Report: Black Friday offer will end lockout or season

Black Friday will take on new meaning for the NBA today.

NBA commissioner David Stern is reportedly preparing a final offer on behalf of the league’s owners that will lead either to the end of the lockout, or to the end of the season.

ESPN is reporting that Stern will improve the previous offer made to the players, which was ultimately rejected – a development that kick-started the dissolving of the players’ union and the filing of a number of lawsuits.

The terms of the new offer are expected to come with a take-it-or-leave-it provision – meaning that if the players don’t accept the proposal, Stern will proceed with the cancellation of the entire 2011-12 campaign.

The two sides met for two days earlier this week in an attempt to sort out the various legal developments, a necessary component in the resumption of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Union president Derek Fisher has been excluded from the latest round of negotiations, according to sources. Also, it appears that that the players have replaced lead negotiator Jeffrey Kessler with Jim Quinn, a former chief outside counsel to the union.

Stern and Kessler have an acrimonious relationship while Quinn has worked well with both Stern and Hunter over the years and was credited with helping to settle a lockout in 1998-99.

The two sides have been embroiled in a tense relationship as they work to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement. The standoff has already resulted in the cancellation of the first six weeks of regular-season games.

The NBA has reportedly prepared a 66-game schedule which would begin with games Christmas Day in the event the two sides reach an agreement shortly.

The league and union remain apart on several key issues, including the division of basketball-related income (BRI). The league’s final offer contained a 50-50 split, while the players have said they would only accept such a division if the owners relented on other issues, including the mid-level exception and the luxury tax.

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