The National Basketball Association’s players are meeting to discuss a league-offered labor proposal that would end the lockout and lead to a 72-game season beginning Dec. 15.
Joining National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter at a midtown Manhattan hotel were player representatives as well as All-Stars such as Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony. It’s the 137th day of a lockout, and it may be the day team representatives agree to put the proposal to a vote by the union’s 450 or so members.
The union is facing an ultimatum by league Commissioner David Stern: accept the deal proposed Nov. 10 or have the owners revert to an offer containing tighter limits that was rejected by the union in June.
The league already has wiped out the first month of the scheduled 82-game season, which was to begin Nov. 1. It would take a month after reaching an agreement in principle to begin a season because of how long it takes to complete the deal, hold a free-agency period and perhaps play some preseason games, Stern has said.
Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to players yesterday and fielded questions about the proposal on Twitter last night.
“It is now time to conclude our bargaining and make an agreement that can stop the ongoing damage to both sides and the countless others that rely on our game for their livelihoods and enjoyment,” according to the letter, which was posted on the league’s website. “We urge you to study our proposal carefully, and to accept it as a fair compromise of the issues between us.”
The offer would give players 50 percent of basketball-related income from the league that made $4.3 billion in revenue last season. Under the previous agreement, players got 57 percent of basketball-related income. Stern has said that the league’s teams collectively lost at least $300 million in each of the past three seasons.
The two sides have negotiated in recent weeks over the system the league would operate under during the new deal, including the salary cap, the length of contracts and issues relating to the players’ freedom of movement between teams through trades.
Hunter said on Nov. 10 that it the package being considered was “not the greatest proposal in the world” but that he felt obligated to present it to the union’s team representatives.