When representatives from all 30 NBA teams convene Tuesday in New York for a mandatory union meeting to discuss all the issues involving the lockout, it will give the Players’ Association executive board a chance to inform them on what’s at stake, said a source involved in the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has given players an ultimatum to accept the league's latest contract offer of a 49%-to-51% split of basketball revenue by the close of business Wednesday, or Stern said the next offer would be less generous.
There have been reports of discord among players, including some who want to accept the deal, others who reject the offer and still more who want to consider decertification of the union.
Tuesday’s union meeting is intended to clear the air with the representatives so they can take informed information back to their teammates.
“We know that tomorrow is when guys are going to get educated,” the source said. “He should know what exactly what’s going on when he comes out of [the meeting].”
Meanwhile, Lakers guard Steve Blake, who has three years and $12 million left on his contract, reportedly has been calling players in an effort to get the union to allow the players to take a vote on the latest offer by the owners. Blake reportedly has said it should be a “yes” or “no” vote.
Anthony Parker, a team representative for the Cleveland Cavaliers who will be a free agent after earning $2.9 million last season, said the players he has talked to want to reject Stern's offer.
“I don’t think they are doing anything out of respect,” the source said. “But they don’t know what’s going on. They haven’t been to the meetings. Derek [Fisher] is the [union] president. All they have to do is make one phone call.”
The source also said the 50/50 revenue split offered by the league would come after operating expenses for the owners. Thus, it wouldn’t be a “true” 50-50 split, he said.
The source also said various players are upset that former stars like Michael Jordan, now an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson think the current NBA players are wrong for taking their stance.
“I’m disappointed with the former basketball players,” the source said. “It’s not right for them to say we should limit the [stars] of tomorrow. We supported the Jordan brand. We supported Magic and Charles Barkley. But then for them not to give the support back to us, it’s frustrating.”
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers guard Steve Blake drives to the basket against the Hawks' Marvin Williams, left, and Jamal Crawford during a game last season at Staples Center. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times