NBA players' union president Derek Fisher and chief Billy Hunter told reporters Wednesday that a proposal floated by league owners on Tuesday would cost players $7 billion over the next 10 years and amounts to the creation of a "hard salary cap." CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that player reps from all 30 teams had been scheduled to meet Thursday in New York to discuss the NBA's most recent proposal ahead a Friday bargaining session. Players could begin to look at legal options to fight a lockout by owners.
Hunter released another detail from the NBA's proposal: owners sought to keep $160 million in 2010-11 salary withheld from players via an escrow system in a new deal. This is salary already earned by players, but kept in reserve until the end of the season in case total player payroll exceeds 57 percent of the league's revenue. If it doesn't -- and it didn't -- that money goes to players. If payroll does exceed the threshold, team owners split the pot.
The NBA's plan would have split the pot despite the current system calling for it to go to players.
NBA owners plan to meet Tuesday in Dallas to discuss the path forward. The current collective bargaining agreement is scheduled to expire a week from Thursday, with a potential lockout to begin July 1.
The NBA lost 32 regular season games and All-Star Weekend in a lockout in 1998 and 1999. The league avoided a similar fate in 2005 by finalizing a new CBA in the hours before the expiration of the 1999 deal. (Free agency was actually delayed about a week in 2005 because the league cut it so close.)