NBA players reject owners' offer
After a 4 ½-hour meeting with 43 players and 29 of the 30 union representatives from NBA teams, players union President Derek Fisher and union Executive Director Billy Hunter said they had been given clear orders.
“Right now, the current offer that’s on the table from the NBA is not one that we can accept,” Fisher said in a news conference in New York.
Fisher and Hunter said they also were ordered to continue negotiating with NBA owners. Hunter said he would reach out to NBA Commissioner David Stern Tuesday night or Wednesday to see if they can set up a meeting.
Stern had given the players an ultimatum to accept the owners’ latest contract proposal by the close of business Wednesday or risk getting a weaker deal.
Fisher said they want to continue negotiating over the proposed split of basketball-related income. The players are seeking about 51% of the BRI, while Stern has offered about a 50% split.
However, Hunter said there are several other key issues to be resolved, including sign-and-trade restrictions by teams and the luxury tax penalty teams would pay for signing players.
“Without those improvements in the system, we don’t see a way of getting a deal done between now and the end of business tomorrow evening,” Fisher said.
Hunter said he'd heard through the “underground” that the NBA is considering canceling games through Christmas if no deal is reached by Wednesday. The NBA has already canceled games through November 30.
Hunter also said there was “very little discussion” Tuesday about possible union decertification.
Fisher said they all want to get a deal done so they can end the NBA lockout.
“But not under any circumstances will [we] negotiate from a position of weakness and being given ultimatums and demanded that we have to accept a particular deal,” Fisher said.
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players' Association, speaks during a news conference, Tuesday in New York. Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II.