Negotiations between NBA Team Owners and the NBA Players Association to agree on a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement took on a sour tone on Wednesday “ESPN.com” is reporting. The two sides met again on Tuesday for a bargaining session and a proposal that Team Owners put on the table is not sitting well with the players. The Owners are asking the players to give up $160 million that is owed to them from the recently completed season. The money was held in escrow to insure that NBA players would not receive more than 57% of Association revenue. The money was scheduled to be given to the players in August; without that money the players would receive just 52.8% of NBA revenue for the season.
Los Angeles Lakers veteran point guard and Union President Derek Fisher did not react well to the proposal. Fisher told reporters “To me, it speaks to the arrogance they have in approaching us. Trust and loyalty pretty much go out the window when it comes to business. We haven’t been partners in this venture from day one. We’ve been employees, the talent that has grown the game. It’s difficult to be partners in recovery when we haven’t been partners in generating those losses.”
The Players Association put together a proposal for a five-year deal asking for the salary cap to remain flexible while they would be willing to reduce their share of revenue from the current 57% to 54.6%. The Owners are looking to get a ten-year deal signed. Fisher said “It makes no sense to do a 10-year deal. We haven’t signed off on that. It doesn’t make sense on any level.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30, and barring any extension by NBA Commissioner David Stern and the Team Owners a lockout appears to be imminent. The Las Vegas Summer League has already become a casualty of the lack of a new agreement. Hopefully if a work stoppage does go into effect it would be over before NBA training camps begin in the fall.