David Stern says NBA players have until Wednesday to accept deal
Setting the stage for four days of intense contemplation, NBA Commissioner David Stern late Saturday told players they had until the end of Wednesday to accept a deal that would provide them between 49% and 51% of basketball-related income as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Stern spoke at the end of an 8½-hour negotiating session presided over by federal mediator George Cohen, who made six compromise suggestions to players and owners. Stern said the owners were willing to adopt five of the proposals but that the players’ union flatly rejected them.
Lakers guard Derek Fisher, president of the players’ union, said players offered to take around 51% of BRI, down from their previous 52.5% demands. He said “there’s no way in the world” players would receive 51% of the BRI under the owners’ flexible proposal.
“We’ve made the effort,” Fisher said. “It just doesn’t seem to be good enough for this particular group of owners.”
Player reaction to Stern’s take-it-or-leave-it offer was swift on Twitter.
“U gotta love an ultimatum,” tweeted San Antonio Spurs guard Steve Novak. “How does basketball ever even get to this point?”
-- Ben Bolch
Photo: NBA Commissioner David Stern addresses the media following a failed labor negotiation last month in New York. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press