NBA & NBAPA meet for 8 1/2 hours in NYC
New York, NY – Still no deal, even after 8 1/2 hours of negotiations from the NBA and the players' union Saturday night.
The lockout continues, but commissioner David Stern said the players have a deadline of Wednesday to accept a new proposal that includes a split of basketball-related income to the players between 49 and 51 percent, depending on revenue projections from the league.
"We made the proposal because we hope it will be accepted by Wednesday," Stern said. "I'm not going to make percentage guesses or anything like that. We want our players to play and we'd like to have a season. These are the terms upon which we're prepared to gear up and get in as many games as possible."
The deal was brokered by federal mediator George Cohen, but was not accepted by the main negotiator for the players, Jeffrey Kessler.
"We just did not get the sense that they really had the intent coming in here tonight to get this deal done," union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said. "There was every opportunity to do it. We were prepared to stay here until the sun came up to get this deal done."
Fisher said what the NBA presented was a series of "what ifs" and not a formal proposal.
"We're at a loss why we could not close it out, based on the moves that we made towards the NBA and towards the league in getting this deal done," a frustrated Fisher said.
Stern, who has already canceled all games through November, said the proposal included a compromise on a luxury tax and a variable mid-level exception.
If the players don't accept the deal by the close of business Wednesday, the next offer by the owners will be a 47-percent BRI for the players and a flex salary cap. Players were guaranteed 57 percent under the old collective bargaining agreement.
"Right now we've been given the ultimatum and our answer is that's not acceptable to us," Fisher said.
The group of players wanted to hold firm at a 52.5 percent share, while owners have repeatedly pushed for a 50-50 split. Fisher said players have moved more toward around a 51 percent split in favor of the players.
There have been reports that the players are having discussions on possibly decertifying their union. By doing this, then a group of players can file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA.
"It's not an issue we're focusing on at this point," Stern said. "We are trying to make a deal with the National Basketball Players Association."