|NBA Accused of Trying to Force Player Lockout in Contract Dispute|
Friday, 24 June 2011 09:20
The dispute between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association is no closer to being solved, with players association executive director Billy Hunter claiming that the NBA has long wanted to “lock us out in order to break the union.”
Hunter, in New York for the National Basketball Players Association’s off-season meetings, said the NBA has threatened for two years to impose a lockout when the current labour contract expires in one week’s time, and that despite several proposals by both parties, little has changed over that period.
Hunter said: “I think their real intentions are still what they were before, which is to lock us out in order to break the union and achieve what they want to achieve.”
Mike Bass, a spokesman for the NBA, said that the league was “dismayed by the union’s unfortunate rhetoric.”
He added: “A lockout is something that we are trying to avoid by making multiple offers that treat our players fairly.”
Hunter’s comments came a day after Derek Fisher, the union’s president, said the two sides “haven’t been partners in this venture.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern outlined a new proposal to the union two days ago that calls for a 10-year contract guaranteeing players at least US$2bn a year. Hunter said under those terms, the owners and players would be more than US$7bn apart.
Discussions between the two parties are set to continue on Friday.