The gloves are off. This labor fight was never looking like a gentlemen’s disagreement but now it’s starting to resemble a bar room brawl.
Billy Hunter isn’t happy with David Stern imposing negotiating deadlines. Hunter used an interesting analogy to sum up how he feels about Stern’s mandate and how he intends to respond.
If somebody wants to point a gun at my head, I’m going to point one back at him.
While Hunter takes the fight to streets he’s got to be somewhat concerned over the quiet talks of dissension amongst his union members. Depending on whom you believe, only 20 or 30 players showed their face at yesterday’s meeting in Beverly Hills. No matter the exact number JaVale McGhee’s claim of some players being prepared to “fold” can’t sit well.
If Hunter is dealing with a house divided then his job is getting increasingly more difficult. Derek Fisher has acknowledged a “difference of opinions” among the players. That is only natural, of course. It just doesn’t go over too well when what’s being preached is unity.
The owners are rumored to be struggling with their own united front as well. That makes this mess even sloppier than the McCourt divorce. At stake is more than just the NBA season. We’re talking about the future of the league as a whole.
Going forward the business of basketball will be forever changed after a new CBA is finally agreed upon. But that is looking at a point in the very distant future. Right now we can’t even see through all the negative headlines just to get a clear picture of how bad this situation truly is.
With mediation on the books for next week it could be time for a Hail Mary. Of course that’s only if the players or owners feel any pressure at all from Stern’s threat to cancel Christmas. Judging by Hunter’s reaction that won’t be the case. Clearly things are going to get much worse before they get any better.