA's labor situation is about to get tense. Not just tense in terms of actual negotiating. It's already there and has been there for months.

But in terms of public relations, that battle's just about to get started. Nobody looks good in a lockout to fans, media and casual onlookers. It's billonaires and millionaires arguing over who gets what. We don't care. We just want the game to be played. But keeping the public on your side is pretty critical because if you have them, it puts a lot more pressure on the other side. A valuable negotiating tool.
And the players union is looking to stay on top of this. Kind of remarkable really that nothing has come out to make the players look all that bad, especially when you consider all the Twitter accounts littered throughout the league. At least one slip-up surely will happen, right?

“It was a huge emphasis,” Derek Fisher told the New York Times. “The reality is, we’re in a great position, where guys have worked to put themselves in this place where they can potentially earn millions of dollars.”

One thing the players' union has done, via the New York Times, is distribute a handy lockout handbook. Included in that: Don't go around telling people how poor you are now.
At Fisher’s direction, the union last fall distributed a 56-page lockout handbook to its 400-plus players. Tucked between tabs on “budgeting” and “player services” is a section devoted to “media,” with talking points on everything from the N.B.A.’s financial losses (“vastly overstated”) to franchise values (“Warriors just sold for $450M”).

But the key point, perhaps, is this simple reminder: “Please be sensitive about interviews or other media displays of a luxurious lifestyle.”

As the Times' story mentions, back during the 1998 lockout, this was kind of an issue.
On the first day of that lockout, the union president Patrick Ewing declared that players were “fighting for our rights” — a modest overstatement that invited ridicule and presaged the public-relations nightmare to come.

In October, Kenny Anderson, a star guard with a $49 million contract, laid out his finances for The New York Times. Among his expenses: $75,000 for insurance and maintenance on his eight cars. Anderson joked that he might have to sell one.

“You know, just get rid of the Mercedes,” he said.

The low point for players came two months later, when agents organized a charity game, with some of the proceeds earmarked for out-of-work players. As Ewing explained then, professional athletes “make a lot of money, but they also spend a lot of money.”

Whatever sympathy the players might have enjoyed surely vanished with those 13 words. The statement stands among the biggest gaffes in sports labor history.

We all know how much players make. It's right there on the Internet in about 20 different places if you want to see how much Samuel Dalembert made last year. And even players on the low end -- guys with the veteran minimum -- still probably make a lot more money than you and I. It's a fortunate life and because of it, can afford to spend a lot of it on cars, houses, boats, parties and whatever else.

But Fisher and the union and taking a smart step because they know that we don't care. We don't care if a player had to get a 2011 Maybach instead of a 2012. We don't care if he had to buy a cheaper bottle of champagne at dinner. We don't care if instead of vacationing in Rome, he had to go to Mexico. When real people are out of real jobs trying to feed families, it's kind of hard to have any sympathy for a millionaire that's trying to "rough" it right now.

Not to say some players have already went into that territory. Dwyane Wade joked on Twitter "Any1 hiring" the day after the lockout started. George Hill pondered if he could file for unemployment. As the Times mentions, Landry Fields joked about going "dutch" with his date during dinner and Anthony Tolliver tweeted about shopping wisely at the mall. Delonte West on the other hand, appears to actually be applying for jobs.

And it's no secret why players are signing up to play overseas: money. They want to maintain that bank account. That's how the owners are trying to hurt them by altering their otherwise lavish lifestyles.

Joking on Twitter about being unemployed is almost crossing a boundary. Hill's tweet about filing for unemployment definitely irked some people. But it's not quite the issue the players had in 1998. Just think if there was Twitter then. Would've taken a whole lot more than a handbook.

Here's a pro tip though: You want to win this PR battle? Come to an agreement and play ball. We'll definitely be on your side then.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 6:08 pm

Stern: NBA players not negotiating in good faith

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Representatives for the NBA owners and Players Association met at the Omni Berkshire Place in New York City on Monday to re-open negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement one month after the league locked out its players on July 1.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger was live on the scene to provide instant quotes and reaction.

The following is a selection of Berger's tweets from the immediate aftermath on Monday afternoon featuring quotes from NBPA president Derek Fisher and NBA commissioner David Stern. 

