Lost In The Off-season Hype

By The Associated Press
Updated: July 2, 2010

NEW YORK — The NBA players’ union has sent a proposal for a new labor agreement to the league, an official with knowledge of the bargaining process said Friday.

The proposal was delivered Thursday, although no details were provided by the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the sides aren’t commenting publicly.

The NBA has been awaiting a counterproposal from the players since All-Star weekend. That’s when the league’s initial proposal was taken off the table after what union executive director Billy Hunter called a “contentious” 90-minute bargaining session in Dallas.

The union said the league’s proposal called for reductions in the length and amount of contracts, which would become only partially guaranteed. It also sought to greatly reduce the players’ share of basketball-related income from the 57 percent they currently receive.

The league hoped the counterproposal would come quickly, but Hunter made it clear that was doubtful. He said owners wanted a new deal in place before this summer’s highly anticipated free agency period opened, but the players were in no rush because they contend the current system is working.

“It’s going to be incumbent on the owners to try to convince us of the urgency of getting a deal between now and July 1,” Hunter said after the All-Star weekend session. “And the way they started, they made a false start and so what they did was they kind of set things back a bit.”

The current deal expires June 30, 2011.

Though both sides believe they can reach an agreement that would prevent a work stoppage, they are far apart on many issues. They will meet in the coming days to determine next season’s salary cap, but there are no bargaining sessions scheduled.

Commissioner David Stern has said the league would lose $400 million this season, a figure the union disputes. Owners haven’t seemed to be hurting for money in the early days of free agency, with players such as Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson both getting deals for more than $30 million, and Memphis giving Rudy Gay about $80 million.

News of the proposal was first reported by CBSSports.com.