It’s been a couple weeks since we had heard from other members of the NBA Player’s Association executive committee besides Derek Fisher, but now other members are speaking out as more than the first two weeks of games are now being threatened.
Among them, San Antonio Spurs big man Matt Bonner, who told ESPN that’s he unsure a 50-50 BRI (Basketball Related Income) split was ever offered up by the player’s chief negotiator, Jeffery Kessler.
“Union vice president and Spurs forward Matt Bonner says ‘Kessler definitely didn’t offer 50/50. There’s no way.”
Bonner points out that it had been a “huge ordeal” to persuade players to agree to take only 53 percent, after a dozen years of earning 57.
“That was a huge point of contention. Talking to all these veterans and All-Stars, they were upset we went down to 53. We had to sell them on that. I’m pretty certain Kessler didn’t have the authority to offer 50, and nobody in the room would have agreed to that.”
Well crap. This article is a must read for anyone trying to grasp on the lockout and how the negotiations work.
In it, ESPN writes that a 50-50 offer was floated by Kessler in a previous meeting. That offer was then presented to Kessler and Derek Fisher by David Stern and Adam Silver. Stern, convinced he could sway the owners to agree to the split, retreated with Silver to their conference room. Then, ESPN writes, Fisher, Kessler and NBA heavyweights Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett a Paul Pierce knocked on the door to inform the owners that 50-50 split wasn’t good enough and there was nothing left to discuss.
Well crap again. Between Bonner’s quote and the rest of the story, I’d say the only thing that can get this resolved soon is meeting with the federal mediator both sides agreed to speak to this coming Tuesday. Will it work? Who knows, but more importantly I’m now wondering who’s running negotiations from the player’s side. And why are Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant being speaking for the players? This new deal will barely affect them. If I were another superstar, say Chris Paul, who will definitely be in the league for the duration of this CBA and sits on the NBAPA executive committee, I would ask the older vets to ease off a little.
Either way, here’s hoping federal mediator George Cohen can help bridge this gulf the owners and players have allowed themselves to dive back in to.