NEW YORK — It was a tough weekend here, with a freak snowstorm dumping loads of heavy, wet snow on tress whose leaves were still green. Branches came down everywhere, closing roads (including some in David Stern’s neighborhood) and knocking out power.
It is not easy running a Web site with no electricity, so a couple of items that should have been looked at more closely went unmentioned.
This morning, we fix that.
Item: Jason Whitlock, writing for FOXSports.com, says Stern did not move off of 50/50 because he believed Derek Fisher was willing to accept that split.
“This is fact: The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisherhas been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push. … A veteran NBA player familiar with the negotiations characterized the concerns about Fisher’s allegiance as similar to the concerns about Michael Curry in 2005, the year of the league’s last collective-bargaining agreement. … According to my source, at least one five-time champion, NBA superstar with the initials K.B. was on board with Fisher’s push for a 50-50 split. Hunter is firm that the players should not accept less than 52-48. According to my source, (union director Billy) Hunter and a member of the executive committee convinced Fisher to stand firm at 52-48 after they questioned the Lakerspoint guard about his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver. … This is opinion: Billy Hunter has to answer to the bottom 325 players. Derek Fisher has to answer to the superstars and David Stern. This is fact: Fisher and Hunter haven’t been on the same page throughout this lockout.
Item: An NBA spokesman said there was “nothing to report” regarding a possible fine for Heat owner Micky Arison for the tweets he sent out Friday night after negotiations broke off. “Nothing to report” does not mean “nothing.” It means the NBA is keeping this particular piece of punitive business out of the public eye. Here is a synopsis of what went down between Arison and his tweeps from Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
“It started with a post directed to his Twitter account that read, “Guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over you greedy (expletive) pigs.” Arison responded, “Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner.”
(That response apparently was later deleted.) Arison is considered to be among the owners pushing for a swift resolution to the lockout that now has dragged on since July 1, especially with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on his roster. Later, from another Twitter account came this post to Arison’s account, “Know it’s not ur fault at this point, it’s become child’s play. Grown men making stupid decisions over money.” Replied Arison, “Exactly.”
That had the initial poster chiming in with, “Then can you bark at the other owners? This is RIDICULOUS!!!”
Replied Arison, “Now u r making some sense.” Arison then retweeted a post from another account that read, “Heat ratings proved that fans want to see super teams in big markets instead of a ton of small-market teams each with one st(ar).” Another account offered, “NBA labor is a joke! You owners don’t care about us FANS at all!,” to which Arison responded on his account, “Wrong we care a lot.” Later, he retweeted the question, “are you allowed to comment about ur feelings on the small market/big market issues some of the owners bring up?” He replied, “No.” From there, Arison retweeted from another account, “having “all 32 teams compete” is complete BS. Such an unrealistic and stupid idea.” In response he simply offered a smiley face (since there are only 30 NBA teams).
Item: In delivering some props to Mr. Beck of the Old Gray Lady for reporting on the details of what has been agreed to, I neglected to do the same for Sam Amick of SI.com, who has a similar piece and details the unresolved issues (aside from the BRI split):
Annual increases: Previously, Bird players were given 10.5 percent annual raises while non-Bird players were given 8 percent raises. The NBPA has proposed annual increases of 7.5 percent and 6 percent, while the NBA is proposing annual increases of 5.5 percent and 3.5 percent. Early termination options: These options are negotiated into player contracts on an individual basis and allow them to opt out of their deals after an agreed-upon year(s). The NBA, however, has proposed eliminating ETOs, as well as player options that essentially serve the same purpose by giving the player a choice on whether to opt-in to a particular year of his deal or become a free agent. Sign-and-trades: The sign-and-trade was previously an option for all teams, but the NBA is pushing to prohibit tax-paying teams from being able to do so in the new deal. What’s more, sign-and-trade contracts will likely be for no more than four years. CBA length: The NBA is proposing a 10-year agreement with an option to terminate after the seventh year. The NPBA has accepted the 10-year term, so long as the players have an option to terminate the agreement following Year No. 6 and No. 8.