Sheridan column: Boies wavers on whether he’ll call NBA

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NEW YORK — The next logical step in the illogical NBA lockout is for David Boies to call Jeffrey Mishkin, or for Jeffrey Mishkin to call David Boies.

The latter attorney, Boies, who represented Al Gore against George W. Bush in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, now represents NBA players, and Mishkin is the outside counsel for NBA commissioner David Stern and the owners.

It would take approximately 2 minutes for their secretaries to put that call together.

And after obfuscating and posturing for the better part of an hour in a meeting with reporters Monday night, Boies finally yielded to the  relentless logical questioning of yours truly, put his hands to his temples for 13 seconds and then said he may just go ahead and make that phone call sometime in the next day or two.

“Some lawyers say to pick up the phone is a sign of weakness,” Boies said. “But if you’re weak, you’re weak, and if you’re strong, you’re strong.  It doesn’t make you weak or strong by your calling or not calling. On the other hand, until they’re prepared to say something other than what they just put out in this statement, the question is, why are you calling?”

This particular episode of peacocking … oops, I mean news briefing … was designed to be a show of strength from the players’ new lead attorney, an epic billable hour ($1,225 is Boies’ going rate) of rhetorical posturing about how the NBA owners are now in really, really big trouble because they are leaving themselves open for triple damages —  about $6 billion if the entire 2011-12 season is missed.

Boies announced that two separate players’ lawsuits were being combined, with a new suit being filed in Minnesota, the same jurisdiction — covered by the 8th Circuit in the Court of Appeals — where the NFL players had their temporary restraining order ending the NFL lockout overturned.

“I suspect that we will hear from them, either in settlement discussions or litigation. They are going to have to answer the complaint, and were looking forward to engaging them,” Boies said. ”If this is a matter that can be settled, we’re prepared to do that. If the league’s approach is to ignore this litigation and try to go into a state of denial and hope it goes away, I think that will be not in anyone’s interest.”

With former union director Billy Hunter sitting alongside him, the players’ new lead advocate said combining the complaints was the best way to expedite the case, to which I strenuously objected. Yes, I understand that it is probably incumbent upon the owners to pick up the phone first, since it is bad form for an attorney to sue someone and then call them up to ask if they’d like to settle.

But the NBA owners have gone mum, and at a certain point it can do no harm to make an exploratory call to the people you just filed suit against. It might not be the traditional thing to do, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing, either.

So I made the decision to argue the point with Boies (who had recounted in a casual conversation before the news briefing began that Supreme Court justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor were the ones who swung the election to Bush in 2000 when they halted the recount in Florida).

Sheridan: “What kind of settlement discussions, if any, have taken place so far?”

Boies: “None.”

Sheridan: “Has there been any contact between the two sides?”

Boise: “Not yet. Nope.”

Sheridan: “Why is that?”

Boise: “I think they made it pretty clear, especially with the statement they just made, that they have no interest in talking to us. It takes two people to negotiate. You heard me say six days ago that I thought this is the kind of case that people ought to try to resolve. And the response from the owners is to say this is a baseless litigation that they’re going to ignore. It takes two people to make a deal.”

Sheridan: “Why not call them?”

Boise: “Billy tried, Billy could tell you how long he tried to get them to negotiate. Frankly, if instead of getting a response that said ‘This is baseless litigation and it ought to go away,’ if they recognized the interest in the game and the interest of the fans, I’d give them a call right now if I had someone to call. If they had the same attitude that we told you six days ago, that this is a lawsuit that ought to be resolved, if that was their attitude, too, I’d be happy to give them a call. If we’re standing on ceremony, if this is a question of who calls whom, I don’t have any problem with being the person that makes the first call. But to call in the face of the kind of treatment that Billy and his people got, and the kind of treatment that is evidenced by the statement they just put out, there isn’t any case in making a call.”

I was not satisfied.

And frankly, I am so dissatisfied with his 4 1/2-month exercise in idiocy that I re-engaged him. (Boies had just finished explaining why he could not, under legal ethical rules, contact Stern directly. But he did concede that he could contact Mishkin as long as Mishkin will be the lead outside counsel for the NBA in this case).

