After the NBA owners issued an offer that acted as an ultimatum for the players union, I was hopeful that the lockout would soon end. It seemed that the players were running out of leverage and would soon give in to the offer that the owners were suggesting. On Tuesday afternoon, the players union met again to go over the most recent proposal by the owners....and they rejected it.
David Stern and the owners set Wednesday at 5 PM as the deadline for the players to accept the 50-50 offer. If the players were not to accept the offer (which they didn't), Stern claimed that the owners would drop the offer to 47-53. Player's rep, Billy Hunter, spoke about the ultimatum in today's press conference:
"We're aware of who the hard-line teams are. We understand their position, but not intimidated by that...we're prepared to negotiate."
The general consensus from the players side was that they have made sufficient compromises on the economic issues and are now expected the owners to compromise on system changes. They cite the sign-and-trade and tax cliff (among others) as the main issues that were satisfactory in the most recent offer.
The players expressed that they want to continue to negotiate with the owners and will try to meet again before the Wednesday deadline. It remains to be seen whether the owners' ultimatum was a bluff or not. If the offer does indeed drop from 50 to 47, the players union may have to pursue decertification. Hunter suggested that game could be cancelled through Christmas if the two sides do not come to an agreement on Wednesday. Decertification would set this back even further.
This sucks. I want basketball. I miss Byron Scott's weird mustache and crossed arms. I want to hear Austin Carr's signature calls. Get a freaking deal done already. Love, Conrad.