Sep 21, 2011, 10:29 PM EDT
The good news is the owners and players are back in the same room talking again.
On Thursday that will include the leadership of both sides — Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver for the owners, union president Derek Fisher and union Director Billy Hunter. Some attorneys and economists from both sides will be there as well, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Staff from the two sides met on Wednesday but there have been no reports out of those talks.
According to John Canzano of the Oregonian, the owners have decided on two “amnesty clauses” to go into the new labor deal. That is something the owners and players have to discuss, but these deals would allow teams to waive a couple of players and get some salary cap relief (the players still get paid their contract).
It’s unclear what, if anything, is different after talks last Tuesday that both sides labeled as “disappointing.” The players were willing to lessen their take to 53 percent of the league’s “basketball related income” from the 57 percent they had in the last deal. But the owners wanted both that and a hard salary cap, and the combination was too much for the players to accept. Then both the owners and players had separate meetings, and both sides preached unity.
It may be possible the owners would come off the hard cap demands — although they will still want something more restrictive that the old system — if the players give up another percentage point or two. It’s unclear if the players will go that far.
Time is ticking on both sides — if a deal in principle is not reached in the next week to 10 days (by Oct. 1) there is no way for training camps or the league’s regular season to start on time.
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