Billy Hunter Takes "Pessimistic" Tone In CBA Update To Players
NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter in a letter to players earlier this month took a "noticeably pessimistic and cautionary tone" about the league's upcoming labor negotiations, according to Ben Golliver of CBSSPORTS.com. The March 3 letter, sent to all NBA players, "includes Hunter's take on the All-Star Weekend bargaining session" with the owners. Hunter wrote in part, "One point has become clear, and the owners did not shy away from this reality at our meeting; their extreme proposal is not just intended to wipe out their alleged losses. Instead, by their own admission, the owners are seeking in this negotiation to guarantee themselves a significant profit each year. As they made clear at the meeting, they would be making the same demands even if they were not claiming to be losing money. If the owners have their way in this negotiation, regardless of how effective a franchise is managed, each other will be able to use a new 'idiot proof' system to ensure that in addition to the appreciating return on his investment, he will reap millions in profits each year, while the players' compensation, job security and freedoms recede." Hunter told players that one sticking point in the CBA talks is the owners' "apparent insistence on instituting a hard salary cap." He added, "They repeated their claims of heavy losses and claimed that our 57% of Basketball Related Income (BRI) is too high. They insist that the current soft cap system is 'broken' and they need a new system that will create 'more competition' and fan interest" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/11). Pistons G Tracy McGrady said, "The proposal that they have out here for us, it's really bull. Some of the owners, Jerry Buss, the big-market owners, they don't want a scale-down." He added, "We're gonna have to give up something to gain a little bit. ... But it can't sway that much into the owners' favor where we're losing out big time" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/14).
WATCH & LEARN: CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger cited a source familiar with the NBA's labor situation as saying that the "outcome of the NFLPA's decertification move will provide a 'road map' and a 'blue print' for the NBPA as it weighs its legal options when it comes to preventing a lockout or reacting to one once the NBA owners impose it." Whether the NBPA "follows the NFLPA's lead and decertifies will depend nearly 100 percent on how successful the move is for the NFLPA." If decertification "works for the NFL players, you don't need a law degree to see that the NBPA will run the very same play" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/11). T'Wolves F and player rep Anthony Tolliver confirmed that the NBPA would consider decertification "if talks break down this summer." Tolliver: "It's something that's looming as an option. ... It's been talked about, but we're not sure we're going to do it. We're just keeping our options open." He added, "I want to follow the NFL's situation as much as possible and see how their players handle things. Hopefully, our talks go much smoother" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 3/12).