Friday talks that began with Hunter saying the union would "spend as much time as we possibly need in the hopes of making a deal'' were abruptly halted when the NBA once again presented its scenario of a 50-50 BRI split. Upon leaving, Hunter said the union leaders "made it clear we could not sell a 50-50 deal to our membership.''
To which we say: Why not have a secret-ballot vote, just to be completely sure?
"I'm afraid of what the answer would be,'' one longtime NBA player agent told Newsday when asked the same question
This cuts to the heart of why owners have the leverage and why they're so quick to cancel the first full month of the season. Because while most people look at players as the spoiled rich athletes, the majority of them don't make enough to sustain their lifestyles without paychecks for very long.
And let's face it, they're not renting reasonable apartments and driving used Hondas. Neither would you if you were them. But with that comes the knowledge from everyone that these guys won't last a full season without paychecks. It's why people say "just accept the deal now, because it will only get worse." Owners know the players will cave because the majority of them just want to get paid again.
The KG's of the world can miss a season because he's made a ton of cash and he can spread his payments out for years. But Avery Bradley can't. And there are more Bradleys than Garnetts in the league.
At this point, it's in Billy Hunter's best interests to call Stern and say "let's split the difference." If the players come out of this with 51%, they should just be happy with it. I know they've given up a lot. Too much, in my opinion. But the circumstances dictate a change in strategy. It's like a the DA on Law & Order realizing he's losing the jury. It's time to make a deal.
Offer to split the difference on BRI if owners back off a little on outstanding luxury tax issues. Make the deal. End this, for everyone's sake.