HoopsHype Michele Roberts rumors

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May 17, 2015 Updates

There are more positive sentiments in the NBA Players Association with its new leadership, featuring executive director Michele Roberts. Players are more upbeat about the direction of the union entering potentially turbulent times with the expected opt-out of the current contract in 2017. Former NBA player Keyon Dooling, who was part of the executive committee during his final playing years and is now helping out with union business, said he is encouraged by the new direction. “There’s a certain pedigree that you know you’re in good hands,” he said. “Transformational leadership is what I like to call it. This generation wants to be united because you can learn from some of the mistakes that we made during the last lockout. “I hope this young generation really understands the importance of getting involved with the union, collective bargaining, and fighting hard to not only keep what we’ve earned but push it forward and continuing to grow as the game grows.” Boston Globe

May 4, 2015 Updates

That labor deal allows either side to opt out after the 2016-17 season, and new National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts has strongly implied, more than once, that the players intend to do so. "And if they do, we'll deal with that," Silver said on NBA Sunday Tip. "There were a lot of things we left on the table [in 2011]. We went into collective bargaining seeking—I don't want to get into it now—but a number of things that we didn't accomplish. And we compromised. And they compromised as well. "If there's a feeling that we should reopen the collective bargaining agreement…hopefully, just as we have in the past, we'll work through all those issues and there won't be any disruptions in the season." Bleacher Report

April 27, 2015 Updates

The National Basketball Players Association plans to announce a revised set of agent regulations soon, including whether it will keep and enforce or discard a conflict-of-interest rule that prevents player agents from also representing coaches and others in management. NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said she hopes to roll out proposed revisions to agents at the annual meetings that the union holds with contract advisers on both the West Coast and the East Coast in June. Gary Kohlman, who was appointed the union’s general counsel in October, has been examining all the regulations for months. The NBPA’s player executive committee is the body that ultimately will vote on whether to approve the changes, and that is not likely to happen until the union’s annual meeting in July. “As any new administration would do, we’ve been reviewing all of the existing policies of the organization,” Kohlman said in a statement to SportsBusiness Journal. “Our legal department is currently conducting a comprehensive review of agent regulations in collaboration with the players. We’re also collecting insights from agents.” Sports Business Daily

April 19, 2015 Updates
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

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