NEW YORK (AP) Commissioner David Stern gave NBA players an offer and a deadline: Accept a chance to earn up to 51 percent of basketball-related income by Wednesday or get ready for a deal that's a whole lot worse.He wouldn't call it an ultimatum, but it didn't sure sit well with the union."The players will not be intimidated," attorney Jeffrey Kessler said early Sunday after eight hours of negotiations stretched late into the night. "They want to play, they want a season, but they are not going to sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening on Derek Fisher's watch; it's not happening on Billy Hunter's watch; it's not happening on the watch of this executive committee."Kessler said the proposal was really 50.2 percent for the players and called the chance of them ever reaching 51 percent a "fraud" and an "illusion."Whatever. If players don't agree to it by Wednesday, Stern said they would get a deal that would guarantee them just 47 percent of BRI and call for a flex salary cap."We hope that this juxtaposition will cause the union to assess its position and accept the deal," Stern said.Thus ended another frustrating day, one that puts a lengthy 2011-12 season in doubt."Today was another sad day for our fans, for arena workers, our parking lot attendants, our vendors. Very frustrating, sad day," union president Fisher added. "We, for sure, unequivocally, made good faith efforts to try to get this deal done tonight. And we're at a loss for why we could not close it out."And it remains difficult to see how they can. Stern certainly wouldn't speculate on the chances."I'm not going to make percentage guesses or anything like that. We want our players to play. We'd like to have a season," he said. "These are the terms upon which we're prepared to gear up and get in as many games as possible."Players and owners met with federal mediator George Cohen for more than eight hours, and Stern said Cohen offered six "what if?" recommendations relating to the BRI split and the salary cap system.Stern said owners accepted the first five and would put them in writing in a formal proposal to the players, hopefully Sunday. But it wasn't acceptable Saturday, with Stern saying Kessler rejected it."I think it's fair to say that speaking on behalf of the union, Mr. Kessler rejected the mediators' recommendations and our proposal," Stern said. "But hope springs eternal, and we would love to see the union accept the proposal that is now on the table."Though insistent on no more than a 50-50 split, owners will offer the players a band that would allow them to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of revenue. However, Stern's description of how it would work was confusing, and Kessler said under "the wildest, most unimaginable, favorable projections and we might squeeze out to 50.2."Fisher said the players' proposal would have given them about 51 percent, with a portion taken out to use for retired players' benefit.Day 128 of the lockout came at the end of a tenuous week in which both sides seemed as much at odds with themselves as each other. Some players took part in conference calls to discuss the option of decertifying the union and filing an antitrust case against the league, while hardline owners were in favor of offering the players 47 percent now and not going beyond 50.Although the lengthy meeting offered hope of compromise - despite the rare attendance of Hall of Famer and Charlotte owner Michael Jordan, and Portland billionaire owners Paul Allen, considered to be hard-liners - Kessler said owners never really made any."They came in here with a prearranged plan to try to strong arm the players," he said. "They knew today they were sticking to 50, essentially 50.2. They were going to make almost no movement on the system, and then they were going to say, 'My way, or the 47 percent highway.'"He added there was no reason to talk again before Wednesday if the owners stick to their current position.Other items in the new owners' proposal related to rules for teams paying the luxury tax and for the use of the midlevel exception. Players have said the system issues are just as important as the BRI split, because they fear owners' proposals essentially would prevent teams in the biggest markets from being free agent options.A month of the season already has been lost, and more games could be in jeopardy soon. Nobody said the decertification threat made any real impact on the discussions, but Fisher also said there's not a deal yet that's worth a vote.If they can't agree to one by Wednesday, it will be even harder to find common ground. Players already rejected a flex cap in June.Fisher and Kessler again questioned the owners' willingness to negotiate, but Stern said they were ready to make a deal - by Wednesday."We want to allow the union enough time to consider our most recent proposal, and we are hopeful that they will accept," he said.As for the Wednesday deadline, he added that it "doesn't aid the negotiating process to just leave it hanging out there."
SACRAMENTO -- Light in the rear. It’s a term the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has used since the beginning of training camp to describe the bigs on the roster. On Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the team’s lack of strength inside was on full display as the Denver Nuggets crushed them on the glass.
“I think we’re 29th in the league for rebounding, so that’s a little bit of our makeup of how our team is made,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings’ 114-98 loss.
Joerger is close in his assessment, but off by a few spots. His roster ranks 26th in the league in rebounding overall and 28th on the defensive side of the ball. It’s become an achilles heel for a team that has a few glaring weaknesses.
“When Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Kosta (Koufos) aren’t in there to snag every rebound, we have to get in there and help Zach (Randolph) and help Skal (Labissiere),” veteran Garrett Temple said. “Skal’s a little undersized in terms of weight and Z-Bo will put his body on people, but some people might be able to out jump him.”
On a normal night, Temple is right. Randolph and Labissiere struggle to put up big numbers on the glass. But against the Nuggets, it was Koufos and Cauley-Stein that combined to grab nine rebounds in 51 total minutes of action.
Randolph and Labissiere didn’t fair much better, finishing with 10 boards between the two of them in 38 minutes with the starters. Between the Kings’ four bigs, they were out rebounded by the Nuggets bigs by a final of 34-19.
The Nuggets came into the night a top 10 rebounding team overall and the second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA at 11.8 per game.
It’s not just the bigs that struggled to grab boards for Sacramento. Without Buddy Hield, the club’s best rebounding wing, the Kings’ were dominated 49-34 overall in rebounding, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.
“The first shot, it’s a good contest, we did everything right, except get the rebound,” rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “And then they get an open shot off a second chance shot. If we can complete a lot of plays with the rebound, we’ll be okay.”
To Fox’s point, the defensive possession doesn’t end until the rebound is secured. Sacramento was outscored 19-6 on second chance points. In a 16-point game, those numbers loom large.
“Us guards, we know we have to help our bigs,” Fox said. “We know our bigs are athletic. We know they do what they do, at the end of the day, other team’s guards are helping their bigs rebound and their bigs aren’t alone.”
Outside of the four bigs, none of the other seven players to see action had more than three rebounds. It’s an issue that has to be addressed as the Kings move forward.
“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at half court and that I won’t have.”
The Kings have a day of practice on Tuesday to try and sure up some of their issues. Some of the problems stem from inexperience, but some of the issue comes down to energy and effort.
It doesn’t even get easier on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers rank second in the league in rebounding at 47.5 boards per game. On the plus side, they also give up the 28th most rebounds in the league.
Michael Malone won't be on the sideline when his Nuggets take on his former team on Monday night.
The NBA announced Monday afternoon that Malone has been suspended without pay for the game against the Kings.
The suspension stems from Malone "entering the court, halting play and making contact with a game official" during Denver's game against the Lakers on Sunday. The incident occurred midway through the second quarter.
Malone was hired as head coach of the Kings prior to the 2013-14 season. He was fired just 24 games into the 2014-15 season.
Coverage of the Nuggets and Kings gets underway at 6:30pm on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App.