Sheridan: “So if there’s a call to be made, you could make it, or Jeff Mishkin could make it. Can we agree on that?”

Boies: “I think either one of us could make it. I think before I made it, I would probably call him and say I assume you are representing the owners in this lawsuit. If he said no, then I would say ‘Do you know who is representing them?’ And I would call that person.”

Sheridan: “If I may play devil’s advocate, wouldn’t that speed up the process more than filing a new lawsuit?”

Boise: “Only if they want to talk. I could make all the calls in the world … “

Sheridan: “But you haven’t.”

Boise: “And the reason I haven’t is because of that statement (the public statement made by the NBA) and the statements they made to Billy. And in the face of someone saying ‘I don’t want to talk to you, we’ve got an offer, take it or leave it, this is the ultimatum, we’re going to make no more proposals, and somebody saying this is baseless, it ought to go away,’ that’s a waste of time for someone to make a telephone call.”

The meeting adjourned not too long after that, but Boise stuck around and continued talking.

My point in arguing with him, I said while thanking him for allowing me to argue with him, is people do not want to hear that the owners are now compelled to respond within the next three weeks. They want action NOW.

Everyone around the NBA, including Stern, Hunter, Boies, Mishkin, Jeffrey Kessler (conspicuously absent for the second straight Boies news conference) and the fans who have been following the lockout closely, realizes that the sides are close enough (or at least they were less than two weeks ago) that the remaining differences can be settled in a matter of a few hours, if not minutes.

Nobody wants to hear anything resembling revelry over the fact that the owners must now file a court brief by Dec. 5, which is what Boies was selling.

People want to know when this thing will be settled, and they are growing impatient. Boise again made the point about the league’s public statement, and I countered by saying that was merely posturing  for public consumption.

Sheridan: “That was spin. If you call Mishkin, you can talk turkey.

Boies: “I don’t have that sense, but … (13 second pause) … I suppose it couldn’t hurt for me to call him. You know, I suppose it couldn’t hurt for me to call him. Ask me that Wednesday.

Wednesday? Why Wednesday? Is there something happening Tuesday that would necessitate me speaking to Boies on Wednesday?

I asked him that very question later, in the lobby, and he acknowledged he was strongly considering seeing if this process can’t be fast-tracked with a phone call. And if that phone call is made, it’ll be made before the close of business Wednesday, he said.

It might end up costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential billable hours, but it might help this dispute get back on track — if not toward a resolution, at least toward a renewed dialogue.

That’s the least they could do, correct?

That was my point, and hopefully Boies bought it.

 

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  1. I love it. This is exactly what the entitled players needed. A WAKE CALL! you are not going to get your way! And by listening to lawyers and agents you know will find yourself in an even worst position. All this is a positive thing for the NBA and it’s fans. No more Eddie Curry’s, No more Nazr Mohammed. Stiffs like this should make the league minimum if that. Just because you can play does’nt mean you should make big money. The fact that you can play well should make it possible for you to make big money. And remember the league minmum is alot of money compared to these players would be making if they were not in the NBA especially in these economic times. As a Marine with 2 brothers who also served in makes me sick to see these players whining and wanting to be treated like heroes. I know heroes real heroes who put more on the line than a cushy paycheck. thank the lord for the fact that you are able to play basketball and get a good sum of money doing so and STFU!!!!

  2. Here’s the problem with this article and most of the comments. All you care about is having an NBA season period. I’m sorry, but I don’t want an NBA season where players can only get 4 year contracts and tax teams can’t use all of the exceptions that were in the 05 CBA.

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with the last CBA except that the players we getting too much of BRI once the economy tanked. As soon as the players gave back the 4-7%, there should have been a deal. But no. The owners are demanding these outrageous “competitive balance” changes, not to mention that they have been proven to not increase balance. That’s what the players are fighting for, the NBA system that we know and love.

