No Movement on Day NBA Season Would Have Started
Written by Rachel Cohen, AP Sports Writer Wednesday, 02 November 2011 03:55
NEW YORK (AP) — No KD vs. Kobe, no championship banner in Dallas.
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Fisher Denies Union Rift in Letter to NBA Players
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Tuesday, 01 November 2011 14:13
Derek Fisher denied a rift in union leadership in a letter to NBA players Monday, telling them there have been "no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close" with league officials.
A story Saturday on Foxsports.com titled "Is Fisher in Stern's pocket?" said there was a disagreement between Fisher and players' association executive director Billy Hunter and that the Lakers guard had promised NBA Commissioner David Stern that he could deliver a deal with a 50-50 split in basketball-related income.
The story said Hunter confronted Fisher last Friday, the day talks with the league broke down and led to the cancellation of the entire November schedule.
"Usually I wouldn't even dignify absurd media reports with a comment. But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players," Fisher wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press and other media outlets. "Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for.
"And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close. We are united in serving you and presenting the best options and getting everyone back to work."
Players and owners made progress on a number of issues related to the salary cap system over two days last week. But the negotiations fell apart again on the third day, when the sides decided to revisit the BRI split again.
Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split, while players have proposed reducing their guarantee from 57 percent down to 52.5, which they say would transfer more than $1.5 billion to owners over six years.
"My goal, the executive committee's ONLY goal is to present you with the most fair deal possible," Fisher wrote. "A deal that is both fair on system and BRI. One isn't more important than the other. They are both extremely impactful to our business, our sport and our day to day life in the league."
Fisher put the blame squarely on owners in the letter, telling players that "if nothing more, the league and owners should understand people's livelihoods are at stake."
"They should be able to take the over 1 billion dollars we've offered them and open the doors of their arenas and let us, along with the ushers, parking attendants, everyone impacted to get back to work," Fisher added.
There have been no bargaining sessions since Friday, though Fisher told the players he would be in touch later in the week with an update.
Players will lose about $350 million with no games in November and more games could be lost without further concessions by the players, since the league has repeatedly said it won't go beyond the 50-50 split.
The Foxsports.com story identifies union leadership as a problem, saying: "This is fact: Fisher and Hunter haven't been on the same page throughout this lockout." It cites a veteran NBA player familiar with the negotiations who expressed concerns about Fisher's allegiance.
"The attempt by 'sources' to divide us will be unsuccessful," Fisher wrote. "We will continue to work every day to do right by you, the businesses that depend on our league and our fans."
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Pistons Wallace Pleads Guilty in Alcohol Case
Written by Ed White, Associated Press Tuesday, 01 November 2011 14:09
Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a felony gun charge against Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
Wallace had no prior record and was cooperative with police when his Cadillac Escalade was stopped Sept. 24 in Oakland County's Bloomfield Township, assistant prosecutor Robert Novy said in explaining the reasons for the plea deal.
A breath test showed Wallace's blood-alcohol level was 0.14 percent, above Michigan's legal limit of 0.08 percent. Police found an unloaded pistol registered to his wife in a backpack.
"He's certainly not happy he got himself in that situation," defense attorney Steve Fishman said outside court.
Wallace was accused of carrying a concealed weapon but the charge was dropped. He didn't speak in court except to acknowledge his fault in the incident.
"Had you had too much to drink?" Fishman asked.
"Yes," Wallace replied.
The maximum penalty is 93 days in jail, but Fishman expects probation and community service, perhaps basketball camps for poor kids in Pontiac, when Wallace returns to Judge Shalina Kumar's court on Dec. 13.
"I can't imagine Judge Kumar would send him to jail. ... The police treated him fairly. The prosecutor treated him fairly. We're confident the judge will treat him fairly," Fishman told reporters.
Wallace left court without commenting. He has played for five NBA teams since 1996.Add a comment
Dr. J Denies Widespread Talk of Money Troubles
Written by Glenn Minnis, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com Monday, 31 October 2011 02:53
NBA legend Julius Erving, once championed nearly as much for his shrewd business dealings as much as he was for his hardcourt wizardry, has placed most of his hoops memorabilia up for auction amid growing reports and mounting evidence he has fallen on hard financial times.
