Deadline passes; NBA labor talks drag on
NEW YORK — As commissioner David Stern's deadline passed, the NBA and its players continued negotiating Wednesday in an attempt to end the lockout.
As of early last night, the sides had met for more than six hours to try to hash out a deal to save the season.
Stern had issued an ultimatum to players: Accept the league's latest proposal by 5 p.m. yesterday, or it will be replaced with a much harsher one that would drive the sides even farther apart. Players said Tuesday they wouldn't accept the current proposal as configured and suggested another negotiation session.
The current offer calls for players to receive between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though union officials said it would be impossible to get above 50.2 percent. Players were guaranteed 57 percent under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
The next proposal would call for a 53-47 revenue split in the owners' favor, essentially a hard salary cap and salary rollbacks, which the league originally sought but had taken off the table. Both proposals were sent to union executive director Billy Hunter on Sunday.
The meeting, featuring small groups from both sides, was arranged yesterday morning. Attorney Jeffrey Kessler took part along with other union negotiators, hours after saying he regretted telling the Washington Post that owners are treating players like "plantation workers" during the lockout. He planned to call Stern to apologize.