    • Why are 4 year contracts bad? I’d say the vast majority of 5/6 year contracts look REALLY bad towards the end. Either the player has drastically diminshed in skill (Shard, Joe Johnson pre-emptively, Artest, etc) or has been injured to the point of ineffectiveness (Arenas, Luke Walton, J O’neal, Roy, etc) or is just clearly dogging it due to lack of motivation (Curry, Blatche, Vince Carter, etc). Sure, LeBron and Wade’s contract look great but they’re the exception (and maybe wade’s doesn’t look so great in four years either?). As a fan, you should be firmly advocating for ‘pay for play.’

      • Because due to the rookie scale, good players are dramatically underpaid (against what their value would be in free agency) for the first four years of their careers. Likewise, superstars are dramatically underpaid due to the max salary. These players are essentially subsidizing the role players. Again, the players, not the owners, are subsidizing these deals.

        The reason for this is simple: the bulk of NBA players are role players, so they exert the most influence on the union. As a result, the union negotiates deals that favor them.

        The fair thing to do, if owners want to pay players a fair amount, is to abolish the max salary and rookie scale, but these two aspects of the CBA cash cows for the owners. Then they could make a fair claim that these exceptions and longer contracts are unfair. This makes the owners hypocrites, plain and simple.

        • The owners should remove the max salaries – that would drastically improve competitive balance – but the union would never agree to it. Like you said, the role players drive the union, and their salaries have inflated a huge amount since the inception of the max salary structure. If the players are only guaranteed 50% of BRI, why do you think the majority of the union would want the minority of the union to get most of that money?

          • you’re absolutely right. It could never happen. But the owners have never even proposed it, so that’s why I see their demand for reigning in the exceptions as a hypocrisy.

            Here’s why I don’t really have a problem with the system as it was last year. Yes, you overpay for role players. However, every team is still on the same level in that regard. Good teams find higher quality role players for the same price. The worst contract the Spurs have handed out in the 20 years was to Richard Jefferson. This is because they have smart management. Bad teams, like the Knicks under Isiah Thomas, throw their exception money at any player they can get, and you end up with players like Jerome James and Jared Jeffries with $35 million contracts. To me, that’s fair play. The stupid teams should pay a price for their stupidity. If they change the system so those role players aren’t overpaid anymore, the poorly managed teams will find a new way to screw their teams up.

    • sir u r a moron….I dont care how much player get on BRI 50 to 53 % its system that is broken , and that needs to be fixed…

  3. The really relevant thing that I haven’t heard anyone mention is what are the sides bargaining positions right now? They will try to negotiate this one more time I am sure. But where are they starting from? If it is picked up at the point of the last negotiation then it would seem that it would be possible for a deal to be made fairly quickly. However, if both sides have changed their offers to them receiving 53% then this is over. There is no way they are playing this year. I would like someone to try and get some clerification on that.

  4. Has Mr. Sheridan engaged in this level of back and forth with Commissioner Stern at any point during the lockout and grilled him on his numerous attempts to spin reality?
    If he has, I’d like to read the transcripts from those exchanges as well. If he has not, I’d like to know why he hasn’t.

    • He’s been questioned by others, and has made his offer quite clear. Aside from legal action, what’s the players’ offer?

      • They offer to change what was previously negotiated in BRI to cover non-player costs that have since risen. Thus making the NBA solvent based on that concession alone, ie owners are not even being asked to look within to fix the financial problems. Those increased costs include the financing to purchase NBA franchises. Interestingly enough the new CBA will make the NBA franchises more valuable increasing the loans necessary to purchase franchises which in turn may drive the NBA into the red in the future.

        • Though I’m sure you have great expertise in analyzing NBA finances and their effects on franchise values, I’d have thought you would have realized by now that the BRI doesn’t represent the current big bones of contention.

          Many owners see this as an opportunity to make some fixes to the system, that they feel is needed for the long term health and growth of the league/game. As far as I know, the league/game, and players by the way, have done very well under Stern’s watch, so work with me here. The league has stated quite clearly what system changes they want, and why they want to make them. In light of their declaration of negotiating in good faith, what are the players countering with?

          • That is exactly the point of view that is baffling; that somehow BRI isn’t a big bone of contention. That is a HUGE move by the players to make the NBA ‘whole’ by themselves. Yet somehow it is just forgotten water under the bridge.

