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Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011

Players reject offer despite Stern's ultimatum

AP

NEW YORK — NBA players made it clear Tuesday: No deal.

News photo
No deal: NBA players' association president Derek Fisher speaks at a news conference in New York on Tuesday. AP

No fear of commissioner David Stern's ultimatum, either.

"The current offer on the table from the NBA is one that we cannot accept," players' association president Derek Fisher said.

Instead, the players said they would ask for another meeting with owners before Stern's Wednesday afternoon deadline — and sound willing to agree to a 50-50 split of revenues under the right circumstances — in an attempt to end the lockout and save the season.

The league's current proposal calls for players to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though union officials argue it would be nearly impossible to get above 50.2 percent.

"The players are clearly of the mind that it's an unacceptable proposal," union executive director Billy Hunter said. "But because of their commitment to the game and their desire to play, they're saying to us that we want you to go back, see if you can go back, get a better deal."

Players are willing to negotiate further on the revenue split if they get some concessions on the salary cap system. Without them, Fisher said "we don't see a way of getting a deal done between now and end of business Wednesday".

The league is seeking to limit the spending options of teams above the luxury tax threshold, believing that would lead to greater competitive balance. Players want all teams to be options for free agents.

If players don't take the deal by 5 p.m. Wednesday, the next offer will call for salary rollbacks, a 53-47 revenue split in the owners' favor and essentially a hard salary cap.

And, Hunter said he heard, games canceled through Christmas. NBA spokesman Mike Bass, however, said the league had nothing to announce about cancellations.

A month of the season has already been lost, and the NBA risks losing fans without an agreement soon. Some already appear to have forgotten: Blake Griffin, last season's rookie of the year, stood around in the lobby of a busy hotel off Broadway and was rarely approached by fans.

The players insisted they will not be forced into taking a bad deal by an ultimatum — though Stern refused to call it that.

"The players are saying that we understand their position, but unfortunately we're not intimidated by all that," Hunter said.

With more than 40 players ranging from All-Stars to minimum-salary players behind them, Fisher and Hunter dismissed Stern's warning, had hard words for Michael Jordan and repeated that they are willing to negotiate and believe they have made more than enough economic concessions to get the salary cap system they want.

Ex-Celtic Macauley dies

AP

St. Louis — Ed Macauley, one of the NBA's first big stars who won a championship with the St. Louis Hawks and was traded by the Boston Celtics for Bill Russell, has died. He was 83.

Saint Louis University announced Macauley's death on Tuesday. The school had no other details. "Easy Ed" was a standout player with the Billikens, leading them to the 1948 NIT title.

Macauley was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1960. A native of St. Louis, he was a territorial pick of that city's Basketball Association of America franchise, the Bombers. He played there for one season and then was selected by the Celtics in a 1950 dispersal draft.

Macauley played for the Celtics from the 1950-51 season until 1955-56. He and the draft rights to future Hall of Famer Cliff Hagan were traded by Boston to the St. Louis Hawks on April 29, 1956, for the rights to Russell, a move that changed the power structure of the NBA.



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