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"Current Offer Not Acceptable"

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After a meeting with 29 of its 30 team representatives, leadership of the players union have rejected the owners' offer, with Derek Fisher saying that while they are willing to continue talking "Our orders are clear that the current offer on the table is not acceptable...." said the union president.

David Stern had given the players an ultimatum on Friday that if they don't accept the owners' offer of a 50-50 BRI split by 5 p.m. Wednesday, the owners will pull back from their current proposal and start over from 47-53.  In their comments, both Fisher and Billy Hunter indicated "system" issues are a bigger deal than the BRI split. It was the first time the union signaled it might accept a 50-50 split.

Hunter said players will reach out to Stern tonight or tomorrow morning to ask to meet again but noted it's been rumored the NBA will cancel games through Christmas if there's no deal by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Stern denied that and said he would take Hunter's call but wouldn't commit to new talks, adding there is no "wiggle room". Fisher said no vote was taken on current deal but that the union feels the "vast majority" support their stand. He said there was "very little talk of decertification" among the player reps.

Meanwhile, Marc Stein said Hunter told the players that a slim majority of owners would ratify the current offer...and Ken Berger says he was apparently wrong about Mikhail Prokhorov being a hardliner.