            Not sure what your expectations are about parity in the NBA, but if you think the system changes are going to fundamentally change the league then you bought into some empty promises. Check out TrueHoop, Abbott goes on and on about legislating competitive balance.

          • There are plenty of opinions out there, but anybody who argues about “empty promises” is whistling in the wind. Nobody is “promising” anything, but the majority of the owners believe they have more than a snowball’s chance in hell only if changes are implemented. The players still have their contracts fully guaranteed (sadly, but a HUGE step by the owners) and the softened proposed changes don’t exactly present hardship to the players. Bottom line is the majority of people who have put up the $$$ to build and finance this league have decided that the players, agents, and big spenders have abused the current system enough that they’re not moving forward with the system as is. Remember, it’s their business, not the players. They have far more understanding of the effects of the current system than someone at TrueHoop and have presented their proposal for all to critique. Why are the players so afraid of presenting their counter-proposal, and just keep harping on their freedom/slavery claims? If we could see both sides, you and I, and many others, might have a little more substance to discuss. As it is, tell me what’s so bad about the owners’ proposal that the players are forfeiting more $$$ than they’ll ever make up, forfeiting the balance of some players’ NBA careers, and threatening litigation that could destroy the league. Not that they’ll actually win that battle. There is no court in the land that is going bankrupt some owners in the name of players having more “freedom”. I have no sympathy for a bunch of pampered athletes that have taken “business” as “personal” and are shooting them selves in both feet in the process. I guess their still confused about why the KG stare down didn’t work.

  5. Art Vandelay says:

    My sense is that the players´ attorneys, aside from pride issues, are hesitant to initiate contact first with the owners as it would likely strengthen their claim that the disclaimer of interest was a sham orchestrated as a negotiating tactic to gain more bargaining leverage. If they disband the union, file a lawsuit, and then immediately thereafter seek to negotiate with owners, it seems to support an objective view that they really only disbanded with the intent to negotiating with a stronger deck.

    My other fear is that the sides aren´t quite as close NOW as they were prior to the disclaimer of interest being filed. If the players (foolishly) believe they have more leverage now as a result of the disclaimer, they may attempt to revert to a previous CBA proposal in which they were offering, say, 52.5% of BRI, or something in that area, in addition to requesting more system concessions from owners. Owners, likewise, may have already reverted to their 47-53% split offer, thereby pushing both parties even farther apart. Perhaps they could bridge this new “gulf,” but I don´t see it resulting in a much better deal, if at all, than what the players were going to receive under the NBA´s final offer they rejected.

    • paulpressey25 says:

      I think Art’s line about the sides not being as close rings true.

      I really don’t think this situation is as close as we were led to believe. Go back to 10-days ago when the league said they wanted the players to approve the main items. Only after that point would they negotiate 20 or so “B-list” items such as drug testing, 20-year age restriction, D-league, etc.

      I’d say those items are pretty important in their own right.

      We have no idea if the league has their positions on every issue in writing, but if they don’t, they should at this point. That might bring some clarity to things. But perhaps the owners don’t want to set that paper trail out there due to the court situation and questions about bargaining in good faith.

    • You can’t use settlement discussions (the fact that they happened and what was discussed) as evidence relating to a matter in dispute in the lawsuit. If the NBA did try to use the settlement discussions in that way, their lawyers would be violating settlement privilege. Now, that doesn’t stop the judge from reading the newspapers and finding stuff out on his/her own.

      • paulpressey25 says:

        I think you can use the entire collective bargaining process that has gone on the last four months as evidence though to prevent there from even being an actual anti-trust lawsuit.

        The league has already got a suit going from August claiming that the actions of “disclaimer” are a sham designed by the players for bargaining leverage in violation of labor laws.

        My thinking is you’ve got to decide that claim in the 2nd Circuit New York first before you can allow the players to proceed with their antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota. And if I am the league, my first move is to ask the 2nd circuit to take jurisdiction of the entire matter and pull the players suit away from Minnesota and over to New York (Melo prefers New York anyways we’ve been told).

