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Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011

Source: NBA refusing to budge on 50-50 deal

AP

NEW YORK — The NBA players' association wanted a meeting and said the league would grant one — under one condition.

Just agree first to a 50-50 split of revenues.

Players already rejected that offer once. The league confirmed it wasn't moving beyond that number but wanted to meet about other issues, and it said the union wasn't interested.

All that matters: An on-time start to the NBA season now seems even less likely.

Commissioner David Stern has said the league will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if the sides can't reach a labor agreement by Monday, and it now appears the sides won't even talk before then.

According to a person close to the union, players were seeking a session before the deadline, but were told it came with a precondition of agreeing to the 50-50 revenue split.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because talks are being kept private, said the union would go on with plans to meet with players Saturday in Miami, where a number of All-Stars are playing in a charity game, and Monday in Los Angeles.

The league discussed a 50-50 split with union officials Tuesday, but talks broke down soon after it was rejected. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball-related income under the previous collective bargaining agreement and have proposed lowering it to 53 percent in a new deal.

No further talks have been scheduled, and union executive director Billy Hunter has said it could be a month or two before the sides meet again. And while there had been no formal discussions since Tuesday, there was an expectation they would try to talk sometime before the end of the weekend.

"We told the union today that we were willing to meet as early as Sunday," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. "We also advised them that we were unwilling to move above the 50-50 split of revenues that was discussed between the parties on Tuesday but that we wanted to meet with them to discuss the many remaining open issues. The union declined."

If things don't change, the NBA will have its first shortened season since the 1998-99 schedule was reduced to 50 games by a work stoppage. The entire preseason schedule already has been scrapped.

Each BRI percentage point is worth about $40 million, so the sides are some $120 million apart in the first year of a deal, with the union proposing 53 percent and the league suggesting the 50-50 split.



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