NEW YORK -- NBA Commissioner David Stern says the union's offer to consider reducing players' share of revenue is "not really much of a concession" because other parts of its proposal will raise costs.
"At the bottom, it would probably be more expensive than our current way we do things," Stern told reporters before an ESPN event Thursday. "It's a continuation of the current economic system but with additional exceptions that would probably allow us to spend more than we currently do."
The players association offered to negotiate a reduction in the players' guarantee of 57 percent of basketball revenues, which Stern has said is a key element in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. But the union also proposed to make trades less restricted by the salary cap and add a second midlevel exception.
"In its totality, without regards to whether there's a guarantee or not, it could reasonably be expected to raise the amount that the players get," Stern said.
Stern has said the league wants to cut salary costs by $700 million to $800 million annually, a reduction of almost 40 percent. A potential lockout looms if a deal isn't reached before the current CBA expires June 30.
Stern acknowledged the two sides' formal proposals were "very far apart." But he insisted that didn't mean a lockout was inevitable.
"There's plenty of precedent, depending on how hard people are going to work," he said.