        Then the 2nd circuit reviews the bargaining history between the parties to decide if the players disclaimer will be allowed. If it is, then you can run ahead with the anti-trust lawsuit.

        In any event, the league can basically delay anything meaningful out for 6-12 months with a couple procedural filings of the next 30-days.

        The only way the players get any sort of leverage here is if:

        a) They amend their complaint and ask for an immediate court stay of the lockout claiming irreparable harm (which they players haven’t done)

        b) The 2nd circuit in NY does rule in the players favor that they are allowed to disclaim. I have no idea on the status of that case and whether a decision might come in the next 45-days or 6-months from now.

  6. The owners don’t seem to be real intimidated by the players lawsuit. If the players are waiting for the owners call I think they will be waiting a long time. Either players cave in or we have no season because the owners aren’t going to budge. They want the system to change and they are willing to kill the season to get it done. The players are playing the leverage game and the owners haven’t flinched. I don’t think Boies has much to work with and he knows it. That’s why he keeps talking about settling. Don’t see it happening.

  7. Chris,

    Great job on Boise. Its strange that a journalist needs to be making these common sense arguments when every fan out there knows how darn close they are to making a deal and how its all about egos, not substance.

    Otherwise, I love the site. Its my new favorite place for my NBA fix. ESPN did you a disservice by making you the “ESPN NY Guy” instead of a basketball journalist which is what you are. The fan backlash on your “Melo will only sign with Knicks” report was in large part due to you being perceived as a NY homer.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Chris,
    as a passionate Nba fan from oversea (Italy) I’d like to thank you: not only I’ve enjoyed your articles in the past several years, you are now also my first source of quickly-updated and independent information about these meetings and news conferences. On top of that, this article shows you’re even helping (well, trying as much as your position allows!€to speed up the process.
    So.. just thank you.

    Ps. What if wednesday is unofficially the last day for Stern to save Xmas games?

  9. Unless the courts intervene against the owners, they plan on crushing the players union.

    David Stern and the Owners have seen what the NHL did to their Hockey Players union and they intend on doing the same to the NBA players trade association (union).

    David Stern and Gary Bettman used to be partners together at Proskauer Rose LLP in Midtown NYC. They are close buddies. Gary Bettman is the commissioner of the NHL.

    Anyone with half a brain would suspect that Stern and Bettman have talked about this many a night. Stern is playing this thing out like an Artist and this next CBA will be his final masterpiece.

    Watch and see.

  10. I wish there was something that could actually come of this, but you’re basically hectoring the wrong lawyer.

    Nothing the league has done so far has been in the interest of saving the season. It’s the most absurd sort of wishful thinking to expect that talking to the owners will change anything.

    The only posturing the owners have done is to pretend that they ever wanted a season to begin with. It’s always been about breaking the union and extracting the largest possible percentage of whatever’s left of the sport when the lockout is lifted.

    It’s not about money; it’s about control and power.

  11. Good for you Chris, keep probing my friend.

  12. such sweet thunder says:

    Hi Chris:

    I wanted to say that your journalistic instincts are right on the money and there is only one question: Why hasn’t a representative for the players contacted the NBA about a resolution?

    Pride, for certain. I’m not buying any statements that it would weaken the players’ bargaining position. The players’ legal class action is a real dispute, but it’s also obviously also a case that could be solved if the sides reach an agreement on the CBA. The thought that you would decrease your leverage by immediately contacting opposing counsel doesn’t hold like it does in regular disputes because of the context.

    Indeed, the players are missing a golden opportunity to solicit a new offer from the owners. If Boies gets a flat out “no” from the NBA than he can run back to the press and say that the NBA has refused to budge on any material points. If the NBA makes a new offer . . . well than the parties may be back in business. The players are letting pride get in the way and missing a golden excuse to contact the NBA and solicit a new offer.

    Shame them into it!

    • What on Earth makes you think these owners have any shame?

      If the players offer more, the owners will ask for more. If they had any interest in getting a deal done, it would have been done months ago.

