NBA Players to Reject Stern’s Ultimatum with Wednesday Deadline Looming

November 9, 2011

The NBA players have rejected the deal proposed by the NBA owners and want more renegotiations before the Wednesday afternoon deadline with the owners adamant the next deal wont be so accommodating.

NBA players have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to accept an offer from NBA owners on a revenue split or the next deal that’s offered will be much worse.

On Tuesday, the NBA player’s union said they were not going to fold in the face of the owner’s ultimatum.

“There isn’t any player that wants us to take a bad deal,” National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher said.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has said the newest proposal gives players between 49% and 51% of revenues. If the players’ association does not change its mind by Wednesday, the NBA will offer up another proposal — one that offers players 47% of basketball revenues and a hard salary cap.

Fisher said Sunday that the offer was not acceptable, and he reiterated Tuesday that the players’ association is holding firm.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to negotiate,” Fisher said at a news conference after a meeting of players representing all but one of the NBA’s teams.

The current proposal says that if the league exceeds certain revenue forecasts, the players would receive 51%. If it didn’t, the share would fall to 49%.

But Fisher said Sunday that “there’d be no way in the world we’d ever get to 51%” under the provisions.

The players’ association’s executive director, Billy Hunter, told CNN sister network TBS that Tuesday’s meeting was intended to spell out the details of the owners’ proposal, which they were “misunderstanding” based on media reports that focused on the revenue sharing offer.

Once they heard the details of the proposal, he said, “they were all horrified by it.” He said it would “decimate” gains made by players in recent years.

Hunter said he is likely to meet with Stern before the owners’ deadline Wednesday to see if there was any movement in their position.

Fisher, during the news conference, said the players are confident an agreement giving players a better deal would still be possible despite the owners’ ultimatum.

The NBA season has been canceled through at least November 30, and the two sides are hoping they can reach a resolution before more games are called off.

Stern has said the 2010-2011 season was not profitable for most of the league’s 30 owners, who want cost-cutting help from players. The league lost as much as $300 million last season, according to Stern.

One of the battles has focused on the owners’ rejection of calls by the players’ union for an average $7 million player salary in the sixth year of a new labor deal. The current average salary is about $5 million.

Other big issues include a fight over a move by owners to gain the bigger share of revenues and whether the NBA will strengthen its salary cap.

Read Stern’s offer here