In what amounts to the league’s last and best proposal in a labor standoff now into its fifth month, NBA commissioner David Stern on Thursday offered his locked-out players a 72-game season that would start Dec. 15.
Yet the league’s latest pitch, according to sources briefed on its contents after adjustments were made Thursday night, contained what the union regards as miniscule financial inducements for the players after nearly 24 hours of negotiations this week. And that clearly disappointed union leaders who were expecting more after they made a commitment earlier in the week, for the first time since the lockout began, to accept a 50/50 split of annual Basketball Related Income.
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter struggled to mask how underwhelmed he was by the new proposal even as he was telling reporters that he would present it to the player representatives from all 30 teams as early as Monday as a possible prelude to a vote from the union’s estimated 450 members.
“It’s not the greatest proposal in the world,” Hunter said. “But I have an obligation to at least present it to our membership. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
— Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com