NBA lockout: Five things to note about owners' current proposal
1. The 72-game season would start Dec. 15. Should the players union accept the owners' current proposal, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters the playoffs and the finals would start a week late.
2. The basketball-related income would involve a 50-50 split. In what remained to be the biggest hurdle in these negotiations, this should sprout at least some optimism that both sides could reach a deal after the players union meets with team representatives Monday and Tuesday. This nugget also perfectly reflects just how much the owners have forced the players union to concede time and time again. The players union dropped from 57% to 53%, and held onto that percentage for a significant part of the work stoppage. They then offered to drop to 52.5%, 52% and then considered a 50-50 split so long as the owners compromised on various system issues. Should both sides accept a 50-50 split, the players union would give the owners an additional $280 million per season after contending the league lost $300 million last season.
3. The owners offered few concessions in system issues. The players union maintained they would budge on conceding more on BRI should the owners make compromises on various system issues. That didn't happen, leaving the players union noncommital on the offer following Thursday's meeting. The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner report the owners want a "repeater tax" that exceeds the luxury tax three times in a five-year period, but the players think it would curb spending. CBS Sports' Ken Berger talked to various sources who indicated the owners didn't really revise much of their proposal during Thursday's meeting.
There are a few exceptions. That includes the size and length of mid-level exceptions, which allows middle-tier free agents to receive lucrative deals even from teams that spend over the luxury tax. The owners and players union reportedly agreed to increase the MLE for luxury tax-paying teams to three-year deals starting at $3 million and would be available every other year for teams above the tax threshold. In the last proposal, the exception would last two years starting at $2.5 million. The union reportedly also convinced the owners to back off of a hard cap and maintained the structure of max contracts.
4. The players will either accept the deal or decertify. Neither union executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher sounded enthusiastic about the deal, but said they would present the offfer to player representatives on Monday and Tuesday. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski talked to several unnamed players who expressed frustration that the union has already conceded so much, and it's possible the players will instead just decertify. That would involve a few things. The union would dissolve. They would file an antitrust lawsuit claiming the NBA conspired to deny their ability to market themselves by locking them out. Though decertification could give the players leverage, the lengthy court process would significantly cut the 2011-12 season, if not altogether.
5. The owners maintain the offer will become worse should the players union reject it. Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner David Stern threatened that a rejected deal would spur the owners to pull their current offer. In return, they would offer 47% for the players in BRI and salary rollbacks.
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Photo: NBA players union Executive Director Billy Hunter (seated, left) and President Derek Fisher (seated, right) address the media after Thursday's negotiating session while players (from left) Matt Bonner, Theo Ratliff, Etan Thomas, Keyon Dooling and Roger Mason stand behind them. Credit: John Minchillo / Associated Press / Nov. 10, 2011.