Union rejects deal as owners' deadline looms

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Union rejects deal as owners' deadline looms

The NBA and the NBA Players Association continued their high-stakes game of chicken Tuesday, with the NBAPA rejecting the NBA's take-it-or-it'll-get-worse ultimatum, which came with a Wednesday deadline of 5 p.m.

"The current offer on the table is one that we can not accept," said Derek Fisher, president of the NBAPA. "We are willing to continue discussions on a compromise."

Added Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBAPA: "Players are still of the mindset they will not accept a bad deal. That's the message we have to send to the other side."

The union made it clear it is very much in the mood to continue to negotiate and work towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But it's unclear if NBA commissioner David Stern will stick to the take-it-or-it'll-get-worse mantra he adopted following the most recent bargaining session.

Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBAPA, said he'll place a call to Stern Tuesday night night to try and have another bargaining session prior to Wednesday's deadline.

"I anticipate we'll have a meeting before 5 p.m. (Wednesday)," Hunter said.

In an interview with NBA-TV, Stern said he would take a phone call from Hunter. But he did not say whether or not he would meet with Hunter, adding that he would have to first talk with the NBA's Labor Relations Committee.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Stern outlined several key components of the deal currently on the table, such as a 50-50 split of the basketball-related income, a "mini" mid-level exception, as well as mechanisms geared toward steering teams away from surpassing the luxury tax threshold so frequently.

"If we're unable to make a deal on those terms," Stern said at the time, "By the close of business on Wednesday, we will be making a new proposal . . . which is multifaceted, 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 the course of these negotiations. We hope that this juxtaposition will cause the union to access its position and accept the deal."

The union has made a number of concessions on the economics of a new CBA, and is looking for concessions on the league's part on system-related issues.

"There are certain things in the system we have to have," Fisher said.

Some of the system issues include:

Length of mid-level exception contracts (NBA wants the length to be four years, and then three years the following year; the union wants it to be four years, every year).

Tax-paying teams being able to use the full mid-level exception (the NBA wants them to have a "mini" mid-level which can be used once every two years; union is opposed to this).

Sign-and-trades for tax-paying teams. (The NBA wants to eliminate it; the union wants to keep it.)

Escrow funds withheld from players paychecks (players want a maximum of 10 percent withheld, while the owners are looking for a significantly larger chunk to be withheld).

So when Hunter says that the differences between the two sides involve more than just a few "tweaks," he's not kidding.

Hunter has been given the go-ahead to continue negotiating with the NBA on economic issues, which essentially means the union is now willing to accept a 50-50 split of the BRI, provided certain system issues are addressed.

In an interview with NBA-TV following Hunter and Fisher's press conference on Tuesday, Stern did not sound as though there was much, if anything, left to negotiate.

When asked about whether there was any wiggle room remaining to negotiate on regarding system issues, Stern responded, "As of Saturday, or Sunday morning as of 3 in the morning, there was nothing left."

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.