Unlocked, Jason Terry gives his take
December, 1, 2011
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
DALLAS -- The locks came off the American Airlines Center doors Thursday and Jason Terry made his way inside for the first time since last June's championship parade.
"I'm glad my card worked so I could get in the gym," Terry joked. "I was a little nervous out there at the front gate."
Terry was the lone Dallas Mavericks player to make his way to the practice floor on the first day that NBA players could return to their respective facilities and workout with trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. The lockout is 6-months old today, and while the rules have been loosened and a new labor deal has been tentatively agreed to, the lockout remains ongoing as players are in the process of putting their union back together and then both sides must ratify the deal.
Tonight is the deadline for players to mail in their cards to re-establish the union and Terry, the Mavs' player representative, expects to be in New York next week to vote on the deal.
Terry said it is a relief that the sides got back together over Thanksgiving weekend after talks broke off a few weeks earlier leaving the prospect of a season happening at all seemingly very dim.
"Oh, no question, you’re talking five or six days ago we didn’t know," Terry said. "We were all in limbo and the scale was tipping more towards us not having a season than us having one."
Here's Terry's take on issues dealing with the lockout and the Mavs:
Does ownership deserve credit for returning to the bargaining table and making concessions at the end?
JT: I don’t know necessarily about giving back, we know who gave back. I just don’t know, it’s just hard to say. I do commend both sides for getting it done. That’s the main thing at the end of the day, regardless, one side wins, one side losses; we’re back and I think that’s the big point here.
Does the team deserve the chance to defend the title with the roster virtually intact?
JT: Yeah, but I mean, you know how the league is when you have free agency and player movement, things can change from year to year. This is a very different situation, it’s very unique and we’re going to have to work some magic to make it happen.
What did you learn or take away from being the team's player representative?
JT: I gained tremendous knowledge. Being in the league 13 years and now being part of this collective bargaining, being a player rep has given me tremendous knowledge about the business that I hadn’t had. I was basically dumbfounded to what all went along to a collective bargaining agreement. Being a part of it, sitting in on meetings, four or five them personally, it gave me a new perspective on the game of basketball as a business.
Anything surprise you during the course of the negotiations?
JT: Just how in negotiations how ugly it can get. People like to say it’s business, never personal. But, it did get personal at times.
Do you continue to support union executive director Billy Hunter?
JT: No question, and we’re taking steps now to put the union back together and I can’t foresee his role not being the same as it always is. He did an outstanding job. There was tons of pressure on Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher throughout this whole process.
Was there anything you lobbied particularly hard for?
JT: Yeah, make the deal right so we could bring our team back. Make it so we could sign Tyson [Chandler], bring J.J. [Barea], DeShawn [Stevenson], Caron [Butler], that was my main thing.
How did the deal turn out in that sense?
JT: Whoa, not good, not good at all.