NBA Commissioner David Stern says the union’s offer to consider reducing players’ share of revenue is ”not really much of a concession” because other parts of its proposal will raise costs.
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”At the bottom, it would probably be more expensive than our current way we do things,” Stern told reporters before an ESPN event Thursday. ”It’s a continuation of the current economic system but with additional exceptions that would probably allow us to spend more than we currently do.”
The players association offered to negotiate a reduction in the players’ guarantee of 57 percent of basketball revenues, which Stern has said is a key element in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. But the union also proposed to make trades less restricted by the salary cap and add a second midlevel exception.
”In its totality, without regards to whether there’s a guarantee or not, it could reasonably be expected to raise the amount that the players get,” Stern said.
Stern has said the league wants to cut salary costs by $700 million to $800 million annually, a reduction of almost 40 percent. A potential lockout looms if a deal isn’t reached before the current CBA expires June 30.
Stern acknowledged the two sides’ formal proposals were ”very far apart.” But he insisted that didn’t mean a lockout was inevitable.
”There’s plenty of precedent, depending on how hard people are going to work,” he said.