HoopsHype Jeffrey Kessler rumors

November 9, 2011 Updates

"I intend to call commissioner Stern and offer my apologies for the remarks," he said. "It is very important that there be no distractions now and that the parties try to make a deal to save the season." Kessler, who also represented the NFL Players Association in its collective bargaining negotiations this summer, told The Post on Monday that the owners' latest offer to essentially split basketball-related income in half was not fair to the players. Stern said Sunday night that players had until the close of business Wednesday to accept the offer, or face a far stricter version. ESPN.com

November 8, 2011 Updates
November 7, 2011 Updates
November 6, 2011 Updates

NBA commissioner David Stern delivered the Players Association a take-it-or-leave-it offer, threatening the owners’ proposals will become substantially worse if the union doesn’t accept the deal by Wednesday. The league’s latest proposal was derived from compromises federal mediator George Cohen suggested in Saturday’s negotiating session and included a revenue split that would range from 49 to 51 percent for the players. Stern said union attorney Jeffrey Kessler rejected the proposal. “Hope springs eternal and we’d love to see the union accept the proposal that’s now on the table,” Stern said. Yahoo! Sports

Stern then noted that the NBPA did not accept the NBA's offer as currently constructed. "I think it's fair to say that, speaking on behalf of the union, [NBPA lawyer Jeffrey] Kessler rejected the mediator's recommendations and our proposal," Stern said. "But hope springs eternal and we would love to see the union accept the proposal which is now on the table." CBSSports.com

Chris Sheridan: Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler is fired up in denouncing proposal. "They came here with a prearranged plan to strong arm the players." Twitter

Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, singled out by David Stern as the one who rejected virtually all the compromises the commissioner said were proposed by mediator George Cohen, described the league’s tactics as “threats” and characterized the NBA’s description of its economic proposal as “fraud.” CBSSports.com

The other reason the players won't present the NBA's latest offer to their players is, Kessler says, "because that's now how any union in America works, that I'm aware of." "As the president and for our executive committee," explains NBPA president Derek Fisher "we have a responsibility to be gatekeepers and be leaders. Our job is to take a deal to our players that we're comfortable presenting and that we feel will get passed, and will receive the votes to get basketball back up and running. And at this point, we don't have a deal to propose." ESPN.com

At the very least, Fisher allows the union will be attentive to players. "Between now and Wednesday," he says, "we'll be in constant and consistent communication." But that communication will not include any kind of presentation of the league's offer. "There is not a deal we can present," he says, and "that's a call we've been elected to make." ESPN.com

October 28, 2011 Updates

A third contributing factor, according to multiple sources, has been the absence this week of one of the union's most feared negotiators, lawyer Jeffrey Kessler. Owners make no bones of the fact that Kessler, the first name in American sports law, is a bear in the bargaining room. Some point out that the NFL players got a deal only after Kessler left the room. (Kessler might point out that the NFL players didn't get the best deal.) ESPN.com

Much was made of Portland owner Paul Allen's appearance in last week's mediated session. The suggestion was that he was there to send a message that owners were holding a hard line. NBA sources, however, say it was nothing of the sort. In fact, they say, he was there at the invitation of the NBA's negotiators to watch Kessler. Allen was one of several owners who thought Stern and Silver had made players an overly generous offer of 50 percent of basketball-related income. The league's lead negotiators essentially replied: Go see for yourself. You think you can get Kessler to go for 47 percent? Good luck to you. In the ongoing dance between Hunter and NBA agents -- many of whom feel Hunter is soft, risk-averse or ineffective -- Kessler has been seen as something of a shield for Hunter. If a tough lawyer such as that will go for Hunter's deal, who are the agents to complain? But that shield has been out of action and not, sources insist, because he is in the doghouse. ESPN.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.