The key takeaway points: no progress was made on Monday, additional meetings will be scheduled to continue negotiations and Stern apparently accused the NBPA of not negotiating in good faith.
Derek Fisher emerges from nearly 3-hour bargaining session and acknowledges owners and players are still in the same place as 30 days ago.

Fisher: "A lot of ideas are being thrown around, but it's become clear that the bottom line is the bottom line."

Fisher heading back to L.A. Both sides trying to schedule 2-3 more sessions this month, preferably on consecutive days, Fisher said.

Stern, Silver and Glen Taylor expressed desire to get deal done. "But where their proposal lies makes it hard to believe," Fisher said.

Stern: "I'm not optimistic." Then, in his last words before leaving, he essentially accused TheNBPA of not bargaining in good faith.

Asked if players are bargaining in good faith or not, Stern said, "I would say not," and walked away.

More Stern: "I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way."
Certainly that is the strongest language that Stern or a league official has directed towards the players to date during this negotiating process.

This post will update as additional information comes in.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:54 pm

Fisher says the lockout's been 'weirdly quiet'

Posted by Royce Young

It's been 30 days since NBA owners locked out their players. And that thirty days has been filled with, well, a lot of nothing.

No more negotiations. No meetings, or at least important ones. No noise from either side about what needs to be done. No posturing, slandering, mudslinging or whatever. As NBPA president Derek Fisher told ESPN LA, the lockout has been "weirdly quiet."

"It's been long, but it's been weirdly quiet," he said. "To push as hard as we did in the month of June to see if we could get a deal done prior to July 1, it's essentially been crickets since then."

According to reports, a bargaining session is scheduled for sometime this week, though Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says not to get too excited about this one. Not much will happen most likely, but the good news is that there is finally a little noise. Something is much better than nothing. In a lockout, the silence is defeaning.

The two sides will reconvene 31 days after the lockout began. In the shortened season of 1999, it took 45 days for the sides to get back to the table. I'm taking that as a good sign.

Fisher also made a quality point that sets up the future negotiations well, saying that it's been a bit overlooked how the players compromised quite a bit in scaling back their take of Basketball Related Income from 57 to 54 percent. But instead, all we hear about is hard caps and guaranteed contracts.

"If, as players, we feel we can operate under a fair system, then we can maybe work towards a fair number," Fisher said. "I think our counterparts feel a little bit differently, they want to get a number set and they're not as concerned with the way the system looks if they get the right number. We don't think that's the best way to approach it. We want to make sure we keep a fair system in place for all players now and coming in later and I think the numbers will kind of take care of themselves.

"It's more about getting the process started again," he continued. "Kind of rolling the sleeves back up and starting to do the hard work that it's going to take to try and get something done between now and October 1st or when the start of training camp would be. I don't know if there's going to be any major movement on Monday."

No major movement is a bummer, but at least there's going to be some dialogue. Hard to get any closer to something when you're not even talking.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 14, 2011 8:30 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 8:46 pm

Robert Horry: Derek Fisher is too old for Lakers

Robert Horry says Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher is too old. Posted by Ben Golliver.


Robert Horry was one of the NBA's all-time great winners. They say you need a lot of luck and the right circumstances to win an NBA title, making Horry one of the luckiest judges of circumstances the league has ever seen.

Horry won multiple titles with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, snagging the moniker "Big Shot Rob" along the way. Never a star, Horry could be counted on to do the little things, be in the right place at the right time and step up to take an important shot regardless of how much pressure there was in a given situation. His career haul: Seven rings. More than Michael Jordan. More than Kobe Bryant. More than Shaquille O'Neal.  Pretty nuts.

In other words, Horry knows winning. Asked by the Los Angeles Times what it will take for the Lakers, Horry didn't mince words, pointing the finger at the Lakers' starting point guard, and his former teammate, Derek Fisher.
"I think they need another good point guard. No disrespect to Derek Fisher. But Derek is long in the tooth. I've been there, done that. I understand that. They need to get a point guard who can distribute the ball, get people in order and not be afraid to tell Kobe [Bryant], 'no.'"
Aside from a new point guard, Horry urged minor changes over major changes.
"All they need is a season of rest. They have more time off to rest. If they don't do anything ridiculous like blowing it up, they'll be fine. Go out and add a couple more bench pieces, get some role players who don't mind doing some dirty work, and they'll be fine."
Fisher, 36, has five rings and is the president of the Players Association, so it goes without saying that he is one of the league's most respected elder statesmen. The numbers, however, aren't particularly kind to him. Fisher averaged just 6.8 points -- his lowest total in more than a decade -- and 2.7 assists last season. He didn't miss a game for the sixth consecutive season, but his lack of athleticism and quickness proved to be limiting factors for the Lakers.

