Reporting Tim Kephart
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NEW YORK (CBSMiami.com) – The 5 p.m. deadline for the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association to strike a deal has come and gone.
But, the onset of a NBA nuclear winter has not come just yet.
Negotiators from the NBA and the NBPA are meeting Wednesday evening to try and avert a complete disaster and a likely lost NBA season.
The NBPA has rejected the owners’ latest offer, which had system issues that the players said were non-starters.
The owners are threatening to pull the offer of a 50/50 split with the players if a deal isn’t struck by 5 p.m.
Part of the problem in the labor negotiations has been union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who said Tuesday that the owners are treating players like “plantation workers.” NBA commissioner David Stern sternly rebuked Kessler’s comment.
But Kessler has been a thorn in the side of collective bargaining agreements before.
During the NFL lockout, lawyers from both sides, including Kessler, threatened to derail any possible agreement. More things were negotiated and accomplished without the lawyers in the room than with them for the NFL.
The two sides are meeting Wednesday to see if they can finally settle the system issues that continue to threaten the season.
The two biggest sticking points remain the mid-level exception, which tax paying teams use to surround stars with quality role players, and sign & trade proposals, which have been used less than five times in the previous CBA.
If a deal isn’t struck by 5:00 p.m., the owners will more than likely withdraw the current offer and replace it with an offer the players will completely refuse without any negotiation.
The owners’ new proposal would have a 47/53 split of BRI favoring owners, a hard salary cap, rollback on existing contract, among other items.
The NBPA would likely respond by beginning the process of decertifying the union and sending the case to federal court on anti-trust grounds. Once the NBA players move to the court system, it could take months or years to clear the entire process up.
Unlike the NFL lockout, both sides in the NBA lockout completely despise each other. There is no give and take from each side.
The NBA players have given up roughly $300 million per year over the course of a deal, but the owners still want more.
The NBA claims it’s losing $300 million annually, which begs the question, what exactly do the owners want?
The owners have won the game, but now they are in a full-court press in the fourth quarter trying to run up the score.
Miami Heat fans had better hope that a deal is struck because if the Big Three of the Miami Heat lose an entire season, it will further close the small window the team has to seriously compete for an NBA championship.