Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“We’ve been given the ultimatum,” union president Derek Fisher said, “and our answer is, that’s not acceptable to us.”
Union officials scoffed at Stern’s depiction of the proposal, saying the commissioner is merely trying to “strong-arm” the players into accepting a bad deal.
If the players don’t agree by Wednesday to accept the proposal – which Stern described as including a revenue split that could give the players as much as 51 percent and as little as 49 percent – then the owners’ new offer would drop to 47 percent of basketball-related income for the players and include a “flex” salary cap.
Derek Fisher needs to take this offer back to the players and let them vote. Set aside your ego. It's time to let the rank-and-file decide. When compared with the last CBA, yes, it's awful. But let's look at the bright side.
Nonetheless, the players now find themselves at a crossroads that could determine whether there is a 2011-12 season by Wednesday. Can Fisher and Hunter, notably absent from the post-meeting news conference as Kessler fanned the flames, determine whether they can sell essentially a 50-50 deal to more than half the union membership? A deal with no hard cap, with guaranteed contracts, with mid-level deals scaled back mostly for tax-paying teams, and with salaries rising to nearly $3 billion in 10 years despite an initial 12 percent reduction?
For what it's worth, NFL players can only dream of a cap-less system and guaranteed contracts.
Meanwhile, the union decertification option continues to gain momentum:
Decertification by no means guarantees success for the players, but the prospect of taking this dispute to the courts injects a level of uncertainty into proceedings that they believe makes the league side nervous after it held virtually 100 percent of the leverage to this point. Fear of the unknown and all that. “Decertification is risky and messy [for the players],” says one backer, “but it’s the only thing that scares the owners. Because then they lose total control.”
Decertification may give them some momentum, but it blows up the entire process. Could the players have taken this vote months ago, and wielded it as an option during every negotiating session? If players go this route, public sentiment may sway against them. Right now, the owners are the guys wearing the black hats.
My message to the players: Take the deal. Trot out Derek Fisher and have him say, "Although we believe this CBA to be unfair, we agreed to the terms in order to save basketball. Unlike the owners, we value our fans. Without them, this game would not be a multi-billion dollar business."
The rest of the links:
Globe – With players about to lose pay, this could be a key checkpoint | CSNNE – NBA presents offer, deadline | NBA TV – Derek Fisher press conference