Owners: Union Wrong About Cap

Posted: October 26, 2011

NEW YORK - The NBA players' association, not Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, proposed the elimination of the salary cap during negotiations aimed at ending months of labor strife, a league official said yesterday.

NBA senior vice president Mike Bass said union executive director Billy Hunter made "several misstatements" during an hourlong podcast with ESPN.com on Monday. Among them was the revelation of the salary-cap plan, which Bass said was actually an exception to the cap, not the elimination of it.

Hunter said that, during a meeting last week, Cuban proposed what he called a "game changer" - a plan to replace the salary cap with a heavy tax for teams that spent to a certain level. Hunter said that the players were interested in discussing it further and that two or three other owners in the room were really excited about it, but then were told by the owners they wouldn't pursue it.

"On behalf of the league, Mark Cuban proposed adding a new salary-cap exception, not eliminating the salary cap," Bass said.

The NBA does not allow owners to comment on the negotiations. A person briefed on the content of the meetings said Cuban's actual proposal was much different from what Hunter suggested.

The sides met for 3 days with a federal mediator before talks broke down after players said owners insisted they commit to a 50-50 split of revenues before any further discussions about the salary cap system could continue.

Though staffs from the sides have met since, no full bargaining sessions have been held, and the NBA is expected to announce soon that more games will be canceled.

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