National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher addressed reporters in New York City following a meeting of the player representatives held Tuesday morning. Fisher said the NBA's current offer -- which came with a deadline of Wednesday at the close of business -- was not acceptable to the players and that the NBPA is willing to continue negotiations to arrive at a new deal.
"We have 43 players present today at our player rep meeting, and 29 of our 30 teams represented," Fisher said. We were able to get an extremely specific and focused gauge on where our players stand at this point. Our orders are clear right now: the current offer on the table right now from the NBA is not one we can accept. Our orders are also clear: we are willing to continue to negotiate and we are willing to continue discussions on a potential compromise on our numbers, the BRI, our economics, for some continued improvement on the system. Without those improvements in the system we don't see a way of getting a deal done between now and end of business tomorrow evening."
Here's video of Fisher's remarks.
Update: Tuesday afternoon, NBA commissioner David Stern replied to Fisher's statements in an NBA TV interview, making no indication that he would alter the league's current offer but expressing a willingness to communicate with NBPA executive director Billy Hunter prior to Wednesday's deadline.
"I take him at his word that they are not accepting it," Stern said. "Whether it's a bad deal or not, all I can tell you is that we sat in a room until three in the morning... on Saturday night, and the president's federal mediator suggested six ideas for accommodating the six issues that are separating us, and we adopted five of them as our own. The union, through its lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, rejected them all, and I assume I hear Derek rejecting them all, although I'm not exactly sure. As of the close of business tomorrow there will be a new offer from the NBA labor relations committee."
Stern said he would answer his phone if NBPA executive director Billy Hunter contacted him prior to Wednesday evening's deadline.
"I always take Billy's calls as a sign of respect and courtesy," he said. "What my response will be, will be guided to some degree by the labor relations committee."
Stern also said he currently has no plans to cancel further NBA games.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt attended the players' meeting. I couldn't make out any other Blazers in attendance. The NBPA lists center Marcus Camby and forward LaMarcus Aldridge as Portland's player representatives, but I did not see either in the wide shot or when the players were shown filing into the building in the video feed. More on that if/when a full list of players in attendance surfaces.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter