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NEW YORK (AP) — NBA players made it clear Tuesday: No deal.
No fear of Commissioner David Stern’s ultimatum, either.
“The current offer on the table from the NBA is one that we cannot accept,” players’ association president Derek Fisher said.
Instead, the players said they will ask for another meeting with owners before Stern’s Wednesday afternoon deadline — and sound willing to agree to a 50-50 split of revenues under the right circumstances.
In an interview on NBA TV, Stern said that whether he agrees to meet “would be guided by the labor relations committee.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league has not yet heard from Hunter.
A month of the season has already been lost, and the NBA risks losing fans without an agreement soon. Some already appear to have forgotten: Blake Griffin, last season’s rookie of the year, stood around in the lobby of a busy hotel off Broadway and was rarely approached by fans.
The league’s current proposal calls for players to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though union officials argue it would be nearly impossible to get above 50.2 percent.
“The players are clearly of the mind that it’s an unacceptable proposal,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “But because of their commitment to the game and their desire to play, they’re saying to us that we want you to go back, see if you can go back, get a better deal.”
If players don’t take the deal by 5 p.m. Wednesday, the next offer will call for salary rollbacks, a 53-47 revenue split in the owners’ favor and essentially a hard salary cap.
“Our proposal on the table now goes away (Wednesday),” Stern said. “Our next proposal will then go to the players, and we will see where negotiations go.”
Players are willing to negotiate further on the revenue split if they get some concessions on the salary cap system. Without them, Fisher said “we don’t see a way of getting a deal done between now and end of business” Wednesday.
The league is seeking to limit the spending options of teams above the luxury tax threshold, believing that would lead to greater competitive balance. Players want all teams to be options for free agents.
When asked if there’s still wiggle room on system issues, Stern said that as of 3 a.m. Sunday there was none left.
The players insisted they will not be forced into taking a bad deal by an ultimatum — though Stern refused to call it that.