As we watch Adam Silver slowly morph into Gary Bettman, we bring you the latest lockout news from around the Web:
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News: “The NBA and the players union will take their fight to a Manhattan federal courtroom on Wednesday in a hearing that could affect the union’s potential plans to decertify if labor talks break down completely and the lockout goes on indefinitely. The league is asking Judge Paul G. Gardephe to rule that if the players decide to end the union, the lockout would not be an antitrust violation. A ruling is not expected Wednesday. … A ruling by Gardephe in favor of the NBA could ostensibly force the union to abandon any future plans to decertify, if the stalemate at the bargaining table were to continue indefinitely. Although there are some powerful agents who were pushing for the union to do that earlier in the lockout, the union has never embraced going the court route to get a new labor deal. … NFL players took the decertification route in their fight against the league’s owners last spring, but that tactic was not considered a success. Since the NBA players have not taken any action on the decertification front, and have yet to file an antitrust case against the league, the union contends that there is no dispute that has occurred for the court to decide, and therefore the case should be dismissed.
Howard Beck of The New York Times: “For months, Commissioner David Stern has insisted that the league’s 29 owners are unified in the goals, methods and necessity of the lockout, which is in its fifth month. He maintains that stance, (Heat owner Micky) Arison’s glib posting notwithstanding. “He believes his tweets were taken out of context and understands our concern about them,” Stern said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “And he’s very much on board with the other 29 owners about the deal that we want.” If fans and commentators view Arison’s words as a declaration of self-interest, an attempt to distance himself from the more hawkish factions, Stern said he understood it. Arison himself conceded “that it might have had that impression,” Stern said, “but he didn’t intend it to.” … Stern did acknowledge one divide between his owners: those who are in favor of the deal the union rejected last week — a 50-50 split of revenue and no hard salary cap — and those who are “rethinking” that offer. “But I believe that a majority of teams are in favor of making the deal that we were offering to the players,” Stern said. “And I’m trying very hard to keep that deal on the table.”
Sam Amick of NBA Confidential: “Short and sweet here, since it’s late and the only point of this post is to share the latest lockout-related letter. If you need to get caught up on all the latest mailings, read about today’s letter from Billy Hunter or go to my archive here. Otherwise, the following is a letter from National Basketball Players Association president/Lakers guard Derek Fisher to the media addressing this story from FoxSports.com’s Jason Whitlock. “The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable. Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false. The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat out lie. I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish. Regardless of the media reports, the Players Association, our staff, Executive Director and Executive Committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players. There should be no more distractions. We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players.”
Whitlock defends himself on FOXSports.com: “I stand by the accuracy, integrity, sourcing and truthfulness of all the stories I’ve written about Derek Fisher during this NBA lockout. If you read the entire transcript of his 515-word letter, it reveals a basketball player who thinks he can moonlight as the leader of a labor movement. Fisher — not Billy Hunter, an experienced lawyer and negotiator with an impressive resume — is the players’ front man on a $3 billion labor deal. It’s lunacy. It’s ripe for corruption and chaos. Fisher’s consigliere is his publicist. She called me Monday afternoon looking to query me about my opinion on Fisher and the NBA lockout. I politely informed her that my opinions are easily accessed here at FOXSports.com and that I’d love to speak with Fisher. “You don’t want to talk to me?” she asked at some point. “You are not the president of the NBA Players Association,” I responded. Let me break this down one last time for Derek Fisher: 1. Fisher needs to fall back behind Hunter and let an experienced lawyer/negotiator battle David Stern; 2. (Fisher’s publicist, Jamie) Wior needs to spend her days building a relationship with the producers of “Dancing With the Stars,” so that her client’s transition from athlete to entertainer is a smooth one.