HoopsHype Michele Roberts rumors

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April 15, 2015 Updates
April 10, 2015 Updates

Sources close to the situation say the players' association has been very active, as well. Sources say that, on Thursday, representatives from the players' association appeared at the 10th Precinct in Manhattan with several inquiries into the incident. The players' association's head, Michele Roberts, comes to the NBPA after decades as a respected lawyer. She began her career as a public defender. Privately, sources say, Hawks officials also have begun to raise questions about the specific circumstances that led to Sefolosha being held by police for several hours with a broken fibula. ESPN.com

April 8, 2015 Updates
April 5, 2015 Updates

Roberts said she understood that perhaps Hunter was not as available to players’ agents about some of their concerns, and she promised a change. But she reiterated that she believes agents are not controlling the players or the union. “While it is true that many of the players have a fabulous relationship with their agents, and they listen to whatever counsel their agents provide, what has been grossly overstated is that they lead the players around by the nose,” Roberts said. “Not at all. In fact, agents are fairly careful about overstepping for fear they will be replaced. If you can establish a dialogue with the players and the players know they can ask me and I will talk to them about anything, they can run what I say to them by their agents. I’ve probably spoken to their agents as well. “I don’t spend time fearful that the agents are going to take over the union. To be perfectly honest, the agents and the union, because we’re both looking out presumably for the players’ best interests, have more in common than not. The tension [previously] was just not being able to be in the room [during discussions].” Boston Globe

“Have you read the CBA?” she asked. “It is a ridiculously complicated and horribly written document. And a good lawyer, and I think I’m a great lawyer, and the first time that I read this thing, I said, ‘Who wrote this?’ Realistically, do I expect the players to read the CBA and understand the CBA? No. I don’t think most of the owners have read the CBA or understand the CBA. But what I do expect the players to understand are those portions of the CBA [that are important to them]. There are probably 10 or 15 issues that the players need to be aware of that’s contained in the CBA, and they are aware of those things. You’ve just got to be realistic. Most people haven’t read the [United States] Constitution but you want to them to understand what their basic rights are, and it’s the same with the CBA.” Boston Globe

March 29, 2015 Updates

While the NBPA quickly rejected the “smoothing” concept suggested by commissioner Adam Silver and owners regarding the expected exponential increase of the salary cap for the 2016-17 season, Roberts said she views the $24.9 billion war chest from the nine-year television deal as a positive, suggesting the league is fully healthy. “We want a deal. We want a deal that is as fair as we can get. We understand you’ve got to give a little to get a little,” she said. “There’s going to be a deal and my view is let’s get it done. Silver has said the same to me, so I think the good news is we don’t have the backdrop of poverty. There’s all this money. The game is growing in popularity. Everyone should be singing, ‘Hallelujah.’ They’ve got a new commissioner. I’m new. I have no bad blood with Adam because I don’t know him. Nor he with me. Everything in the world suggests we should be able to get through this without a problem. And if that doesn’t happen I would be, and I think Mr. Silver would be, disappointed.” Boston Globe

When asked whether a deal could get done before 2017, Roberts said, “Sure. Wouldn’t it be great for everybody, the players, for the owners, and God knows the fans, if we could say these were the major issues that we knew we had to deal with and we saw no reason to wait until 2017, so we got them done? Not only is there not going to be any opting out, but we’ve agreed to these new terms and an extension of the CBA. Wouldn’t everybody just be delighted? It would be great for the game.” Boston Globe

“I give the commissioner the benefit of the doubt,” Roberts said. “I believe he will try to get the best deal he can for the owners and I fully expect him to know that I will try to get the best deal I can for the players. That should not create hostility because as a lawyer I’ve always understood that my ‘opponent’ is representing [their] client the best they can, as I do. “We know there has to be a deal, or there’s going to be a work stoppage. And then we all have to deal with the wrath of the fans. The one thing that I would like to believe, and still believe, is that the commissioner, the league, the owners as much as the players, do not want [a work stoppage].” Boston Globe

Roberts said she told Silver after being selected as director that she would need time to form a staff and research league issues. She said that process is nearly done, meaning substantive talks can begin perhaps this year. “They can begin to happen very soon, and that’s our plan,” she said. Boston Globe

