NBA owners finally got a glimpse of the union's latest proposal Friday, but it came through the media.
The day after the union gave the media a sample of the concessions it hopes may end the lockout, league officials had not seen a copy of the proposal. In the final preliminary fight before next week's expected last round of bargaining, neither the union nor the league is budging.
The players want a meeting to formally submit their proposal, and the league has said only that it would forward it to its labor relations committee with no guarantee of a meeting.
"I have no comment on a proposal that has not been made to the NBA," Jeffrey Mishkin, the league's chief legal officer, said Friday. "They can give us their proposal by any means they choose. If they want to deliver it in person, fine. If want to mail it or fax it, great. When they deliver it to us, we'll respond to it, but not until then."
Said Jeffrey Kessler, the union's chief outside counsel: "It's not their offer, but there is definitely going to be some movement in their direction."
Both sides have until Thursday to resuscitate the season, at which time commissioner David Stern and his deputy, Russ Granik, are expected to recommend canceling the season if a new collective-bargaining agreement has not been reached.
Union executive director Billy Hunter portrayed the union's revised offer Thursday as "unprecedented," saying that the players had agreed to an absolute limit on maximum salaries.
The players have proposed that the most a player with 10 years or more of experience could earn would be $15-million a year, though only three players average higher than that salary. The league wants that number to be $12.25-million.
The union also has lowered its desired revenue percentage in the fourth year of a proposed six-year deal to 55 percent. The league wants the figure to be 53 percent.
A list of other economic issues needs to be sorted through before the sides work on putting together an abbreviated season of 40 to 50 games.
Players on the union's negotiating committee expected to travel to New York early next week to begin a final round of negotiations. It now appears that may be delayed until midweek.