On the bright side, Fisher still was able to log 28.0 minutes per game, meaning there's plenty of room to reduce his role over the next two seasons, as he's under contract through 2012-2013. It's certainly possible that his "old-man game" still has a place for the Lakers off the bench. A complicating factor with continuing Fisher in his current role is that Bryant's athleticism is also starting to give a bit too age. Pairing Bryant with a more active, dynamic starting point guard would be the ideal situation, with the option of returning to Fisher in big late-game moments should the need arise.

Fisher is one of the smartest and sneakiest players in the league, master of every trick in the book. But each new year brings another crop of super-elite athletes at the point guard position. Horry is correct here. Unless there's an extended work stoppage that allows Fisher extra time to rest his body, the time is right for the Lakers to make a change at the point.

Here's video of Horry's comments about Fisher courtesy of YouTube user LosAngelesTimes.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:17 pm

Derek Fisher speaks about oncoming lockout

Posted by Royce Young

Union president Derek Fisher spoke with reporters following the 2 1/2-hour meeting that ended up not producing enough progress to prevent a lockout. Fisher said the players' new proposal wasn't received well and expressed his disappointment in the failed negotiations.

But he also made the point that this isn't the end.

"Both sides left the room still fully committed to trying to get a collective bargaining agreement done," he said. "If [a lockout] is what we're faced with tonight, that doesn't mean NBA basketball is over. We're going to continue to negotiate in July, August, September  and figure out a way to get it done."

Regardless, there's still a giant gap between the sides. Getting back to the negotiating table will be good, but that doesn't mean a deal is going to get done. Both sides are going to have to give a lot to finally find some common ground in the middle. It's just a question of who is finally willing to bend.

Posted on: June 29, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:12 am

NBA Lockout Primer: questions and answers

A quick primer to get you up to speed on the NBA lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver. 


If you think the upcoming NBA lockout and potential work stoppage boils down to billionaires and millionaires fighting over who gets to make money off of a game, I wouldn't argue with you.

Despite more than a year of rhetoric from both sides, charges that the game's economic model is totally flawed and needs to be revamped and threats that an entire season could be lost, the labor situation facing the NBA boils down, first and foremost, to dollars and cents. NBA owners are looking for a larger share of the pie, less financial risk and a more equitable playing field; the players are mostly aiming to maintain the status quo, which includes a healthy share of league revenues, lengthy, guaranteed contracts and a soft cap system that helps prop up player salaries.

The league's teams are represented by NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and an ownership panel. The players are represented by NBA Players Association Executive Direction Billy Hunter, NBPA president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, and other board members.
To get an idea for what the two sides are arguing about and where they stand on each of the major issues, let's break it down item by item.

1. Split of Revenues 

By far the biggest issue facing this labor situation is the division of overall revenues. In the NBA, revenues are referred to as Basketball-Related Income. Under the current system, the players take home 57% while the owners are left with 43%.

Over the last year or so, the owners have raised a number of reasons they feel their share should be bigger: costs associated with stadiums, additional expenses incurred through long-term debts, the rising costs of travel and so on.  The NBA has claimed that 22 of its 30 franchises lost money this past season.

The easiest way to fix that problem, of course, is to drastically reduce costs associated with players. In other words, by cutting their salaries significantly. Options on the table: rolling back future salaries of previously agreed to contracts, reducing the length of contracts (less years = less money) and reducing the amount of guarantees in a contract (allowing an owner to get out of a bad contract more easily or more quickly). It goes without saying that the players are opposed to all of those ideas on principle, given that they represent major concessions to what they have previously negotiated for themselves.    

