On Thursday, National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told a national television audience that Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen was responsible for delivering an ultimatum on behalf of the NBA's owners to the players that ultimately led to a breakdown in negotiations.
On Friday, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver disputed Hunter's statements, saying that Allen attended an NBA Board of Governors meeting on Thursday morning and an afternoon negotiating session with the players, but he did not speak to the NBPA.
On Monday, Hunter repeated his statement about Allen on a podcast interview with ESPN.com's Bill Simmons.
"I can assure you we were of the opinion last week that we were really within the zone," Hunter said. "We were so close to striking a deal. That's why I got kind of blown away and I think it was when Paul Allen came in.
"They specifically said in the meeting that Paul Allen came in to deliver the message. The message from the general membership of owners that they think they've given up too much, they're dug in, and we're going to have to either accept it or they're prepared to blow the system up. Blow up the season."
- The NBA reportedly placed preconditions on its statement regarding Allen.
- NBPA lawyer Jeffrey Kessler also said that Thursday afternoon's labor negotiations were "hijacked."
- In the process, Allen was called the "Grim Reaper" and a "cartoon character."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter