Derek Fisher’s letter to players sheds some light on labor negotiations

The president of the National Basketball Association players’ association, Derek Fisher, speaks to reporters after taking part in contract negotiations between the NBA and the players association in New York June 30, 2011. The NBA was on the verge of its first work stoppage in 13 years after negotiations over a new labor deal collapsed hours before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, the union representing players said on Thursday. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS BASKETBALL)


Fisher wrote: “Our game has never been more popular and we’re poised to see tremendous revenue growth over the next 5 to 6 years. … We must share fairly in the continued growth of our business. Any deal that decouples us from a fair share of the revenue growth in the years ahead is a deal we cannot accept. Period!”

Fisher said he still firmly believes that the NBA’s 30 teams do not share the same goals in the lockout — a point he made in a letter to the union’s membership last week.

“There are a number of team owners that will not lose the season over the hard cap system. We’ve been clear from Day 1 of this process that we cannot sign off on a deal that attempts in any way to include a hard salary cap for our teams. That has not changed,” Fisher said. reported earlier Monday that the league and the union have scheduled small group sessions for Tuesday and possibly Wednesday to continue talks. Numerous sources close to the situation have told that a deal must be struck by Oct. 15 at the latest to preserve the scheduled start of the regular season Nov. 1.

So it sounds like Fisher’s strategy is to hold firm and wait for the splinter amongst the owners to deepen. There is a subsection of the owners that wants a hard cap, while the rest aren’t willing to lose the season over the hard cap. The players believe that revenue sharing is the way to keep small markets competitive, yet the hard-liners can point to the NFL and to the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints as small market teams that have been able to thrive with a hard cap.

My issue with using revenue sharing as a way to keep small market teams competitive is that is has to be substantial enough to allow those small market owners to put the same (or similar) money into payroll as the big market teams. But that’s probably not going to happen. The hard cap guarantees that the teams can only pay so much on their players which means everyone is working with the same payroll.

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Kevin Walter’s pinball TD reception [video]

The ball ricochets off of two or three players before finding the hands of Kevin Walter.

Favre’s back! (Not really.)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre (4) hoists receiver Greg Jennings after Favre threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to set an NFL record for career touchdown passes at 421 during the first quarter of their National Football League game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, in this file photo taken September 30, 2007. For the first time in 19 seasons Favre failed to report for work on December 13, 2010, ending one of the most remarkable ironman streaks in all of sport. Picture taken September 30, 2007. REUTERS/Bob Cerny/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Brett Favre is returning to football. Sort of. He has agreed to provide color commentary for the Southern Miss/Rice game on October 1st.

“I’m excited to be back at Southern Miss with the Golden Eagles,” Favre said in a press release. “I’m not committing to a new career in broadcasting, but just wanted to support Southern Miss and check out the view from the press box. It should be fun and I hope the fans enjoy it.”

Favre, who started at quarterback for Southern Miss from 1987-1990, set several passing records at the school despite being recruited as a defensive back out of high school.

Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. If anything, this would indicate that Favre isn’t planning a comeback for at least a few weeks.

I think we can all rest easy and assume that Favre is done playing football. It would be interesting to hear him call a game, however. I wonder if they’ll get Jenn Sterger as the sideline reporter…

NBA will postpone training camp, preseason games

The latest round of negotiations ended on Thursday with no deal, and it’s going to cost the league at least part of the preseason.

The NBA is expected to announce Friday it will postpone the start of training camp and the opening slate of exhibition games after a negotiating session Thursday in New York between players union executive director Billy Hunter and commissioner David Stern ended without a labor agreement or progress toward one soon, league sources said.

Stern, according to one source, told Hunter in Thursday’s meeting the owners want to reduce the players’ cut of basketball-related revenue to a figure well below 50 percent. Under the previous agreement, which expired July 1, the players were guaranteed a minimum of 57 percent of basketball-related revenue would be spent on salaries.

The league offered players a 46 percent of basketball-related revenue, 11 percent less than they received in last deal and seven percent less than last proposal by players, a league source said. Owners agreed to try to come up with a mechanism to solve their issues without adding a hard salary cap before the next meeting, according to the source.

Stern acknowledged Thursday that “the calendar is not our friend” when it comes to keeping the NBA season intact.

Wow, 46 percent? I thought the two sides were at least in the same ballpark on the economics even if they couldn’t agree on which type of salary cap (hard or soft) to use.

Terry on NBA deal: “It’s not looking good…”

Jason Terry is the player rep for the Dallas Mavericks and this is what he had to say about the current state of the labor negotiations:

Terry said Tuesday that his optimism earlier in the process that a new labor deal would get hammered out and his Mavericks would begin their title defense on time has dissipated.

“For me it’s tough,” Terry said. “Not only did we do something great and have been sitting back enjoying it, but training camp is right around the corner. But it’s not looking good for us to get things started on time. Right now, at this point where we’re at, both sides are still far apart.”

Terry said he has been told not to talk about specifics of the negotiations; however, reports suggest the owners’ stance for a hard cap appears to be a prime sticking point. Terry attended one of the first negotiating sessions in July. He has not participated in any meetings since, but he said he is constantly apprised of the situation so he can keep teammates updated.

“When you’re in there, as opposed to reading in the newspaper or watching on TV, you really get to see people’s reactions and really see how important this deal is, not only to the owners, but to the players and not only my era but to eras that we will leave behind,” Terry said. “It’s a lot of work that has to be done. It’s not anything that you can iron out in a day or two. This is a lengthy process and if you are not on the same page with the person you are negotiating with then it’s just going to make for a long negotiation.

“Because it’s getting down to the final minutes, we don’t want to rush into anything just to try to save the season. But, as we stand right now, the owners aren’t moving and we definitely are staying strong together as a union.”

Strap in, people. This looks like it’s going to be a long one.

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