      • such sweet thunder says:

        Your probably right. But the two sides seemed awfully close only a week or so ago. There is reason for some hope — not a whole, mind you — but some.

      • Yeah,, if only they cared enough about the league to be smart enough to let the players dictate how the league, they’ve invested billions in, be operated. That’s the ticket!!

        • Situation: Let’s say you are an amazing magician. People love to watch you and will pay tons of money to do so. For a while now, you and the casinos and other venues have bid against one another to have you perform at their venue because they know you’re a solid product that will earn them cash. As a result, you both get rich.

          One day, however, all the venue owners get together and decide, “F**k this guy. We’ve spent billions of dollars building these casinos. All he is is a stupid magician. If we just get together and refuse to pay him what we’ve been paying him, he’ll have no choice but to take less. Then we can be even richer than we are now!”

          Would you, Mr. Magic Man, accept their lower offer, or would you turn the table on these venue owners and say, “Sure guys. I’m going to go do some shows at smaller venues for charity until you start offering me a fair share of the cash that my show brings in?”

          • A poor analogy, but I wouldn’t make a decision that ultimately was going to net me less money, just so I could make a point. I wouldn’t ask some other magicians standing beside me to forfeit the last year of their career so I could make a point.

  13. I’m afraid PaulPressey is correct. The NBA has no desire to negotiate at this point. They probably feel pretty good about their legal position. They might throw the players a lifeline late December just before the deadline to scrap the season. At BEST it will be the same offer the players turned down last week. It’s a shame union management led the players off a cliff.

    • paulpressey25 says:

      My hope is that the players realize the December 5th date is meaningless. A simple procedural date. Nothing material happens on that date. I think Boies is being very disingenuous in setting some sort of expectations in the players minds that they only have to wait until two more weeks until they might get “leverage” or a “breakthrough”.

      • Point well taken. All the league has to do is file the legal equivalent of “We Disagree!” There’s nothing about that date the forces the league to concede anything.

        I don’t see anything but $6b in credibly threatened damages that’ll convince them to actually negotiate a deal. That’ll cut into their non-basketball investments (and you’ll have to forgive me for thinking they don’t really give a crap about the NBA).

        If it’s about control more than money, they have never had a reason to meet the players halfway on anything.

        • The $6B is as credible as the players starting their own league. Were the players to win, it would be the end of the NBA (and all other collectively bargained sports leagues in America).

          If the league doesn’t address this lawsuit now, it will continue to be brought up in every future CBA negotiations.

    • such sweet thunder says:

      The thing is, we don’t know that.

      The owners became frustrated and made that highly suspect ultimatum. And then the players responded in kind, after a couple days of negotiation, by disbanding the NBAPA and filing lawsuits, when they had an opportunity to submit one last counteroffer. Both sides have made hardline bargaining plays that may have killed the progress of negotiations when there was still movement to be had.

      I wonder what one more set of negotiations would bring.

  14. If you gave the nudge that ends the lockout, I will buy you an Addams Family pinball machine!

  15. paulpressey25 says:

    Chris-good for you to push Boies.

    Boies claim tonight that “The NBA has 21 days TO RESPOND! Or else we get a default judgment!” was total theatrics to play to the media and his clients. I hope the players realize this was all theatrics designed to make them think their attorney Boies has actual leverage here to solve this quickly.

    Under Federal law, yes, the defendants of Stern and Company must file a response within 21-days. I’ll tell you right now what the response is going to be:

    “Defendant denies all charges made by plaintiffs and denies all claims of fact made by plaintiffs. Additionally, since the validity of the plaintiffs claimed action of “Disclaimer” of their union is already being litigated in the 2nd Circuit court of New York, this action should be moved to that court and joined with that case”

    Now the NBA will say the paragraph above in about 10-20 pages of legalese. But that’s it. That’s all the NBA has to reply to. They don’t have to give any detailed answers or anything at this point in the case. That’s all for the actual trial. They simply have to deny the charges. An actual jury trial which the players want doesn’t come until they do a year of discovery, hearings, motions and depositions.

    And since the players and Boies aren’t asking for an injunction to open up the training camps, there is no urgency on the courts part. The owners can legitimately get a trial date delayed out until next fall. Maybe longer.

