The “Final-Best” Offer

Last week the NBA and NBPA decided, somewhat reluctantly, to give negotiating one more shot. Lets go back to when Federal Mediator George Cohen made a few “what ifs” as both parties like to call them. The mediator proposed a few fixes that seemed to meet the 5 or 6 main issues of the lockout in the middle. The NBA decided to adopt a few of those “what ifs” and put them in their proposal to the NBPA. If that offer wasn’t accepted by the NBPA then a “reset offer” would be placed on the table.

This reset offer was said to contain a proposal of a 53-47 percent BRI split going the owners way, a flex cap with no exceptions for the players, and a steep lux tax penalty system. The players steadily objected this offer. There were calls for decertification once again; however, a portion of the players said that they’d accept the offer as if.

“We can’t take 50/50 and a bad system.” Kevin Durant stated at a charity game this past weekend. I don’t blame him either. The players will be accepting a terrible deal if they take this one; the owners have backed them down into a corner. They’ve been bullied and made so many concessions at this point, I don’t think that it would be fair if the players took this deal. The thing is they don’t have many other options.

Decertification is one, but they’ll lose more money if they take that option. Via his twitter account, @chadfordinsider, ESPN insider Chad Ford stated that the players would have a slim chance of winning an antitrust lawsuit in court.

Your clients all lose money they’ll never get back by missing games 2. The league’s offer is about to get worse (no, it’s not a bluff),The changes of winning an anti-trust suit via decertification against the league is slim and finally,The union has already given away $3 billion, the remaining issues only impact a very small # of players. Losing season affects everyone. I agree league’s offer is one-sided & even unfair. But what’s your best alternative to this deal? I don’t see one.

I can’t disagree with those points. They’re all valid.

“50/50 is fine, we want to ball.” I can imagine many rank and file players saying this. They need that paycheck, they need this money. They have families to take care of. This is it.

The NBPA then decided to meet and they came up with a solution. A 50/50 split was fine, but the owners needed to make concessions on some of the system issues. Fine, the NBA says. They meet on Thursday. No deal. They decide to meet once again on Friday.

After the meeting, Billy Hunter stated: “This isn’t the best proposal.” He and Derek Fisher both stated their obvious disliking of this proposal and after reading over it I can’t really blame them. You can read the proposalright here per USA today. This is a ridiculous offer that some players, honestly, will be willing to accept.

There were a few subjects that were instantly visible to me. Keep in mind that all of this is after the players have made up for the losses of the owners from the past CBA. Take note that there will still be a soft salary cap. The tax levels will be no less than they were in the 2010-2011 season. That means that it can increase over the years. This is still under the 50/50 split also; essentially this will create an increase in cap space.

There are many exceptions in this deal, but what sticks out the most is this very peculiar mid level exception rule. There are different sets of rules for tax payers and non tax payers. A non tax paying team will be able to use a $5M MLE and it will grow annually 3% throughout its life. Each year this exception alternates between 3 and 4 years per deal. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have the tax payer. This is your Laker team or your Heat team. They only get a $3M MLE over a 3 year contract. It increases 3% each year anually. This will make these teams less appealing to your middle class NBA talent.

For example, this would make Dallas a totally unappealing place for Tyson Chandler, who was that last piece to their championship puzzle. No more are the days where you can use this exception to add an extra piece to a championship caliber team. Once you reach that pinnacle, you must play the cards that you are dealt year after year.

Another issue for me was the tax payer’s penalty. It increases for every 5 million dollars that you spend after the 3rd year of the life of this CBA. A team that spends 10-15 million over the cap will have a 2.50-1 dollar penalty for each dollar that they spend over the cap. Also, for repeat tax offenders, there will be a dollar increase in their penalty. If you spend 10-15 million over the cap for 2 consecutive years your penalty changes to 3.50 instead of 2.50.

The Minimum player salary will decrease by 12% and also the rookie wage scale will decrease from 300% to 250% or 250% to 200% depending on your slot.

There are lots of decreases and pay cuts for the players in this. These things will definitley deter some of the tax paying teams from doing what they do best.

The players want their opportunities to move and get paid; the owners are restricting their rights as players. They aren’t going to like this deal and I don’t think they’ll accept it. Some say this is worst than the proposal that was first put on the table.

I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of covering this. I’m not an economics major, all of these terms are like a foreign language to me. I’m ready to get back to hooping, I know we all are. The only bright spot in this situation is that Stern says if this offer is accepted then we will have a 72 game season starting on December 15th. I doubt that this will be accepted but lets keep our fingers crossed.

I’ve lost all of my optimism in this crazy lockout enviroment. Both sides are corrupting basketball, and I hate it. The sport I love, that we love, is being taken away from us because of money. We are being deprived of our pride and joy. Basketball makes my world go round; the world is shaped like a basketball (Thanks Brandon Jennings). Let the ball bounce, let the net swish. Let these guys play.

Michael Sykes is a writer for the SportsBlogMovement. Go to sportsblogmovement.com to find out more.

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