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What has to happen Monday for an NBA labor deal? A lot.

Oct 10, 2011, 12:07 PM EDT

Billy Hunter David Stern AP

Monday in Manhattan, NBA league officials and union leaders will again sit down across the table from each other in a posh hotel and try to hash out a deal — or at least go through the motions of it. If they don’t reach a handshake agreement today the league will cancel the first couple weeks of the NBA regular season.

So, what do the two sides have to do today to reach a deal?

A lot. Like a “make the Miami Dolphins a good football team” size effort. A “clean up corruption in the Mexico police force” kind of effort.

It’s a long shot, but here is what has to happen for the NBA to start.

1. Find a split on basketball related income. This is the elephant in the room and while the two sides met for five hours Sunday apparently this didn’t even come up. Which is ludicrous. The two sides can talk about the salary cap structure and luxury tax levels (apparently topics at the meeting Sunday) but all of that really ties back to BRI. Until the two sides define the pie and how to split the pie up, nothing else matters. Nothing.

When last we left this talk, the owners demanded a 50/50 split. The players got 57 percent of BRI in the last deal and have come down to 53 percent. That’s about $120 million apart on the first year of the deal and close to a billion over the life of the labor contract. Know that 53 percent is where the players are drawing their line in the sand, saying they have not gotten less than 53 percent in nearly three decades.

“We moved down from 57 to 53 (percent) and I think the owners got to work with us….” Kevin Durant said after the Drew/Goodman rematch Sunday night. “We’re going to stand firm no matter what. If we miss games we miss games. We might have to sacrifice a few for the betterment of the league, but I don’t think we’re going to give in just because we missed a few games.”

The NBA owners have already won these negotiations — that give back by the players represents $160 million a season and more than $1 billion over the course of a six-year labor deal — but the owners are now trying to pour it on and win by 50. They are pushing for a bigger cut of the pie and some are willing to miss a lot of games to get it.

2. Figure out revenue sharing by the owners. While this is technically an owners-only issue, it has tentacles into the negotiations. For example, the luxury tax big-spending teams pay is one part of the revenue sharing, so how much that is will impact the other revenue sharing. Zach Lowe has a fantastic post talking about this issue over at Sports Illustrated — revenue sharing and the luxury tax are an stumbling block right now.

This is not just the small market owners trying to get as much money as they can (although they are), this is also big market owners wanting more from the BRI split so the money they pay out in revenue sharing is new money and does not impact their profits.

3. Reach at least some level of understanding on the myriad of other issues in the CBA, such as if there is a mid-level exception, reworking the draft and the age limits on players entering the league. That stuff should fall into line once the money is figured out, but it still has to be in a place they can work it out.

That’s it for today. They can announce a handshake deal and have a joint press conference. Smiles everyone, smiles. Then they have to…

4. Turn the lawyers loose for a couple weeks to flesh out the details that will surround the framework of the deal. This would happen as the lockout ended — teams would open their facilities to players for workouts — but there could be no free agency period and training camps can’t formally open until the deal is finalized and approved.

5. Sell this deal to the owners and players. The hardliners on both sides will think they have given up too much and both David Stern and Billy Hunter will have to sell their constituencies on how this is a good deal. Most people on both sides want to get back to basketball, but there is going to have to be some salesmanship.

So that’s it. Five easy steps to basketball again.

  1. cakemixa - Oct 10, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Lol yeah this is gonna all happen today

  2. acdc363 - Oct 10, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    So basically were screwed

  3. skids003 - Oct 10, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    “Sacrifice a few games for the betterment of the league.?”” You mean the betterment of the players pockets, maybe, Durant? These morons are too stupid to realize how well they have it. Let the whole league fold up, the players will all be broke in 2 years.

    • trueballs - Oct 10, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      You can blame the players all you want, but the fact is the players are the revenue raisers. The owners are just like every other super-rich person in America…they’re get super rich and strive to get even richer. I want to see basketball too, but the owners have to realize that running a sports franchise is not like running a major corporation…the “product” is the players. Basketball alone is not the product, but LeBron, Kobe, DWade, and others PLAYING basketball is.

      A league without stars is called Euroleague.

  4. Bryce - Oct 10, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Notice the photo at the beginning of the article. They aren’t shaking hands…that’s signaling that we should become hockey fans.

  5. jayrandle - Oct 10, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Like a “make the Miami Dolphins a good football team” size effort.

    LOL!!! That line have me cracking up…
    We are in deep trouble if that is the case…

  6. Art Rondeau - Oct 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Kurt, excellent article. You’ve nailed it and you’re correct that there’s a lot to do. I’ve got a plan for a full season in the event they don’t get it all done today: Feedback welcome. Thanks.

  7. thetooloftools - Oct 10, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Players need to stand DOWN. I would NEVER EVER give them over 50% of BRI. James and Bosh (through Wade) walked on MAX$ deals. SO IT’S NOT ABOUT THE $.
    Those guys even being in the mix (after they got theirs) is a joke. Break your foot off in their (|) Mr Stern. They want is both ways. BOSH AND JAMES WALKED ON MAX DEALS. Never again, Never again.
    Hey James & Bosh.. when are you going to OWN something?
    Wade dragged you two around by the nose like a 8itch.
    Just asking.

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