NBA Sets September Deadline and NBPA Looks for Positive PR

August 30, 2011

The NBA has set its deadline September 15 for a new collective-bargaining agreement to be reached before the NBA officially starts to cancel training camp and preseason games, league sources told Hoopsworld.

Should even one preseason game be canceled, advertisers and sponsors would start pulling commitments and season ticket holders would likely start asking for refunds, sources told the website.

The next negotiating session is reportedly scheduled for Wednesday in New York, which will be attended by top executives on both sides, including NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver, and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher.

Still, there is little optimism that much progress will be made this week and with only two weeks to go the realisation has sunk in that the NBA season is likely to be affected.

During this lockout the players have been on high-alert not to make public relations mishaps like they did in the last lockout. Among the many public relations gaffes made by players 13 years ago was Kenny Anderson joking that he may have to sell his Mercedes to cope with his lost salary.

To stop this from recurring the union, at the direction of president Derek Fisher, last fall distributed a 56-page lockout handbook to all players. In the “media” section, players were implored, “Please be sensitive about interviews or other media displays of a luxurious lifestyle.”

“It was a huge emphasis,” Fisher told The New York Times about the focus on winning the public relations battle. “The reality is, we’re in a great position, where guys have worked to put themselves in this place where they can potentially earn millions of dollars.”

Last season, players’ average salary was about $5 million, from a minimum of $474,000 to a maximum of Kobe Bryant’s $24.8 million. “We don’t expect that people are going to feel sorry for us,” Fisher added.

So far, the players have heeded the union’s advice. While Dwyane Wade and George Hill have made jokes on Twitter about applying for jobs or collecting unemployment, players have largely kept their commentary on point and their Twitter feeds in check.