Did Mark Cuban propose dumping cap?

Updated: October 25, 2011, 6:25 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

The NBA and its players association can't even agree on what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proposed during a meeting between owners and players last week.

Players association executive director Billy Hunter told Grantland.com's Bill Simmons that Cuban made a proposal he called "the game changer," which would replace the salary cap with a heavy luxury tax for teams that spent beyond certain levels.

NBA senior vice president Mike Bass told The Associated Press that Hunter made "several misstatements" during his hour-long podcast with Simmons. Among them was the revelation of the salary cap plan, which Bass said was actually an exception to the cap, not the elimination of it.

"On behalf of the league, Mark Cuban proposed adding a new salary cap exception, not eliminating the salary cap," Bass said. "It was the union that, in response, proposed eliminating the salary cap, a proposal that was even worse for the NBA than the union's prior proposals."

However, during the interview on Simmons' "BS Report" podcast, Hunter described in vivid detail the proposal to eliminate the salary cap that he said came from Cuban.

"We took that idea back into our room and we in turn responded with something similar," Hunter said. "I saw the reaction that (Cuban) had to it. I saw the reaction he had to it and two or three other owners in the room who were really excited about it.

"But then, keep in mind that when you start talking about no salary cap, the salary cap has existed in the NBA for at least the last 30 years and it was a creation of David Stern. I don't know if there's any pushback because of that, but we were prepared to pursue that whole idea of going into a different direction. We wouldn't have to worry about a cap, so the exception, salaries, all that, there would be no limit with the exception of there obviously being a cap at the top, i.e., a quite heavy tax that teams would have to confront if they went above a certain number.

"But what happened was the owners then decided, at least the leaders of their delegation decided, they had to take it back in a different direction. They said, 'We don't want to address that. We don't want to deal with that idea. We want to go back and proceed along the track that we've been proceeding along for the last year or more.'"

Cuban did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. Stern, the NBA commissioner, has warned that owners, officials or players who comment on the lockout will be fined.

Hunter encouraged Simmons to ask Stern why the NBA wasn't willing to discuss the possibility of eliminating the salary cap. Hunter said the players association has made it clear that they're willing to negotiate on "a minute's notice."

"We're open to the idea that Mark Cuban put on the table," Hunter said.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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