NEW YORK — NBA players are facing a Wednesday afternoon deadline to accept the league’s current proposal or face a harsher one that calls for rolling back their salaries, and Commissioner David Stern said Monday “the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal.”
“We think that there’s a great offer on the table, and what we told the players is it’s getting late, the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal because given what’s going on in our business and our industry, it’ll get worse from there,” Stern said during an interview on ESPN.
That proposal calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though players argue it would be nearly impossible for them to get anywhere above 50.2. Stern said the next one will call for a 53-47 split in the owners’ favor, along with essentially a hard salary cap.
The second proposal also calls for “existing contracts rolled back in proportion to system changes in order to ensure sufficient market for free agents,” a person who has been briefed on its contents told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contents were supposed to remain private.
The league had sought to roll back existing contracts to conform to a new collective bargaining agreement during an earlier proposal, but had since taken it off the table.
Stern set the deadline early Sunday morning after owners and players met for more than eight hours with federal mediator George Cohen. Owners have been insistent on not going beyond a 50-50 split of revenues, though some would prefer the league had already demanded the 53-47 split.
League officials said they lost $300 million last season, when players were guaranteed 57 percent of BRI. Stern said the league believes it can profit at 50-50 with expanded revenue sharing among its teams.