Players Union Note Sticking Points in Proposal

The NBA players’ union requested the weekend to examine the owners’ latest proposal. The feedback as of Sunday night: Not good.

The players union executive committee met for two hours Sunday night to examine the proposal before deciding whether to present it to all 400-some players for ratification Monday. The committee will first meet with player reps Monday morning, but one of the new wrinkles that the committee is finding difficult to accept, sources said, is an unlimited escrow system.

The escrow system would assure that owners would be reimbursed for however much they exceed the negotiated amount of basketball-related income allowed to be spent on player salaries.

In the current seven-page proposal, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN The Magazine, the players have a choice of selecting a 50-50 split of BRI or a 49-51 band.

If teams spend more than the allotted percentage, they not only retain the 10 percent of each salary held in escrow, but if that 10 percent doesn’t cover the excess then the additional funds can be deducted from a one percent of BRI dedicated to “post-career player annuity and player benefits.”

If the excess still hasn’t been satisfied, future benefits and escrow funds can be utilized to cover it. In essence, it assures the owners that no matter how much they spend in any one season, they will not have to pay more than the stated percentage.

Another source of contention from the players side, according to sources, are triggers that would implement a hard cap on any non-taxpaying teams that use an exception to sign a player.

With reports of player dissatisfaction and a growing push to decertify the union coming out shortly after the owners’ latest proposal was presented, the league office has made a concerted effort to address some of the hottest topics. One such issue is a clause that would give teams the right to send players down to its developmental league and pay them at a drastically reduced scale.

Source: ESPN