Tuesday is a monumental day in NBA lockout negotiations. David Stern’s deadline for a decision by the player’s association on owner’s latest offer is just over 24 hours away. Which is why player representatives from all 30 NBA teams will meet in Manhattan today to discuss the offer, and how the union should proceed.
There’s only one problem. Players are squarely divided in their beliefs.
Cavaliers representative Anthony Parker is against the owners’ proposal. Deron Williams has tweeted that he hoped for union decertification months ago. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ Kevin Martin thinks players should just take the deal. And the Lakers’ Steve Blake wants the players to vote on the deal – today.
“Pretty much everything is split,” Anthony Tolliver, the Timberwolves’ team representative, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on his way to the airport. “Half the people want to decertify. Half the people want to vote on it…at this point, I’m split down the middle like everybody else. I don’t know what I want to do.”
Tolliver, and his 29 peers, had better figure it out. And quickly.
If and when the clock strikes 5:00 Wednesday afternoon and no deal has been reached, Stern says owners current 50-50 revenue split proposal will recede back to a 47 per cent hard-line offer.
The union could try and call Stern’s bluff, ignore the deadline and continue negotiating. But that would be a bad idea. As Chris Broussard tweeted yesterday, this could be the owner’s final 50-50 revenue offer for years.
The next option would be to decertify as a union and sue the league.
That would truly put the 2011-12 NBA season in jeopardy. There are reports of both sides attempting to meet one final time prior to Wednesday’s deadline, but nothing has been scheduled.
Players could use this meeting to push for a final few system issue owner concessions to strike a deal. But the possibility of gaining that 51st BRI percentage point, without stipulations, is impossible. Especially with Michael Jordan and other owners still against Stern’s latest proposal.
Their optimism is welcomed. But will it be enough finally settle this 130-day stalemate?
Check back around 5:00 pm Wednesday.
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