You might remember earlier this week when we reported that Paul Pierce was working on his 7-10 split in his basement. That apparently wasn’t the only split that he was working on.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Pierce led a charge of some 50 NBA players interested in decertifying the NBPA, which would throw any progress that has been made between the players and owners into the trash and force everyone to start over.
Remarkably, LeBron James’ name didn’t come up at all during the piece. He’s probably too busy working on his seven-yard outs to notice.
The major issue at hand continues to be the Basketball-Related Income (BRI), of which the players received 57% of under the previous collective bargaining agreement, but owners (especially small-market ones) won’t go above 50-50 this time around.
Still, Pierce and his co-conspirators are willing to accept the 50% BRI if it means that all “open system issues” (including mid-level exceptions and other salary cap issues) go the players’ way. If they don’t, however, the NBA and the Players’ Association should prepare for the worst.
“We’re beyond frustrated with the concessions that have already been made,” one source on the calls said. “If the union gives in on the [basketball-related income] split and the open system issues don’t go to the players side, decertification may be the next step.”
Thirty percent of the union members would need to sign a petition to force a vote on decertification. A majority vote could then dissolve the union.
NBA owners have publicly and privately insisted they will not go beyond a 50-50 revenue split with the players. Many hardline owners are pushing NBA commissioner David Stern to lower the offer below 50 percent, sources said, but Stern knows doing so would make it extremely hard to get a deal done.
Part of the strategy by the agents and players isn’t just the act of decertification, but using the threat of it to gain leverage with the owners.
“This is not about Hunter and Fisher,” a source on the calls said. “The players want to know how to push the needle here. If talks this weekend don’t produce 52 percent, they want to know what options they have.”
Talks between the NBA and NBPA are scheduled to resume Saturday, but unlike in previous weeks, optimism is stifled that any progress will be made.