The young Minnesota Timberwolves are still not close to hitting the court and tapping into all of that potential thanks to the NBA labor negotiations on Saturday evening that failed to produce a deal to end the lockout.
The NBA owners and players met for over eight hours on Saturday, with federal mediator George Cohen trying to help, before David Stern was credited with ending the session in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Stern brought discussions to a close with an ultimatum for the players to agree to the tweaked deal the owners put on the table Saturday or see that deal pulled for a far less favorable deal for the players along with the threat of closing shop for the season.
Here are more details according to Yahoo! Sports:
If the players don't agree by Wednesday to accept the proposal - which Stern described as including a revenue split that could give the players as much as 51 percent and as little as 49 percent - then the owners' new offer would drop to 47 percent of basketball-related income for the players and include a "flex" salary cap.
"We want to allow the union enough time to consider our most recent proposal, and we are hopeful that they will accept," Stern said, after acknowledging Kessler had already rejected the offer.
So the two sides physically moved closer to a deal with the owners proposing giving the players a 51% cut, although designating 1% of that for retired player pensions. But emotionally the sides remain miles apart, which was apparent in a post-meeting outburst from players' lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler.
"The players will not be intimidated," attorney Jeffrey Kessler said early Sunday after eight hours of negotiations stretched late into the night. "They want to play, they want a season, but they are not going to sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening on Derek Fisher's watch; it's not happening on Billy Hunter's watch; it's not happening on the watch of this executive committee."
The two sides will meet again on Wednesday and we'll find out if the owners offer was truly a take-it-or-leave-it proposition since it appears the union will not be taking it. Meanwhile, player decertification remains in play on the union side against the counter of canceling the season on the owners side.
Yep, Saturday was not a good day for the NBA.