After 11 hours of talks, players left the midtown Manhattan hotel not knowing what they’ll do, but understanding that if they don’t accept the revised deal, the owners’ next offer will be to drop the players’ split to only 47 percent and to put a NHL-style flex-cap on the table. That would be a nightmare for the players and probably lead to a decertification effort that has been building in recent weeks.
“We’ve done our best,” said commissioner David Stern, after issuing a second ultimatum in six days. “I would not presume to project or predict what the union will do.” In a 72-game scenario, the 30 teams will not just pick up play on Dec. 15, according to the original schedules sent out last summer.
The schedules would largely be revised. The plan calls for a free-agency signing period plus a period for teams to conduct training camp and “possibly” some preseason games, according to deputy commissioner Adam Silver. The league also says it might have to change its lineup of Christmas Day games, which currently includes the Knicks hosting Boston.
The NBA did not say which Christmas games would be affected in the tentative 72-game schedule. All-Star weekend in Orlando would be held on Feb. 24-26, as originally scheduled. But the playoffs and Finals would both be pushed back a week.
After two days of intense negotiations covering 23 hours, neither side wanted to get that far ahead of itself, thinking that the end of the 134-day lockout is right around the corner.
“It’s not the greatest proposal in the world,” said Billy Hunter, the NBA Players Association executive director. “But I have an obligation to present it to our team representatives.”
Neither side revealed details of the revised deal. But with negotiations going nowhere, Stern received approval from his labor relations committee to put the revised deal on the table.
Players indicated that they might have the same reservations in the new offer about the same system issues that have been preventing the two sides from completing a deal. Those include the owners’ insistence that teams paying luxury tax be prohibited from making sign-and-trades and offering the full mid-level exception.
“There are important issues we have to consider in terms of the system to get it done,” union president Derek Fisher said.
Owners have been pushing for a 50-50 split and have offered players the ability to make between 49 and 51%. But players have been opposed to that offer. If they do, they would be losing close to $300 million annually in salaries after pocketing 57% of the revenue since 2005-06.
-new york daily news