"The owners believe that the system modifications that we have requested make a lot of sense to make sure that our teams are both competitive and profitable," Stern said today. "We have modified our proposal to a 'flex cap' where there is a targeted salary but teams can go above it and a minimum below, which is more flexible than our last offer. The (owners) committee met for a long time alone and decided to make what we think is a very significant offer to the players in order to avoid a work stoppage."
Players Association representatives and NBPA director Billy Hunter reiterated their refusal to accept a hard salary cap, which would limit guaranteed salaries, reduce salaries league-wide and shrink players basketball related income. The question is whether the players view this new proposal as a hard salary cap disguised by semantics, and it appears they do.
"So far there hasn't been much movement at all," Players Association President Derek Fisher said. "It's been characterized in different ways but essentially they want to create a hard salary cap. We just don't see for the reasons we've been given as being necessary. We feel that teams have shown the ability to be creative and pay the guys that they want to play and not pay the guys they don't want to pay. We feel they should have the opportunity independently and be able to run their businesses they way they see fit."
When asked if the players would accept any deal with a hard salary cap, Fisher said, "No."
The NBA Board of Governors has a scheduled meeting next Tuesday in Dallas, which they could vote to institute a lockout.