Despite the very deliberate ultimatum they were facing heading into their Tuesday NBAPA meeting in New York, the players rejected the league’s latest proposal, which called for the players to receive between 49 and 51 percent of the BRI split and a much more restrictive tax system.
Union president Derek Fisher and executive director said that the NBA’s take-it-or-leave-it offer was so bad that it would not even put up for a vote by the union’s constituency.
“The players are clearly of the mind that it’s an unacceptable proposal,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “But because of their commitment to the game and their desire to play, they’re saying to us that we want you to go back, see if you can go back, get a better deal.”
Hunter said there is a strong possibility that the two sides will schedule a meeting for Wednesday before David Stern’s imposed deadline. The question is whether the NBA will bring their shiny low-ball offer of a 53/47 BRI split in favor of the owners, along with rollbacks of current salaries, non-guaranteed contracts, and a mid-level exception of $3 million over for 3 years, among other extreme demands.
The potential hard-line owners’ offer could set the labor negotiations on fire and open the door to a strong call for union decertification, which puts the 2011-2012 season in serious doubt. (Read: there won’t be one).
This NBA lockout has basically devolved into a question of how much the NBA owners want to win this thing by. They’ve gotten the players to finance their past losses to the tune of over $2 billion over the next decade, they’ve gotten shorter contracts, and a more punitive tax system no matter what the two sides agree on. Now Fisher and Hunter have effectively caved on the BRI split and said that they would be willing to accept 50/50 with some concessions on the system issues that seem to be holding up a deal just as much as the revenue split.
Can Stern reign in his radical owners to save the league, his league? Can he convince his constituents that playing a (near-full) season as soon as possible is in their best interests, especially with casual fan logic running wild?
We’ll find out Wednesday how serious the Commish is about getting a deal done, or how committed he is to satisfying the petty pride of the owners he works for.