Sports

What Is NBA Fighting Over? Point/Counterpoint With David Stern And Billy Hunter

Stern, Hunter (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Stern, Hunter (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Basketball fans continue to ask questions about whether there will be NBA season this year.

Over the last two days, NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter spoke with WFAN’s Mike Francesa to get a better idea of where the situation stands today.

The biggest issues brought up on Wednesday by Hunter included percentage of BRI (Basketball Related Income), dealing with hard cap vs. soft cap and luxury tax along with Bird rights and free agent contracts.

Both sides addressed those issues during their conversations with Francesa and elaborated on the continues points of contention.

SALARY CAP: The league wants a more restrictive cap to keep more competitive balance, but the union is balking.

Hunter: “If you make the tax high enough, it acts like a hard cap.” Hunter also called the tax “egregious.”

Stern: “It’s over. There’s not a hard cap,” he said suggesting the issue was no longer being debated.

LENGTH OF CONTRACT: The NBA wants to eliminate teams having to bear the burden of bad contracts given to players whose performance drops dramatically or in cases of injury by shortening contract length.  Players feel that is to their disadvantage.

Hunter: “They want to go 4[years] and 3, we want to go 5 and 4.”

Stern: “4 years and 3 years and 5 offered for a designated player.  We think that’s better for players,” he said, adding it would reward on-the-court performance.

LUXURY TAX: Players want the tax to remain a $1 for $1 penalty for going over the salary cap.  That rate has only amounted to $72 million in revenue for the league.

Hunter: “There is a tug of war going on internally between the respective teams. Big market, small market. The marquee franchises have to be solid and substantial for the whole league to benefit.”

Stern: “We would like it if the tax worked to limit the number of teams that could pay it. For the first 5 million we’re at $1.75 We had 50 cents for each 5 million, then we keep going up.”

INEVITABILITY OF THE LOCKOUT: Did this lockout have to happen?

Hunter: “David Stern promised me a lockout three years ago,” Hunter told Francesa Wednesday afternoon. “That was their plan all along.”

Stern: “If anyone thinks we wanted to miss a single game they are wrong.”