John Minchillo, Associated Press
MIAMI — Decision day for NBA players may have arrived. And on the eve of perhaps the biggest meeting of the lockout, the league took its talking points to the players and public.
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.
And the loudest voice telling them to take it is David Stern's.
The NBA commissioner sent a memo to players Sunday urging them to "study our proposal carefully, and to accept it as a fair compromise of the issues between us."
In the memo, posted on the league's website, Stern highlights points of the deal and asks players to focus on the compromises the league has made during negotiations, such as dropping its demands for a hard salary cap, non-guaranteed contracts and salary rollbacks.
"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.
But first, the NBA tried reaching the masses directly Sunday night.
Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver went on Twitter 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.
Next came a 92-second video the NBA posted to YouTube, which showed projections for a $7.7 million average salary for players in the 10th year of the current proposed deal and even had a hypothetical breakdown of what a team may look like in 2013-14, with a "superstar" making $17 million, an "All-Star" making $14 million, other starters making between $8-10 million and with a total payroll of about $77 million.
That projection means team payrolls will in theory top $115 million by the proposed deal's end, which could come 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."
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