November 03, 2011
Stackhouse is a longtime NBA vet, he's been an All-Star, a scoring leader, and he's worked as an analyst on cable TV for NBA broadcasts. He last played, very briefly, for the Miami Heat last season. He's also been watching the NBA's labor negotiations with its players, led by NBA PA executive director Billy Hunter and Fisher, with a keen eye. We think.
Because it appears as if Stackhouse doesn't believe Fisher should be negotiating billion-dollar deals, he's just a lowly point guard after all, and that David Stern should have the run of things because "he's made the league what it is." Sounds like either Stackhouse is off his rocker, or he'd really, really like a gig with NBA TV next year.
"Not to say anything against Derek Fisher, it's not that I don't think he's a great guy," Stackhouse said. "But I don't want him negotiating my contract. I want an agent who knows the lingo negotiating my contract. Derek Fisher, he doesn't negotiate his own contract. He has an agent. So why would I want him negotiating something even bigger than his contract? This [Collective Bargaining Agreement] is something more important to everybody." [...]
"David Stern, he's made this league what it is," Stackhouse said. "He's one of the greatest commissioners in sports. He's got that title, he's got the NBA at the place where it is because he's a shrewd businessman and knows how to work his way, play the media, play things up to get what he wants. We don't do that. Players are emotional. Players get emotional. So no, I don't necessarily, particularly want Derek Fisher or any of the executive committee negotiating a contract for me."
Of course Fisher didn't negotiate the terms of his last, or any, NBA contract. He allowed an agent to take over the negotiations for a fee. This is why the NBA PA has legal counsel on hand, to say nothing of economists, capologists, and all manner of expertly trained employees on retainer. To act like Fisher is up front with his green visor and calculator in hand is ridiculous.
Secondly, putting this negotiation in the hand of player agents? Are you mad?
Talk about bias. Player agents work for those fees, and they have no use for any of their old clients once those clients stop bringing in those percentage points. They'll leak things to the media, attempt to insidiously break things down from the inside-out … as they should! This is their livelihood, and they should do everything in their power to sustain that livelihood. Their livelihood, though, isn't always in the best interest of both sides, nor the league, nor the game, nor other players that they don't represent. They'll use the players for that percentage until their careers are finished, then hoping to glom on to the next batch of talent.
Like, say, the owners do.
We're not going to tell you that this entire process hasn't been terribly mismanaged by both sides, and that we should accept the status quo, or that the NBA PA isn't getting its tail handed to them day after day while they hopelessly attempt to save a face that was never going to be saved even back in June. No, this has been a failure of epic proportions, even if a hurried-up 75-game season still happens in 2011-12.
But to suggest that agents or David Stern should be listened to three times before Derek Fisher gets a word in? It's preposterous and smacks of ignorance regarding the 2011 process. Since 1999 the players have been on a roll, taking advantage of ownership stupidity and arrogance and cashing in on fabulous deals sent to players making eight figures, the "average" players working with six-year deals, and even the minimum-salaried guys. Do we need to remind Stackhouse of the litany of very-good and above-average players that were working for the veteran's minimum of $247,500 from 1995 through 1998 because the 1995 CBA made no room for a middle class? It's been more than made up in the years since, with even lesser players making $36 million over six years.
And as Stackhouse complains that "it seems like the executive committee is always making concessions. More concessions, more concessions in each collective bargaining agreement," understand that it was "concessions" in the 1999 CBA that stopped then-free agent Stackhouse from signing the massive, cap-busting max deal he thought he was going to get under the pre-1999 terms following the 1998-99 lockout. Stack instead signed for seven years and $37 million, and was never happy that players like Kevin Garnett(notes), Allen Iverson(notes), Ray Allen(notes) and Kobe Bryant(notes) were making much, much more.
We don't know if Stack wanted to stand out on Rome, we're not sure what his agenda is, or even if he really feels the way he feels. Either way, it's not coming off all that well. And that's in comparison to Derek Fisher and the NBA PA, who haven't looked good in ages.