Player representatives from each of the NBA’s 30 teams will meet in the New York on Tuesday after a mandatory meeting was called by the Players Association in advance of the NBA’s Wednesday deadline to accept the owners’ latest offer, according a report by ESPN.com.
After a strenuous round of negotiations that lasted for nine hours last Saturday into early Sunday morning, the offer that the owners have left on the table for the union to decide on would give players up to a 51 percent cut of yearly basketball-related income (BRI). From ESPN’s report:
But NBPA sources reiterated Sunday that the executive board remains unwilling to present that offer to the union’s estimated 450 members for a vote and plans to make that stance clear to team player reps at the meeting.
Sources told ESPN.com that union leaders have not budged from the view that the NBA’s offer is “unacceptable,” just as NBPA president Derek Fisher described it in the wee hours of Sunday morning once Saturday’s marathon bargaining session finally ended.
It is not clear what exact percentage of BRI the owners offered the players, but reports have estimated that it ranges between 49 and 51 percent. The NBPA in the past has been adamant about not letting the players’ cut drop below 52.5 percent unless it can also receive additional compromises that involve a flex salary cap.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the Players Association has until the end of Wednesday to accept the current deal. If Wednesday passes without an agreement in place, Stern says the league’s next offer won’t go higher than 47 percent and would include a harder cap.
However, ESPN reports that there is hardly any accord among players on what to do next. While some players are keen on accepting the league’s current offer, others, most notably Paul Piece and Deron Williams, favor decertifying the union. Decertification is a complicated legal process that would further stretch out the lockout. At this stage, the threat of decertification is a good negotiation ploy for the players, but the actual act of going through the process at this very moment could further complicate matters.
From Eye on Basketball:
Perhaps in July it could have been used as a viable weapon, but Billy Hunter understood the risks involved in taking this to court and putting this conflict into a trench-warfare-type environment. […] So now the union is torn apart, with some players just wanting to go back to work, some players needing to go back to work, some players wanting to talk more, and a number of players and several All-Stars (with the bank accounts to back it) wanting to blow everything up and commit to a full-on battle.
To decertify, 200 players need to sign a petition that will be submitted to the National Labor Relations Board, which will take 45 days to review the players’ request. Those in the union camp who back this strategy, which would ultimately move the labor dispute to the courts, think that the owners would be easier to negotiate with during that 45-day time frame.
Sources: NBPA to debrief player reps [ESPN.com]