“That’s why it may have been unfortunate if there was some misrepresentations made about the health of some of these teams because you only create mistrust going into the next round of negotiations,” Roberts said. “That’s unfortunate. I would submit that it’s in the league’s best interest not to try to do that again. Don’t try that again. There’s no human being out there that’s reasonable that, having heard about the TV deal, and if you’re aware that gross receipts are going up, ticket sales are going up, I’d be very disappointed if we heard that cry of poverty again. “So if we could avoid a repetition of that cry of poverty and all the mistrust referenced by the players can be resolved, we can go on and not say, ‘You lied to me,’ but just go back to business.’’ Boston Globe

March 16, 2015 Updates
March 11, 2015 Updates

Arn Tellem With the business booming by all accounts, why would the NBA continue to ignore its own development league? It’s not like the league lacks innovative leadership right now. Commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts have proven to be progressive thinkers who are open to new ideas. They know the world of college sports has been upended by litigation — not just Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust suit against the NCAA, but the Northwestern University athlete unionization case as well. If the amateur landscape is being reshaped, then why wait to follow the NCAA’s lead? The NBA should act preemptively in what, down the line, will be in its own best interests. The NCAA would then be obliged to adapt some of its more draconian rules to the 21st-century game, making the system more balanced and player-friendly. At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around. Grantland

From a player agent’s perspective, Europe offers a bigger immediate payoff. Normally, agents don’t take commissions on D-League contracts and charge second-rounders 2 percent. In the European leagues, the standard 10 percent cut is generally split between the American and European agents. But the best agents help their clients get better in the hope that the improvement will result in a long-term NBA career. If your client is rewarded, you will be, too. To be one of the 60 annual draftees should be an honor, not a burden. Yet it can be downright traumatic for a prospect to get selected late in the final round and then realize his new “team” has no intention of giving him a guarantee (and that he likely must play professionally out of the country). It’s in both the player’s and the league’s interests for him to mature on his own home turf. Grantland

So what would be the biggest benefit from my proposal? In my opinion, cap management should be independent of player development. Let’s say an NBA team could spend up to $2 million a year on D-League player pay (not counting the salaries of first-rounders); if that number didn’t count against the actual cap, the team would be more likely to take chances with development. Right now, the 18 current D-League franchises are said to be worth around $5 million each. If the NBA created 12 more teams, each parent franchise could have its own affiliate. Grantland

March 3, 2015 Updates

The quote from the ESPNW article drew swift criticism. What was your intent when you said it? Michele Roberts: We were having a discussion about Kevin Durant and his whole thing, his dismay, and I began -- I am confident -- by saying I know, as he later said, he was not having a great moment at the time. But no one suggested, and I don't even think he was suggesting, that there not be access, or that the players should not be made available to answer questions to the media because, frankly, I'm less concerned about reporters being able to get questions answered, but this is for the fans. Those are the questions, presumably, that the fans want to have posed. And in my view the purpose of media in this country, both generally and within the context of sports, the rest of us need to have someone available to ask the questions of politicians, of athletes, of movie stars that we can't otherwise ask. I know I said that, made that quite clear, because I've been an advocate of the First Amendment since I could speak. SB Nation

Michele Roberts: But then I began to notice that there was a small group of reporters, and I now think that they're probably more bloggers than anything else, that would never ask questions. And they would typically walk into a locker room and they would just sort of be standing there, even at the point when media availability ended, I would never see them ask a question. Now, I know that there the marquees are sometimes not in the room and I get that there are sometimes people waiting for the so-called marquee players to come. But I wasn't referring to that. I was referring to those guys who frankly are just there appearing to be listening, but not asking questions. SB Nation

I can't speak to the specific situation that you were in, but I do feel like I need to advocate for the younger media members and bloggers. A lot of times they're told to observe, especially when they're not used to being in a locker room or a scrum situation. I've seen situations where a young blogger or intern is just trying to get their lay of the land. Michele Roberts: The people that are in my mind right now are not young. I'm there, and I'm old enough to see people. And I'm seeing these guys -- and I'm talking about New York locker rooms typically because that's where I am most of the time except when I travel -- but the guys that are coming to my mind now are not young. They may not be as old as I am, but they're not young. SB Nation

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