2. The Type of Salary Cap

Unlike the National Football League, the NBA operates under what is called a "soft cap" as opposed to a "hard cap." In a hard cap system, there's a spending limit that you cannot exceed on player salaries. Once you hit the maximum salary amount, you can't add players without subtracting current players by trading or waiving them. In a soft cap system, teams are able to exceed the salary cap in a number of ways. In the NBA, the most common way to exceed the salary cap is to re-sign your own players to large contract extensions. The NBA also has salary cap exceptions which allow teams that have exceeded the salary cap to sign additional players. These include the mid-level exception, which allows every team  over the cap an extra salary slot that is equal to the average player salary in the league, and the veteran's minimum, which allows a team to fill out its roster with low-dollar salaried players.

The NBA owners have proposed switching the league's salary cap to a hard cap system. This would have the effect of limiting spending overall, as owners would not have the ability to employ their exceptions or sign their star players to lucrative extensions without making cuts from the rest of their roster. Under a hard cap system, if you wanted to sign a star player to an extension, you would have to make room by getting rid of other players first. For example, if the Memphis Grizzlies wanted to sign Marc Gasol this summer, they would have to trade away some of their current players to make it happen.

A soft cap system is ideal for the players. It keeps salaries high, gives them good options in free agency and allows them to be rewarded for their loyalty if they decide to stay with their current organizations when they become free agents. It's worth noting that some teams -- especially big-spending teams -- are going to be opposed to a hard cap system. Star-laden teams with large payrolls like the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks would be difficult, if not impossible, to build in a hard cap system. The Lakers have the highest payroll in the league, in part, because they have signed stars like Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to big-dollar extensions.

The NBA has enjoyed booming popularity this season, in large part because of the success of the Heat, which was built on acquiring multiple, high-dollar free agents. Switching to a hard cap system could kill that golden goose. Still, many owners are pushing to level the playing field when it comes to spending because large-market teams are able to shell out significantly more dollars because their revenues -- in the form of television deals and the like -- are so much greater. One possible compromise that has been raised is a "flex cap" system, which would firm up the current system a bit but still allow for some exceptions.

A balance will need to be found between protecting the owners' ability to retain their own players while also protecting them from being able to spend so recklessly that they are not able to turn a profit. The players believe this boils down to the owners simply needing to exercise greater restraint. The owners believe the system needs additional measures because spending big -- way too big -- has become necessary to put together a winning team. 

3. Revenue Sharing

There's no better way to illustrate the difference between large markets and small markets in the NBA than to look at the TV deals. In 2007, the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly signed a 10-year agreement with Comcast Sports NorthWest to carry their games for $120 million. In February, the Los Angeles Lakers announced a reported 20-year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable. In other words, the Lakers will receive more revenue in the first year of their deal than the Blazers will over the duration of their decade-long deal.

Currently, the league has a system of revenue sharing that redistributes money from teams that exceed what is called the "luxury tax." When teams spend significantly over the salary cap, they pay a dollar-for-dollar tax to a league-wide fund that gets split up and sent out to all the teams that didn't spend significantly over the salary cap. 

Generally speaking, small-market teams argue that the large-market teams couldn't succeed and profit as greatly as they do without the league structure and all of its teams. Therefore they believe large-market teams should share a great portion of their revenues. The large-market teams believe their organizations and brands are the ones generating the revenue and therefore believe they shouldn't need to share those revenues with small-market teams. By and large, the players are mostly indifferent on this issue. They care less about how the owners divvy up their money and more about what slice of the Basketball-Related Income pie they receive themselves. 

NBA commissioner David Stern has said he wants to create an atmosphere where all 30 teams can compete for a title. That's been taken to mean that the NBA will expand its revenue sharing system. It's possible that the revenue sharing discussion would come after the first two issues mentioned above are resolved.

4. Tertiary Issues

Every time these two sides get together to negotiate, smaller issues arise. In the past, these have included things like the dress code, the institution of a one-and-done rule which mandates players attend college for at least one season, and the inclusion of an amnesty clause, which allows owners to achieve some financial relief on a contract that currently exists.

This time around, the owners could push for an expanded version of the one-and-done rule which would require two years of attendance in college. The players generally oppose that revision -- and the current rule -- preferring that high school players be eligible to enter directly into the NBA Draft pool. 

Both sides could be in favor of an amnesty clause as the owners receive financial relief and the players would be paid in full and able to seek a new contract if it is used.

A franchise tag, which would increase a team's ability to keep its own high-demand free agents, has also been rumored.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com