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Owners, players have "amicable" meeting on a new CBA, but that is different than progress

Aug 12, 2010, 3:58 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Nba_logo.pngUPDATE 3:50 pm: Both sides came out of the meeting saying things were better. Not good, but better, particularly the tone. Here is their joint released statement:

“The NBA and NBPA held a four-hour bargaining meeting today that included constructive dialogue and a productive exchange of information.  While we still have much work to do, it was encouraging how many players and owners participated in the process and all pledged to continue to work together. We all agreed to meet again before training camp.”

David Stern said there was “a gap, not a gulf” according to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter told him that the two sides were talking to each other, not at each other, which is a start.

It’s also a long way from a deal.

2:50 pm: The owners negotiating committee and representatives of the NBA Players Association sat down for a three-and-a-half hour meeting on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement Thursday in Manhattan.

The good news, according to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger — nobody went Matt Barnes and started giving Mark Cuban love taps. Berger’s source told him this meeting was “more amicable” than the last one All-Star Weekend.

The bad news — the two sides are nowhere near a deal. Not even close.

All the big names were there. For the players LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and more showed up to put on a front of solidarity. For the owners, most of the negotiating team was there but not Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who apparently wasn’t in the mood to sit down and talk to LeBron yet.

The owners are pushing for a radical change in how the NBA’s financial structure — a hard salary cap, shorter contracts with not all of them guaranteed, some restrictions on player movement and more.

The players basically like things the way they are now.

The two sides do not even agree on the financial state of the league. The owners say they are losing money, $370 million last season according to David Stern. The players look at the recent free agent spending spree and the people lined up to bid on franchises for sale and question if things are really that bad.

Whatever they talked about for more than three hours in Manhattan, neither side was moving off their basic principles, which are so diametrically opposed. The current CBA can run for another couple years but the owners can –
and will — opt out of it by the end of this year and force a new CBA for next season.

I’ll say again — we are headed to a lockout next summer. This is not a maybe thing if you talk to people in NBA front offices. Everybody on both sides privately expects it. The only question is will it cost regular season games and if so how many.

  1. Christopher J. Emge - Aug 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    In the NFL I tend to side with the players, but the NBA is a different beast. The owners while I’m sure want too much, I think some real concessions are going to be required to make the legal financially solvent for all the teams. Having the top players show up to this is ridiculous, the don’t represent the real nuts and bolts of the 300 players in the league. Teams didnt’ help themselves by over paying per usual during free agency My Idea:
    - 4 levels of salary cap: Min, Max, Tax threshold, Ceiling
    - All contracts are only 50% guaranteed which gives players financial stability, while allowing owernership to get out of bad contracts that would cribble the franchise
    - Limit player salary increases to 7.0% (w/team) and 5.0% without it
    - Increase player min and veteran min by 20%

  2. LBC Phil - Aug 12, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    The core issue here is that the Owners want a bigger slice of the revenues and to to reduce the amount of money on the table to be shared in the first place. At least the NBA and NBAPA have properly dealt with the problem of rookie contracts, that is the fundamental first step that the NFL will have to take. The problem is that the owners like in the MLB don’t like sharing with each other. The owners can say that the players are killing the NBA but its the free riding owners that are killing the NBA. The Grizzlies and Thunder have proven that good teams can be assembled without breaking the bank. If the smaller market teams are really losing money, which is a questionable theory at best, its their own fault.
    Look at the other extreme, there is no incentive for teams like the Clippers to put on a winning product. When the Anaheim Pond [now Honda Center] first opened they tried to lure the Clippers down to orange county and even offered Sterling free rent for [I think] 10 years. Sterling didn’t want to move the team because his friends wouldn’t come all the way down to Orange County to attend the games. Creating a new fan base and increasing revenues to improve the team didn’t matter to Sterling and still don’t. Sterling still gets money from the revenue sharing for putting on a last place product with little more than minimum expendature. Until that problem is fixed every thing else just spackle over a big crack in the wall.

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