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.
With the owners threatening to revert back to a draconian offer without a deal soon and with the players threatening union decertification, the proposal could be the best, final chance to save much of the NBA season. Stern said the offer – which includes a 50-50 revenue split for the players and owners – was made in the context the season would begin on Dec. 15 and have 72 games. The start of the playoffs and NBA Finals would each be pushed back a week under the revised schedule.
Some in the union were frustrated with the union waiting until early next week to gather the player representatives back in New York, but there was a sense the players would still be too raw over how little the owners amended their offer to quickly sign off on it. Several players privately expressed frustration with the union’s leadership.
“Why do they keep scrambling us to New York for these meetings when they never listen to us?” one player representative told Yahoo! Sports. “We told them not to go past 53 percent. They did. We told them we’re not taking this deal. Why waste our time?”
“There comes a time when you have to be through negotiating,” Stern said, “and we are.”
Despite all the optimism on Twitter and even one short-lived report of an agreement yesterday afternoon, we are right back at square one.
The union views the latest offer as another crap sandwich. CBS Sports' Ken Berger describes it as "one that shifts $3 billion over 10 years from the players to the owners and also dramatically restricts the rules governing team payrolls, player contracts and player movement."
Fisher and Hunter are frustrated they can't get a fair offer. Player reps are frustrated that Hunter and Fisher won't listen to them. Fans and media are frustrated the union is waiting until Monday to flush this out.
I've questioned the union's competence from day one. They never seemed to have a plan. They completely underestimated the owners. They never adopted a public relations strategy. A majority of fans and media are on their side. Yet, they are unable to capitalize on that favortism. Billy Hunter says he's been preparing for years for this lockout. How so? By picking out new suits?
On Page 2, more analysis of the numbers from Ken Berger.
Despite the losses incurred by the players, not the least of which is an average $300 million-a-year giveback that absolves all the losses the league said it was suffering, the union did preserve several system provisions that would evaporate if the league reverted to its 47 percent proposal next week. Among the most important items, the union fought off the league's attempt to impose a hard team salary cap and maintained the structure of max contracts. And although the players would give back $3 billion over 10 years, with a conservative estimate of 4.5 percent annual revenue growth, player salaries would grow to nearly $3 billion by the 10th year of the deal.
And while salaries and benefits would stay flat at approximately $2.17 billion for the first two years of the deal, that provision would allow the league to keep the salary cap ($58 million) and luxury-tax level ($70 million) unchanged until adjustments for the new system would take hold in the third year.
Got all that?
Expect the union to drop the decertification hammer on Monday. That will put the ball back in the owners' court. And as usual, we'll all be sitting on our hands.
The rest of the links:
ESPN – NBA, union conclude talks Thursday | True Hoop – Nothing left to yell about | CBS – Bill Russell says hardliners ruining NBA | Sheridan Hoops – Lockout talks end, clock to remain stopped | CSNNE – Friday FTs: Pierce and the KG effect |