Today the players decided to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA in a hope to gain some leverage. This is a move that, if it was going to be made, should have been made months ago. So why wasn’t it made? The selfish NBPA leader did not want to lose his job. Billy Hunter now has convinced the players that they can get a better deal than what the owners are proposing. He has convinced them that if they just try and wait it out and bring their fight to the courts that somehow, someway the owners will cave and give the players a more “fair” deal. It is not going to happen. As Michael McCann of SI discusses, the players are not likely to win this anti-trust lawsuit. The players can’t look back a few months and see how the NFL won its anti-trust lawsuit with the players? I will not get into the legal aspect but I do wanna talk about the ineptitude and selfishness of Billy Hunter.
Billy Hunter may be a good lawyer, he may even be a great lawyer. That is irrelevant right now. Billy Hunter first and for most is selfish. He is trusted (allegedly) by the players of the NBA and right now he is failing them. He has whipped up a giant batch of kool aid that is now being chugged by the union representatives of the NBPA. Hunter knows that the players will not get a better deal than what they just turned down. He knows it, I know it, the owners know it. So why is Hunter leading the players down this detrimental path? It is simple. He does not want to lose his job. Hunter realizes that agents play a prevalent part in today’s NBA. There were numerous reports and rumors that agents would push for Hunter’s dismissal if he did not deliver on a 53% share of the BRI. Clearly that is never going to happen and the players have been forced down to 50% BRI. Hunter was always negotiating with a bad hand. He had no leverage against the owners and he was killed in the PR battle against David Stern. To his credit he continued to try and scrap and fight for the best deal he could get. Now the time has come; the best deal is on the table. If Billy Hunter was negotiating in good faith for his players, he would have taken the deal on the table! He knows it is the best they will get and I believe a good amount of the NBA population realizes this. Why do you think Hunter did not take a poll of the 450 NBA players on whether to take the deal? Because he knows the deal would have passed. Hunter instead went to the player reps. He knew he could brainwash these reps, only 30 in number, to reject a deal. He said they could get a better deal. He was wrong. He knows it and he does not care. Billy Hunter wants to save his job. The more litigation and the more fight put up by the players, the better Hunter looks in the eyes of agents. Instead of getting games up and going, Hunter is now playing to the agents fiddle. Fighting endlessly to get the players their “fair deal”, to get them their system changes, their BRI and their soft cap. Why do you think Derek Fisher was reported as going behind Hunter’s back? Fisher is a rational man. He knows the players needed this deal and the 50-50 split because they will never get that again in these negotiations. Hunter also realizes this but his selfishness and greed has overcome him.
Hunter is becoming the Darth Vader of these negotiations. At the beginning, he was the guy who got the players a great deal last time but as time as gone on, Hunter has turned to the dark side. His job is to look out for the 450 NBA players affected by this deal. He is not doing that. There is nothing wrong with fighting to keep your job but when you start to hurt the players and hurt the fans with your actions then you have gone too far. Today, if the NBPA goes through with this, Billy Hunter crossed the line and needs to be relieved of his duties immediately. The rate this negotiation is going, the players will end up with 43% BRI, a missed season and an NHL hard cap. Pick up a history book players. Look back at the NHL lockout, look at the anti-trust case involving the NFL this past summer. The players will not win and Billy Hunter knows this. Hunter needs to be relieved of his duties immediately or else the players will suffer worse losses and the 2011-2012 NBA season will be lost.Follow @tarmosino