NBA Players and Owners Still Miles Apart as Hopes for Season Dwindle

Both sides reportedly have problems with revenue split, escrow arrangements and several B-list items that have yet to be fully discussed.

Posted: 11/14/2011 09:43 AM EST
NBA lockout, National Basketball Players Association, David Stern

For those who are holding their breath in hopes of the NBA owners and players reaching an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement this week, you can exhale now.

 

The lockout will not end this week and the entire 2011-12 NBA season is in jeopardy.

 

After Sunday's negotiatiing session it seemed unlikely the players’ union executive board would even present the NBA’s latest proposal to its 450 members when it convened early Monday. And even if the union does present it to the players for ratification later Monday, observers say the players are likely to vote down the proposal from commissioner David Stern.

 

According to ESPN.com, the union's primary objection to the new deal is the unlimited escrow system being proposed. The owners would be able to pull from that account to offset the amount exceeded in players salaries based on a negotiated basketball-related income (BRI) revenue split.

 

Right now the players can choose between two options: a fixed 50-50 split of the BRI, or a flexible split that could vary between 49 and 51 percent, depending on revenues, according to the seven-page collective bargaining proposal ESPN.com obtained.

 

The problem is because if the owners spend more than the allotted percentage, they not only want to keep 10 percent of each salary held in escrow, but in addtition, if that number doesn’t completely cover the shortfall, then owners would be able to pull one percent of the BRI committed to post-career player annuity and player benefits. And the owners could also tap into the players' future benefits and escrow funds to make up for the loss.

 

In other words, the owners don’t ever lose in this scenario.

 

But according to Yahoo! Sports there are also some B-list issues, which are still being negotiated, that could kill the latest proposal on both sides.

 

The most troublesome issue is that the BRI split could shrink if the NBA contracts by two teams, as hinted at during, the 10-year life of this agreement. But there are apparently many other B-list issues like drug testing, developmental league assignments and draft-age eligibility that could derail Stern’s latest proposal if put to a vote.

 

It’s interesting because the Yahoo! Sports report indicates that the owners may push to stuff the latest proposal with B-list items they know the players won’t accept in hopes of the deal being voted down. The players may not be the only ones not on board with Stern’s latest proposal. His own constituents may not approve either because they desire more of a hard line on the salary cap and a bigger cut of the BRI.

 

“A lot of teams — more all the time — don’t like the deal on the table,” one high-ranking league official said to Yahoo! Sports.

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

(Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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