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NBA Sides Eager to Get Deal in Next Few Days
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Friday, 28 October 2011 14:51
NBA owners and players called it an early night Thursday, with both pointing toward Friday as a decisive day for big moves to end the 119-day lockout.
After two days of talks about the salary cap system, they will turn their attention back to the division of revenues, which derailed the negotiations last week.
This time, Commissioner David Stern said the talks had produced enough familiarity and trust "that will enable us to look forward to tomorrow, where we anticipate there will be some important and additional progress — or not."
"But I think (union executive director Billy Hunter) and I share that view, and we're looking forward to seeing whether something good can be made to happen."
The sides again said there was some minor progress on the system issues after about 7 1/2 hours of talks. They decided to wrap it up and get some rest following a marathon 15-hour session Wednesday, and with union economist Kevin Murphy unavailable Thursday to discuss finances.
Hunter said he thought the sides were "within striking distance of a getting a deal" on the system, but there's still no indication either side is ready to make the big move necessary to settling the BRI split.
Owners have insisted they're not going beyond 50-50, which means the sides are still about $100 million apart annually, based on last season's revenues. Players have proposed reducing their guarantee from 57 percent down to 52.5, but they're unlikely to go much further without some concessions on the system issues.
"I think we're within reach and within striking distance of getting a deal," Hunter said. "It's just a question of how receptive the NBA is and whether or not they want to do a deal."
Asked when the significant move would happen, Hunter noticed Stern sitting in the back of his press conference and said to ask the commissioner.
"Tomorrow!" Stern yelled out.
"There are no guarantees that we'll get it done, but we're going to give it one heck of a shot tomorrow," Stern said a few minutes later in his press conference. "I think that Billy and the union's negotiators feel the same way. I know that ours do."
If they don't, Stern will have to decide whether to add more cancellations to the two weeks that have already been lost.
A full season might be difficult even with a deal this week. It takes roughly 30 days from agreement to games being played, so it's uncertain if there's still time for any basketball in November even before examining arena availability. But 82 games would be a boost for the players, meaning they wouldn't miss the paycheck that seemed lost when the first two weeks were scrapped.
It was widely expected Stern would announce further cancellations this week after talks broke down a week ago. Instead, the sides were in communication the next day, staffs met Monday, and they were back at the bargaining table Wednesday, acting on Hunter's recommendation to "park" the revenue split and focus first on the system issues.
Players want a system that looks a lot like the old one, where teams have the ability to exceed the salary cap and where contracts and their raises are guaranteed. Owners are seeking changes that they believe would create more competitive balance by removing the big market teams' ability to spend freely beyond the cap.
They have attempted to do that by increasing the penalties teams would have to pay for exceeding the tax level. Players argue the taxes are too punitive and would scare teams from spending, thereby creating a hard cap.
"Our position hasn't changed much," union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. "We're just trying to make sure that players have an opportunity to have a market for themselves and for their services, the same way we're trying to meet the league and our teams on all 30 teams being competitive."
Players have said the issues of the system and split are largely tied together, though Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have said they believe they are separate.
The key question is whether owners will insist on having both — and it sounds like they might.
"We need to resolve both issues and both issues are critical," Silver said. "One is not dependent on the other."
The sides again met in the small-group format that has been most successful in the lockout, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and union vice president of the Knicks Roger Mason Jr. also joining the talks.
The sides have seemed close before, only for the talks to break down. It was the system issues earlier this month, followed by the split last week after three days of mediation.
They are hoping a deal can be completed by early next week, with the union believing if so there would still be enough time to reschedule the canceled games. But they've now arrived at what might be the toughest part, because it always seemed these talks would come back to money.
"We're working at it," Fisher said. "It's a tough process and as we move through and try to close the gap in as many places as we can, it gets tougher towards the end."
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