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The players’ union ain’t buying what Stern’s selling

At All-Star Weekend, Commissioner Stern delivered his state of the league address. In it, he fired the opening salvo in the battle that will be fought in the boardroom and in the media over the 2011 CBA, by claiming on behalf of ownership that they will lose $400 million this year.

The union, however, is not buying it.

On Saturday, NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is quoted by CBSSports’ Ken Berg as saying:

“Based upon our review and what we’ve done thus far, we dispute the $400 million figure, (a)nd we plan to present our rebuttal to David and the owners at an appropriate time. Our contention is that the number’s overstated.

The union did not present an alternative figure, but is reviewing the financial documents that outline the finances for the NBA. They’ve hired an economist to review the figures, and plan to have a counter-proposal to the league’s “nuclear winter” proposal between May and July for discussions to begin.

An interesting note in Berger’s piece is that there is a divide in ownership between those who held ownership stake in ’99 during the last lockout, and new ownership who didn’t feel the losses. Berger quotes the following:

“Ownership has changed completely,” former Knicks president Dave Checketts said this week at the IMG World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles. “These guys sitting at the table were not there when we lost half a season. ... They don’t understand how damaging a work stoppage is. Nobody wins, everyone loses.”

Okay, good. There’s some voices of reason in the... oh, wait, he’s not with the league anymore. Great. There are points to be made on both sides of the aisle. We’ll just have to see how this plays out.