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After two days of talks owners, players nowhere near deal

Jun 8, 2011, 5:32 PM EDT

David Stern AP

What is the bottom line after two long days of talks between NBA owners and players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement?

“We remain very far apart… I’d say we’re apart on everything, despite both sides having moved.” David Stern said, as tweeted by Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Derek Fisher, players union president, said almost the exact same thing.

It doesn’t get any better as you look more deeply into the comments.

“No change at all. What has changed is maybe the mechanism, the system somewhat in maybe how we get there. We tossed around some ideas in that regard, but there is no hiding the fact that the main components of what we originally received in their proposal have not changed at all,” union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. “So from that standpoint, there hasn’t been much of a negotiation because that really hasn’t changed.”

Both Stern and members of the players union said the good news everyone is talking. More negotiations are scheduled for next week, either in Miami or New York (depending on the finals).

Talking is good, but it is very different that compromising to make a deal. But both sides threw around words like “gap” and “far apart” liberally. Stern said there was still time to make a deal before the lockout begins July 1, but the odds of that seem long. Theoretically they could extend the current deal to keep things going (like Summer League and free agency), but Stern said they would only do that if a deal were close. And, as he said, that’s not the case.

The owners are looking for major changes to the current economic system in the NBA, including a roll back of salaries, non-guaranteed deals and a harder cap. However the number that really will matter is percentage of Basketball Related Income (BRI) the owners get back. Currently 57 percent of BRI that comes in (money from ticket sales, television rights and more) goes to the players, 43 percent to the owners. The owners want a bigger slice of that pie. The players like their pie.

You can bet BRI is one of the numbers the two sides remain far apart on. But, they are talking without a judge involved, so go ahead and hold out hope. Just ignore all the times they say “gap.”

  1. nfl25 - Jun 8, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    99% there will be games missed. owners are ready for war and players arent going to give back much. its gonna be so much worse than the nfl. this sux

  2. sknut - Jun 8, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    I think its more of big market vs. small market owners in this one. I think the small market owners are tired of being pushed around by Stern. Its going to be a long lockout, better get a hobby.

  3. trbowman - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    At best a 55 game season. At absolute best.

    85-90% chance the whole season will be cancelled.

    I’m not even going to be following the NBA labor dispute

    • rajbais - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:40 PM

      Chris Mannix of SI told Dan Patrick on April 1, 2011 that the lockout will likely last 1 year.

      Majority of the players have proven the inability to live up to 5-6 year contracts, but if the owners and general managers did better scouting and financial work they wouldn’t be in this situation!!!! It’s okay to only give 2 or 3 year deals!!!

      I support the case for the owners wanting 3-4 year max contracts and a minimal entry age 20, but I support the players for everything else.

    • rajbais - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:51 PM

      The hard cap works in the NFL because base salaries (a.k.a. regular season salaries) are what total up the actual cap and the system can allow payrolls to exceed it with incentives and bonuses attached to the base salaries.

      Payrolls like the Washington Redskins and the 2010 Minnesota Vikings can exceed the NFL salary cap because their owners gave players new signing bonuses and incentives based on clauses.

    • rajbais - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:55 PM

      NBA owners can succeed with a hard cap plus contractual incentives, but the contracts need to be short as often as possible.

      How can shortness of contracts be reached?

      If the union and owners agree to ban the maximum of three 1-year contracts. There should be no maximum on one year deals because too many players not held accountable and deserve to be year-to-year cases. The ban should happen because fans don’t care about players’ salaries unless they’ve noticed that they’re not worthy of what they will earn.

      This will help bring more fans to games because players will play with a better sense of urgency and will be more relatable to fans as their jobs and salaries will be more on the line.

      Many people get angry when they see too many people earn money that they don’t deserve!!! With my proposal, the way of relating to the typical fans can finally exist in the NBA!!!

  4. hungrybear22 - Jun 9, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    I definitely feel that there should be more non-guaranteed contracts happening, since how many times does a guy outperform expectations during a contract year only to play like crap and show up out of shape the next season. However, owners and crappy gms shouldn’t be let off the hook for poor talent evaluation and the like. I think a 3 year maximum guaranteed with maybe 2 more years non-guaranteed sounds about right. This would help owners with spending even if they keep the soft cap.

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