Matt Bonner: “It’s basically come down to the point where enough is enough. We are not going to be intimidated by their ultimatum.”

November 9, 2011 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce

There goes the sense of optimism about the NBA lockout ending soon. The players will decline the latest proposal put forth by the owners according to Derek Fisher’s comments to the media Tuesday afternoon despite the warnings from David Stern about a Wednesday afternoon deadline before a 50-50 deal was taken off the table for good. Matt Bonner, the Executive VP of the NBAPA, knows the players have made every concession they could during these negotiations and at this point they are getting taken advantage of. As of late Tuesday night there are no future meetings set for NBA players and owners to meet, but the point has been made clear by the players: No deal.

Matt Bonner joined TSN 1050 in Toronto with Cybulski & Company to discuss a 50-50 split still not being enough for the owners and players to resolve the NBA lockout, Michael Jordan being a key leader of the owners movement, and if he thinks that Michael Jordan is a hypocrite.

A 50-50 split is still unacceptable. Why?

“It’s unacceptable because it does not address any of our concerns with the system. Basically it creates a very restrictive system with essentially a hard cap and it would eliminate the middle class. You’d have a ‘have’ and ‘have not’ society within the NBA. We met with all 30 player reps that represent all of their teams and the consensus was overwhelming that this was not a deal that we could even consider. As far as – it has nothing to do with greed – where we are willing to compromise and come down on the BRI [Basketball Related Income] split. It has to do with preserving the world we are accustomed to and being able to go out and get our market value. We’ve indicated that we are willing to compromise on the BRI number to fulfill and come to us on the last five or six remaining system issues.”

Michael Jordan has emerged as a leader of the owners. What are your thoughts on Michael Jordan these days?

“It’s an interesting situation because he was kind of the lead voice during the last lockout for the players – telling one of the owners – look if you don’t want to own a team or you can’t afford to own a team then don’t own the team and sell it. Now he is on the other side of the ball – definitely leading the charge with the hard liners – it’s an interesting situation.”

Is Michael Jordan a hypocrite in your mind?

“I mean he is looking out for his best interests. Obviously when he was a player his best interests were to fight for players rights. Now he is on the other side and doing the same thing. I think I heard you guys talking about small market teams before I got patched through. Just to address that – we are not disputing that the NBA as a whole is losing some money – in fact we have addressed those loses and are willing to go above and beyond them as far as compromising how many dollars or what percentage of BRI that goes into players pockets. That’s not our huge issue. We are not trying to be greedy and get more money. We are just trying to preserve the system that we’ve enjoyed and allowed us to have a middle class. That’s really what this fight is about. It’s not even like we are asking for more. One reporter came up to me and said – I asked Adam Silver to tell me one thing that is better for the players in their latest proposal and Adam Silver couldn’t think of one thing. We haven’t gained anything. We haven’t asked anything more. We’ve made compromises on every system issue. We’ve addressed their loses and it’s really frustrating that a deal hasn’t been closed out. It’s basically come down to the point where enough is enough. We need them to come to us on these last five or six system issues and we can get something done, but until that point we are not going to be intimidated by their ultimatum and everybody is on the same page. The players are all educated and know what’s at stake and what the issues are. We are going to stand united and stand strong.”

Listen to Matt Bonner on TSN 1050 in Toronto here

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