Faced with having to deliver the somber news of the stalled lockout negotiations to their NBA constituents, the players’ union brass is turning to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith for words of encouragement.
According to Sports Illustrated, Smith will speak to the NBA Players’ union on Thursday during a planned meeting in Las Vegas. Smith, of course, recently guided his union through a contentious lockout and back-and-forth court battle before negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that prevented the loss of any NFL games this season.
Smith will speak with the NBA players about the importance of remaining unified, according to an ESPN.com report.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect because, otherwise, NBA union executive director Billy Hunter and union president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher were going to deliver the dissappointing news to fans and media observers. Tuesday’s meeting with the top negotiators ended with no movement and left little hope for the lockout’s end prior to the season.
Apparently, Fisher reached out to Smith after finding out that the NFLPA’s head man would be in Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight this weekend. Smith graciously accepted the invitation.
As many as 40 NBA players are participating in an offseason league in Las Vegas and several players will also be in town for the fight, so the union decided to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the lockout and update the players.
Fisher and Hunter will likely propose decertifying the union, as the NFL union did, in order to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA owners.
(Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)