NEW YORK What a mess we have here.
After more than eight hours of negotiating on Saturday, the NBA and the NBA players' union are no closer to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, further throwing the 2011-2012 season into what appears to be a drowning sea of uncertainty.
"We for sure, unequivocally made true, good-faith efforts to try and get this deal done," said NBAPA president Derek Fisher. "And we're at a loss for why we could not close it out based on the moves that we made towards the NBA and towards the league, in getting a deal done."
But there is a deal on the table, according to NBA Commissioner David Stern.
However, he's quick to add that it won't last long.
"If we're unable to make a deal on those terms, by the close of business on Wednesday, we will be making a new proposal which we will also share very soon with the players in writing which is multi-faceted," Stern said. "But for purposes of this press conference, suffice to say, it will be a 47 percent proposal and a flex cap and lots of other issues that you have become familiar with in these negotiations."
Here's a snapshot of the proposal that Stern plans to present to the players union later today.
A 49-51 band for the basketball revenue income.
A mini, mid-level exception for tax-paying teams that's worth 2.5 Million per year, for two years, and can only be used every other year.
No Sign-and-trades for tax-paying teams.
A Mid-level exception for non-taxpaying teams, worth 5 million, that will be three and four years in length, but will alternate from one year to the next.
A harsher tax system for teams that repeatedly are tax-payers.
NBAPA president Derek Fisher said there might have been one item on the NBA's wish list, that the union might have been in agreement on.
Among the points that seemed to draw the ire of the union's lead counsel, was the BRI split.
"The proposal that this is a robust deal to 51 (percent of the BRI for the players), is a fraud," Kessler said. "They came in here with a pre-arranged plan to try and strong-arm the players. They knew today, they would stick to 50 essentially, 50.2, and make almost no movement on the system and then they were gong to say, 'my way or the 47 percent highway.'
Kessler added, "these are professional basketball players. The finest athletes in the world. How do you think they feel about threats? How do you think they feel about efforts of intimidation? Who negotiates in good faith, 'it's this proposal or 47 percent. We'll make it worst. Take it or leave it.' That's where they were. The players will not be intimidated. They want to play. They want a season. But they will not sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening under Derek Fisher's watch. It's not happening under Billy Hunter's watch. It's not happening under the watch of this executive committee."
As Kessler state, the players still want a majority of the BRI but with a twist.
"In that 51 percent, we'd take a portion of it, and work with the NBA on a new benefits program that would significantly impact the lives of retired players," Fisher said.
From the union's perspective, that would give the owners the economics they were looking for in a new CBA.
"We believe the conversation (about economics) should have been over at that point," Fisher said.
In addition to the 51 percent cut of the BRI, here are some other items the union was seeking:
A mid-level exception, worth 5 million, and can be used every year by non-tax paying teams and every other year for tax-paying teams.
Sign-and-trades for all teams.
Mid-Level exception contracts can be signed for as many as four years.
A less punitive taxing than the league's proposal, for teams that cross the luxury tax threshold.
While the NBA's proposal isn't nearly as restrictive as there earlier ones, it's unclear if it meets the economic and competitive balance standards Stern and his ownership group, were focused on achieving in a new CBA.
"They certainly would come closer than our current system," Stern said. "And they're the best we can do at this time. And so, we're prepared to live by them if they're accepted by the players."
But based on comments by Fisher and Kessler (NBAPA executive director Billy Hunter did not attend the press conference because, according to a union official, he had a sore throat), it appears unlikely that the proposal will be approved by the union.
"We made the proposal, and we hope that it will be accepted by Wednesday," Stern said. "I'm not going to make percentage guesses, or anything like that. We want our players to play. We'd like to have a season, and these are the terms upon which we are prepared to gear up, and get in as many games as possible.