It's been an anxious couple of days as we have been waiting to hear the players' response to the latest proposal made by NBA commissioner David Stern. The offer came late Saturday night (or early Sunday morning depending what part of the country you are in) following a long, 8-hour negotiation session, and with the offer came a deadline of Wednesday afternoon for the deal to be accepted.
Well as most anyone would've expected, the players rejected this latest offer from the owners and showed that they weren't concerned with the threat of more games being cancelled by David Stern. Even though there is still no deal for a new CBA, the two sides are closer to reaching an agreement now then they have been throughout the lockout negotiations.
Derek Fisher, president of the players association, said that even though they are turning down this latest proposal from the owners, the players would like to arrange another meeting with owners as soon as possible so that they can continue to negotiate and hopefully come to an agreement soon. As for this latest offer, Fisher had this to say:
"The current offer on the table from the NBA is one that we cannot accept. We're open to discussions, open to negotiation. We're open-minded about potential compromises on our number, but there are things in the system that are not up for discussion that we have to have in order to (be) able to get this season going."
If you remember, this latest offer from the league (that was just turned down by the players) had the owners taking the percentage of basketball related income down to a 51-49 split, with the players getting the 51%. Keep in mind that the CBA that just expired had the players getting 57% of the BRI, and to put a number on things, 1% is equal to about $40 million dollars.
While the players that were involved in the gathering on Tuesday did turn down this latest proposal, they did hold an informal vote that authorized Fisher and Players Union Chief Billy Hunter to accept as much as a 50-50 split of the BRI as long as the league makes concessions on a few particular system issues.
According to what a source told ESPN, those issues include luxury tax penalties and the rules to be followed by teams who would have to pay that tax. Some who are familiar with the owners side of the fence say that this latest offer by the league is the best that they can do, and that Billy Hunter is wrong when he says that he believes the owners will improve on this offer. As for Hunter, here is what he had to say following his meeting with the players on Tuesday:
"The players are clearly of the mind that it's an unacceptable proposal, 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."
We'll see if the two sides can get a meeting squeezed in before David Stern's deadline of Wednesday afternoon at the close of the business day. Hopefully they do meet and either get a deal done or at least see if Stern will extend his deadline and not cancel any more games. We're still closer to a deal now then we have been since the lockout began over four months ago, so I don't think it's asking much for them to come to an agreement already.
Unfortunately, we'll just have to continue waiting and see what happens...