The NBA and the players’ association representatives met yesterday, giving fans hope that if things went well, the possibility of pro basketball this season might still be a reality. This week, meaning, by Friday, is pretty much the last week any kind of deal could be reached before affecting the season, because of training camp schedules and then the pre-season.
Unfortunately, they walked away without any resolution, leaving a lot of doubt on the season. NBA Commissioner David Stern said that he has not asked any of the owners to take the ultimate step regarding this season, but it doesn’t sound like there is any plan for a meeting in the near future:
The Owners are scheduled to hold a Board of Governors meeting on Thursday and while Stern may not ask for a vote, the final power to scrub the pre-season may be granted to the Labor Relations Committee simply by virtue of process.
Stern warned that while yesterday was a “bad day”, he hoped that phone conversations could re-start the process which seemed awfully close yesterday.
The silver lining is that the players and owners apparently started discussions over the biggest point of contention, which is how to split revenues. This could have been a result of more people being brought into the negotiations, but normally, when a group that’s trying to agree on something gets bigger, that usually just makes it more difficult.
Regardless of how both sides try to spin the result of yesterday’s meeting, the reality is that everyone knows the lack of a resolution is a very bad sign for the upcoming season:
“I think coming out of today, obviously because of the calendar, we can’t come out of here feeling as though training camps and the season is going to start on time at this point,” players’ association president Derek Fisher(notes) of the Lakers said.
The only real movement in the discussions is that the players seem willing to give up more revenue, although no formal proposal was made. Despite everyone involved expressing disappointment, Stern seems to be the ‘less glum’ of the participants, probably due to the change in position by the players:
“We did not have a great day,” said commissioner David Stern, though he was not nearly as glum as the players. Perhaps Stern recognized important movement in the players’ stance. Just last week the two sides had exchanged proposals, according to Stern, while engaging each other in conversations that were inspiring to both union and management. While union chief Billy Hunter said he hadn’t been expecting to reach an agreement Tuesday, he was hoping to achieve progress to build on the gains of last week.
As we’ve stated before, in this negotiation, the owners have far more leverage to get what they want than the players, and it’s pretty much a waiting game for them until the players’ wallets start hurting enough, and they concede.
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