MIAMI — Decision day for NBA players may have arrived.
The players' association will meet in New York on Monday morning, a session that could lead to the end of the lockout or send it into a bigger tailspin. Representatives from all 30 teams are expected, as are other players, to examine and discuss a seven-page summary of the NBA's latest collective bargaining proposal to the union.
The proposal, which was obtained by The Associated Press, was dated Friday and addressed to union executive director Billy Hunter. Some who will be in the NBPA meeting said Sunday they had not yet seen it, creating some confusion over what exactly is on the table.
"We haven't asked for anything more than what we had," Miami player representative James Jones said Sunday. "We understand the times. We understand the economy. We just want a fair deal where both sides are bearing the weight of the present times and with an eye on the future of the game of basketball."
Sounds so simple. But it's not.
By Monday, things could finally become clear — because this union meeting may decide if basketball will be played this season.
In an unusual twist, Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver went on Twitter on Sunday night and talked everything from contraction (which has been discussed) to sending players to the D-League at slashed salaries (which isn't in the proposal).
Among those asking: Miami's Dwyane Wade and Philadelphia's Spencer Hawes. One of Hawes' questions was "since we have covered all of your alleged losses(and more)why am I not getting ready for a game tonight." The league said it disagreed with the premise.
Wade asked, "why are all your "system solutions" only impacting the PLAYERS?? What have the owners (given) up of significance??" The NBA responded, "The economics & system favored the players in prior CBA," then again said team losses topped $300 million last season.
Someone asked if the league would consider replacement players. The answer: "Our goal is a season with our current players." Another wanted to know if contracts would become void if the NBPA decertifies, and the league said yes.
Some project that team payrolls will exceed $100 million in about five years, even to the chagrin of many owners. On Saturday, Stern said again if the current offer is rejected, a harsher one — where owners would keep about another $120 million of basketball related income annually, along with other system issues players didn't want — will take its place.
"We're not going to cancel the season this week," Stern said. "We're just going to present them what we told them we would."
The NBA wants a 72-game season to begin Dec. 15. For that to happen, a handshake deal would be needed this week, given that Stern said it will take about 30 days to get the season after an agreement is reached.
There are 17 topics in the memo, including how teams paying a luxury tax cannot acquire free agents in sign-and-trade deals after the 2012-13 season. One of the key points comes on Page 5, where the NBA says "there will be no limitations on a player's ability to receive 100% guaranteed salary in all seasons of a contract."
Players have repeatedly said they will reject any deal without guaranteed contracts.
"I'm going to sit down take a look at the deal and analyze it," Minnesota player rep Anthony Tolliver said Sunday, the lockout's 136th day. "Not like it's the first offer or the last offer, but just as one where I'll say 'Would I or my teammates want to play under these conditions?'"
Among the other points outlined in the summary sent to Hunter by Silver:
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