NEW YORK (AP) — NBA players broke off negotiations with the league Thursday night, saying there had not been enough progress to get a deal done to end the lockout.
The league offered the players a revised offer after nearly 11 hours of bargaining, but union president Derek Fisher said it doesn't address all the necessary system issues that are important to the players.
"It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to try and close this thing out, and so at this point we've decided to end things for now, take a step back," Fisher said. "We'll go back as an executive committee, as a board, confer with our player reps and additional players over the next few days. Then we'll make decisions about what our next steps will be at that point."
The new offer was based upon the possibility of a 72-game season, starting Dec. 15.
"This is the best attempt"
NBA Commissioner David Stern said there's really nothing left to negotiate.
"There comes a time when you have to be thru negotiating, and we are," he said. "This is the best attempt by the labor relations committee and therefore the NBA to address the concerns that the players expressed coming out of their meeting of the player representatives."
Hunter said they would try to bring the player representatives to New York by Monday or Tuesday to decide what the next step is, and whether the current offer is acceptable.
"It's not the greatest proposal in the world, but I have an obligation to at least present it to our membership and so that's what we're going to do," Hunter said.
League hopes for 72-game schedule
Stern said he didn't expect the players to like every aspect of the revised proposal, saying there were many teams, too, who don't like aspects of the revised offer.
Regardless, it will be better for players than the one that Stern had waiting: a 53-47 split of revenues in the owners' favor, a flex cap with a hard ceiling, and salary rollbacks.
Stern would not speculate on how players would react to the deal.
"I would not presume to project or predict what the union would do," he said. "I can hope and my hope is the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule starting on Dec. 15."
Beyond the salary cap system issues that divide the sides, union executive director Billy Hunter said there were six pages of what he called ancillary items, such as the draft age and the commissioner's disciplinary rights, that still must be addressed before a deal.
"There's not enough progress to get a deal done," Fisher said. "That's the disappointing part. We want to get back on the court."
The union had nearly its entire executive committee in attendance, with Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter joined by players Chris Paul, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason Jr., Keyon Dooling, Theo Ratliff, Etan Thomas, Matt Bonner; attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner, and economist Kevin Murphy. Management stuck with the same small group as Wednesday: Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee, and attorneys Rick Buchanan and Dan Rube.
"It's been a long haul," Hunter said.