The NBPA and its player reps, as well as just players that wanted to be there, 43 total, met Tuesday in New York for a little more than three hours to discuss a myriad of issues including voting on the NBA’s proposed deal as well as presumably, decertification. Though Billy Hunter said there was “very little” discussion on the latter.
And the message was clear: The deal the NBA proposed is still unacceptable. But it’s not too far off and could be something the players could work with if they got another bargaining session.
Billy Hunter put it bluntly: “They’re still of the mind-set that they’re not going to accept a bad deal.”
The Thunder were represented by Russell Westbrook, who is taking this negotiations very seriously I’m sure with a contract extension coming as soon as the lockout ends. Kevin Durant is the Thunder’s official player rep.
There was some presumption that the meeting would include discussion of voting on the current proposal. But Fisher nixed that. “Today wasn’t about voting on the current deal as it stands,” he said.
Hunter said he knows who the hardline owners are and was asked about Michael Jordan’s reported stance.
“I would give him the advice that he gave to Abe Pollin. OK? He should take his own advice,” Hunter said.
What happens at the close of business tomorrow if there’s no meeting? Hunter said he’s hearing from the “underground” and “gossip” that the NBA will cancel games until Christmas without a deal Wednesday. And supposedly, the offer will just get worse too. The players don’t believe that though. Hunter said he still believes the 50-50 will remain on the table past the deadline. We’ll see, I guess.
But a big takeaway from the press conference: Hunter also said that David Stern can expect a calling either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning to organize a new meeting. And in that, he’s been given authorization from the players to move economically as long as the system can fall into a better place. What does that mean? I have no idea.
The ones Hunter mentioned though: repeater tax, escrow, sign and trade restrictions, “cliff” for teams that go into tax, mid-level for tax payers. Basically five of the six “what-if” proposals made from Saturday’s ultimatum meeting. Find common ground there and you could find a deal.
But it all starts with getting another meeting before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Let’s hope David Stern just got a phone call.