NBA Players Meet to Discuss League's Proposal
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Monday, 14 November 2011 12:54
Joined by superstars Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, player representatives from NBA teams are meeting Monday to discuss the league's proposal for a new labor deal.
If the player reps endorse it, it would go to a vote of all players. If approved by players and then ratified by owners, the lockout would end, and a 72-game season would start Dec. 15.
But if the union leadership rejects the offer, the league is prepared to offer a harsher proposal — one players wouldn't accept, possibly triggering a lengthy legal battle and certainly jeopardizing the 2011-12 season.
Commissioner David Stern has urged players to take the deal on the table, saying it's the best the NBA can offer and warned that decertification is not a winning strategy.
The current proposal calls for a 50-50 division of basketball-related income. Players are still unhappy with what they believe are too many restrictions for big-spending teams that would limit their free agent options, but Stern said the proposal is far better for players than the one player reps said they would reject last week.
Waiting is a proposal that calls for a 53-47 split of BRI in the owners' favor, a flex cap with a hard ceiling and rollbacks for current salaries.
Players could seek further tweaks to the current proposal before putting it to a vote, but Stern repeatedly has said the league is through negotiating.
"I want to answer this diplomatically. The next time we meet to discuss anything, we'll be discussing the 47 percent proposal," he told The Associated Press on Saturday. "This is it. We've been negotiating this for 2½ years. The owners authorized a revised proposal, and they said if it's not acceptable and they want to keep negotiating, we present them with a 47 percent, flex cap proposal. They know it."
Players also could vote to disband the union. Executive director Billy Hunter said last week he was aware that perhaps 200 players had signed a petition supporting it. But an antitrust lawsuit against the league would take months, so the best shot to play this season comes this week.
Stern reminded players and fans of that Sunday during an internet blitz. He and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver took questions on Twitter, and the league posted a memo on its website that Stern sent to players with a breakdown of various deal points. He urged players to "study our proposal carefully, and to accept it as a fair compromise of the issues between us."
The league has withdrawn its demands for a hard salary cap, salary rollbacks and non-guaranteed contracts during the negotiations. But players still fear some of the restrictions on teams over the luxury tax would act as a hard cap, which they vehemently oppose.
Stern has blamed agents for the misinformation about the proposal that has spread since Thursday. So players were eager to get in the room with Hunter and union president Derek Fisher and get the full details themselves. Chris Duhon, Orlando's player rep, wrote on his Twitter feed that the Magic would accept the deal.
"The main thing is not going in with any preconceived notions," Minnesota Timberwolves rep Anthony Tolliver said. "We need to understand the ins and outs of the deal. It's just like last week, where we didn't understand the full extent of the deal until we got in the room face-to-face and talked it through."
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.Add a comment
Union to Meet Monday to Discuss NBA's Offer
Written by Tim Reynolds, AP Sports Writer Monday, 14 November 2011 03:59
MIAMI (AP) — Decision day for NBA players may have arrived. And on the eve of perhaps the biggest meeting of the lockout, the league took its talking points to the players and public.
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NBA, Players Meet Over 12 Hours, Will Talk Today
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Thursday, 10 November 2011 05:49
NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern's deadline passed without a deal, though the NBA and its players will talk again Thursday.
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Magic Johnson Backs Stern After Racial Suggestion
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Wednesday, 09 November 2011 10:55
Magic Johnson said it's "ridiculous" to suggest David Stern is racist, saying it's OK to disagree with the NBA commissioner but that you "can't attack the man and what he stands for."
Johnson was responding to comments made by attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the NBA players' association, who told the Washington Post that owners are treating players like "plantation workers" during the ongoing lockout.
That was similar to the comments Bryant Gumbel made last month on his HBO show, when he said Stern "always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys."
But Johnson said Stern has always done right by players, noting the number of black players such himself, Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas who have followed their Hall of Fame careers by going into management or ownership positions.
"This league is more diverse than any other league and has more minorities in powerful positions than any other league," Johnson said during a phone interview. "That's all about David Stern and his vision and what he wanted to do. He made sure minorities had high-ranking positions from the league office all the way down to coaches and front office people."
Stern did not comment, though he told the Washington Post that Kessler's conduct "is routinely despicable."
Kessler planned to apologize to Stern on Wednesday morning.
"The comments that I made to the Washington Post reporter were made late Monday night after a long day," he said. "Looking back at this now, my choice of words were inappropriate. I did not mean to offend. I was passionately advocating for the players. I am going to call Commissioner Stern this morning and apologize for my choice of words. It is very important that the parties not have any distraction and that we all work very hard to try to reach an agreement to save the NBA season."
Players such as Johnson and Bill Russell called the league office to support Stern, who is leading owners in a bitter dispute with the players.
"It was David Stern who took this league worldwide. And so those guys know it was because of David Stern and what he was able to do," Johnson said.
Johnson recalled it was Stern who offered him a place in the 1992 NBA All-Star game, even over some players' wishes after he had retired the previous November because of HIV. And it was Stern who included Johnson that summer on the Dream Team that won the Olympic gold medal.
And it was Stern, he said, who called him after Johnson's comments about Thomas in his book ignited a public feud between the longtime friends, urging Johnson to work it out.
"He has always done what's right for both the players and owners. I'm going to have to say this personally, David, he didn't have to do that. That's the type of commissioner he is.
"He always is looking out for the players and what's best for the league, and I disagree with anybody who says he's trying to be a plantation owner. It's ridiculous we're even talking about it."
The 69-year-old Stern is likely nearing his final years on the job after becoming commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984, just as Johnson and Larry Bird were renewing the longtime rivalry between the Lakers and Boston Celtics. Johnson said he's "tired of people taking shots" at Stern, especially because so many of them have jobs connected to the NBA that Stern created.
"He's a tough business man and a smart business man," he said. "That's what he's supposed to be."
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NBA Players Get New Offer, Deadline to Take It
Written by Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer Monday, 07 November 2011 04:52
NEW YORK (AP) — Commissioner David Stern gave NBA players an offer and a deadline: Accept a chance to earn up to 51 percent of basketball-related income by Wednesday or get ready for a deal that's a whole lot worse.
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