The NBA and players’ union have scheduled a meeting this afternoon ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline to accept the owners’ latest proposal. The players rejected the deal on Tuesday but offered to compromise on a 50-50 revenue split if the owners are willing to tweak some of the system restrictions placed on luxury-tax paying teams.
In an interview with NBATV on Tuesday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said that didn’t have any wiggle room left on the offer. But Yahoo! Sports reported that Stern has been authorized to make some tweaks to get a deal done. Stern has threatened to change the proposal at the close of business today, with players to receive just 47 percent of basketball-related income and a hard salary cap.
“I’m always willing to negotiate, except our starting point [after Wednesday] is going to be a new proposal,’’ Stern said.
Union executive director Billy Hunter told NBATV that he hoped Stern was able to make some adjustments but wasn’t confident that he wielded as much power with his owners. “My concern, what I’m trying to determine, is whether or not David may be a hostage in his own camp,” Hunter said. “That’s what kind of concerns me. He may not have the sway that he once had. He’s been a hell of a commissioner, but it’s not the first time I’ve made this statement of whether he has the control and sway that he has historically had.”
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is believed to be one of the hard-line owners, but Hunter singled out Michael Jordan in Tuesday’s news conference. “I would give him the same advice he gave to Abe Pollin,” Hunter said, since Jordan once told Pollin to sell his team if he couldn’t make a profit. “Okay, he should take his own advice.”