Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said the union is bracing for a lockout after the season in the following statement regarding collective bargaining:
The position expressed by the NBA [Thursday] is regretful, since in February 2010, the players unequivocally rejected the owners’ proposal which called for a hard cap, a 40 percent rollback in player salaries, unlimited expense deductions and the elimination of guaranteed contracts. The players and the union would prefer to work towards attaining a fair deal that addresses concerns raised by both sides and improves the game. But, if the owners maintain their position it will inevitably result in a lockout and the cancellation of part or all of the 2011-2012 season. The players and union will prepare accordingly.
NBA commissioner David Stern dismissed the union statement on a conference call Friday to discuss the start of the season, calling it part of “classic negotiating rhetoric” from both sides.
“I don’t believe Billy wrote that because he wouldn’t threaten me with a lockout,” Stern said. “And all I can say about that is it’s part of negotiations.”
Stern said the league needs a rollback in salaries of $750-800 million in the new agreement. Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference Thursday following the Board of Governors meetings. Click here for recap.