If you thought the 50/50 split or else ultimatum was bad, just wait until after the players reject that offer this week. Hawkish NBA team owners, according to CBS Sports, will push to reduce the players’ share of the BRI to 47%, and ask to take back some of the guaranteed salary money. Yikes: “I think, at the end of the day, this group (of hard-line owners) said, ‘OK, we will let you do it your way up until Wednesday,’ a person in contact with ownership told CBSSports.com Monday. If the players didn’t accept by Wednesday, those owners would say, ‘We do a deal on our terms,’ the person said. In addition to a 47 percent share of revenues for the players and a flex cap, those terms also would include a relinquishing of guaranteed contracts and a rollback of existing salaries, sources familiar with the hard-line owners’ position said. The deal on the table for the players to accept by Wednesday includes a 50-50 split of revenues, which a significant number of mid-level players are believed to be amenable to and which superstar Kobe Bryant also would be willing to accept, SI.com reported. The proposal includes a band of 49-51 percent for the players, which union attorney Jeffrey Kessler characterized Sunday morning as “a fraud” because revenues would have to explode with 20 percent annual growth for the players ever to receive 51 percent. The union has proposed a 51-49 split in favor of the players, with 1 percent going to benefits for retired players. It seems unlikely that the union would accept the current deal and recommend it to the players for a vote before Wednesday, but members of the executive committee were scheduled to speak Monday afternoon on a conference call to plot their next move ahead of a mandatory meeting of all 30 player reps Tuesday in New York. Union leaders’ key objections center around system issues that they feel league negotiators did not go far enough in addressing during the most recent round of bargaining that led to Sunday morning’s ultimatum. As ESPN.com reported, union negotiators feel that with a few tweaks to the remaining unresolved system issues, they would feel more comfortable recommending the proposal for a vote rather than risk having the process co-opted by radicals on both sides. A successful decertification movement combined with the hard-line owners taking over with their 47 percent offer would throw the talks into chaos and imperil the entire 2011-12 season.”
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