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Owners’ new proposal to players looks a lot like old one

May 4, 2011, 10:57 AM EST

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Savor these playoffs.

Because when this season ends, it could be a while before we see NBA basketball again.

For all the people singing Kumbaya about how neither the owners nor the players union wants to crush the momentum this season and these playoffs have generated for the NBA, the two sides remain far apart.

As evidence we bring you what Players Association president Derek Fisher told ESPN about the latest offer from the owners given to the players last week.

“Unfortunately, the proposal is very similar to the proposal the league submitted over a year ago,” union president Derek Fisher told ESPN.com. “This last proposal doesn’t look close to what we were expecting.”

That first proposal called for a hard cap, shorter contracts with considerably less guaranteed money and the owners getting a larger share of basketball related income (BRI) the league generates. This second proposal calls for the same nearly $800 million rollback in salaries, but now it is phased in over two seasons, not one, according to the report.

That BRI number is the one to really watch — right now 57 percent of what is generated goes to the players. The owners want a larger slice of the pie. The rest of the discussion is about owners protecting themselves from themselves and getting out of bad contracts faster.

If you want good news at least the two sides are talking. Not about the same things — the owners are proposing a dramatic shift in how league finances are handled, the players want the status quo — but they are talking.

It’s going to be a long summer. There will be a lockout. The only question is if games are lost, but please refer back to how far apart the two sides are.

Savor these playoffs.

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