    Stern doesn’t need to do anything here. He can stay silent and keep the pressure on these guys. The only way we have a season is if a faction of players steps forward and accepts the owners last deal on the table.

  16. Amazing how much pride has taken hold of this pathetic attempt at negotiating. Sad thing about this story, however, is that Boise hasn’t been part of this negotiation for long and he’s already let his pride take control – imagine what he will feel like after getting stone-walled in his attempt to re-open the negotiating channels. SMDH

  17. Forget about George Cohen I nominate Chris Sheridan as the new federal mediator of the NBA lockout talks. I guarantee the deal would be done by tomorrow and it would be a fair deal on both sides. He seems to be the only one that cares about missing a season.

  18. Thanks for the effort. The fans appreciate it. I wish the owners would show themselves long enough to face serious questions. I might b crzy but I do have a better feeling w boiles at table over Kessler and hunter.

  19. I’m glad someone cares enough (and is irritated enough by the present status quo) to call the lawyers on their rhetoric. If something actually comes of it, you’ll be a king.

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  5. [...] and then said he may just go ahead and make that phone call sometime in the next day or two. “Some lawyers say to pick up the phone is a sign of weakness,” Boies said. “But if you’re we… On the other hand, until they’re prepared to say something other than what they just put out in [...]

  6. [...] trade association until Dec. 1, in hopes that it will further break their resolve. In turn, Sheridan Hoops’ Chris Sheridandetailed an extensive rundown with his conversation with Boies on why he remains adamant about not [...]

  7. [...] Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com: The next logical step in the illogical NBA lockout is for David Boies to call Jeffrey Mishkin, or for Jeffrey Mishkin to call David Boies. The latter attorney, Boies, who represented Al Gore against George W. Bush in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, now represents NBA players, and Mishkin is the outside counsel for NBA commissioner David Stern and the owners. It would take approximately 2 minutes for their secretaries to put that call together. And after obfuscating and posturing for the better part of an hour in a meeting with reporters Monday night, Boies finally yielded to the  relentless logical questioning of yours truly, put his hands to his temples for 13 seconds and then said he may just go ahead and make that phone call sometime in the next day or two. “Some lawyers say to pick up the phone is a sign of weakness,” Boies said. “But if you’re weak, you’re weak, and if you’re strong, you’re strong.  It doesn’t make you weak or strong by your calling or not calling. On the other hand, until they’re prepared to say something other than what they just put out in this statement, the question is, why are you calling?” This particular episode of peacocking … oops, I mean news briefing … was designed to be a show of strength from the players’ new lead attorney, an epic billable hour ($1,225 is Boies’ going rate) of rhetorical posturing about how the NBA owners are now in really, really big trouble because they are leaving themselves open for triple damages —  about $6 billion if the entire 2011-12 season is missed. [...]

  8. [...] who was the lead NBA reporter for the Associated Press and also worked for ESPN, shares a back-and-forth he had with Boies yesterday. Sure, it’s a little gonzo journalism, but unlike Hunter Thompson, Sheridan was [...]

  9. [...] and the players decided to it in order to speed up the process.  At that same press conference, Chris Sheridan describes in his blog a conversation that he had with David Boies about why Boies did not just pick up the phone and call [...]

  10. [...] Chris Sheridan has the blow-by-blow, and as you can see, Boies essentially argued that he’d be happy to pick up the phone, if only the NBA side had not been so clear they had no interest in negotiating. Had the league’s tone to this point been friendlier, Boies seemed to say, perhaps he’d be more inclined to call the NBA’s outside counsel and set up settlement talks. It might be bad form for a plaintiff (the players) to initiate settlement discussions right after filing a lawsuit, but Boies has been clear from the outset that a settlement is the only real option here, and he told us last night he is well over the notion that calling first shows weakness. Still: “They have no interest in talking to us,” Boies said of the league. “It takes two people to make a deal.” [...]

  11. [...] NBA for all intents and purposes, is now in the hands of lawyers. And even those guys have their own brand of trash [...]

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