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Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011
NBA says union proposed end of cap
NEW YORK — The NBA players' association, not Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, proposed the elimination of the salary cap during negotiations aimed at ending months of labor strife, a league official said Tuesday.
NBA senior vice president Mike Bass said union executive director Billy Hunter made "several misstatements" during an hourlong podcast with ESPN.com on Monday. Among them was the revelation of the salary cap plan, which Bass said was actually an exception to the cap, not the elimination of it.
Hunter said that, during a meeting last week, Cuban proposed what he called a "game changer" — a plan to replace the salary cap with a heavy tax for teams that spent to a certain level. Hunter said the players were interested in discussing it further and that two or three other owners in the room were really excited about it, but then were told by the owners they wouldn't pursue it.
"On behalf of the league, Mark Cuban proposed adding a new salary cap exception, not eliminating the salary cap," Bass said. "It was the union that, in response, proposed eliminating the salary cap, a proposal that was even worse for the NBA than the union's prior proposals."
Hunter speculated during the podcast that owners backed away from the idea of eliminating the salary cap because it had been implemented under commissioner David Stern long ago.
"And so I don't know whether there's any pushback because of that," Hunter said. "But we were prepared to pursue that whole idea of going into a different direction, where we would be able to, wouldn't have to worry about a cap. So the exceptions, salaries, all of that would be, there would be no limit with the exception of there being obviously a cap at the top, i.e., a quite heavy tax that teams would have to confront if they went above a certain number.
"But what happened was the owners decided, at least the leaders of their delegation, decided they had to take it back in a different direction."