DeShawn Stevenson rips NBPA head
Dallas Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson, who believes the NBA's labor impasse will wipe out the entire season, blasted the job performance of players association executive director Billy Hunter during the lockout.
"I felt like we should have decertified in July," Stevenson told Yahoo! Sports this week while playing in a charity exhibition game in California. "I feel like Billy Hunter is doing a horrible job because basically now [the owners] know our hand. The media knows our hand. The owners know our hand."
The NBA lockout began on July 1, but a tentative agreement has been reached to save the season. ESPN.com Topics keeps you up to date with all of the latest on the NBA's labor situation. Topics Page »
Stevenson said he believes there is too much acrimony between the players and owners for a deal to be reached and the season to be saved. He said the owners have not recognized the significant concessions the players made during negotiations.
"For me, personally, I don't think there will be a season," Stevenson said. "Right now there is just a lot of bad blood and [the owners] keep putting offers out that we're rejecting. So we're not going anywhere."
Negotiations ceased after the players walked away from the owners' final proposal on Nov. 14 and dissolved the union. The next day the players filed class-action antitrust lawsuits against the league, taking the fight from the negotiating table to the court room.
The lockout reached its 146th day Wednesday.
"DeShawn is entitled to his opinion," Hunter told Yahoo! Sports. "It would be much more meaningful if he were more directly involved and would have understood what fully transpired and understood the issues. I think he'd be better informed.
"I respect DeShawn's right to say and feel what he is saying. I can't fault that. I don't have nothing negative about DeShawn. He said it. It's not justified, but he has every right in the world to say what he thinks."
The Mavs were supposed to receive their championship rings and raise their championship banner on Nov. 1, the scheduled season opener against the Chicago Bulls. Games through Dec. 15 have been canceled.
Stevenson, an unrestricted free agent who played a key role throughout the Mavs' first championship run, said Dallas has not received the respect it deserves for knocking off LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
"I haven't seen a Dirk [Nowitzki] commercial, I haven't seen a Jason Kidd commercial, Jason Terry commercial," Stevenson said. "But I've seen a LeBron McDonald's commercial. Dwyane Wade is on a T-Mobile commercial. I just feel like we don't get the respect as a team that worked hard to win a championship."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.
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