Oct 19, 2011, 7:23 PM EDT
Representatives of the NBA owners and players have sat in the same room with federal mediator George Cohen for more than 24 hours over two days.
That will have to do for progress; the two sides do not have a deal yet. But while there was no breakthrough, there was some progress on the key issue of the split of basketball related income, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo tweeted.
The two sides and Cohen will be back at it in the same room again on Thursday.
Cohen spoke to the media but shed no new light on the talks, other than to say Wednesday’s negotiations ended so owners could get to an already scheduled Board of Governor’s meeting to discuss revenue sharing.
“The discussions have been direct and constructive, and as far as we are concerned, we are here to continue to help assist the parties to endeavor to reach an agreement,” Cohen said.
Cohen said his gag order on both sides remains in effect. Nobody from the owners or players made public comments.
The owners and players met for about seven-and-a-half hours on Wednesday following a marathon 17-hour session on Tuesday.
What information has leaked out of the room suggests there has been incremental progress, but that the two sides had a long, long way to go to make a deal. On Tuesday it was reported that what Cohen was able to do was have the two sides not be emotional about the issues and just discuss them, so nobody has stormed out of the room and done anything rash. Like cancel a couple of weeks of games.
But that does not mean they are close to a deal, either.
The key issue remains the split of basketball related income (money the league gets from national television deals, ticket sales, clothing sales and so on down to some of the money from that beer you buy at games). In the last labor deal the players got 57 percent, the players had last formally offered to come down to 53 percent. The owners want a 50/50 split, and a different definition of BRI that lets them take more money off the top. Also tied to that are issues like length of contracts and the luxury tax, which would work as a form of revenue sharing.
Thursday’s negotiating session may not be long either as the owners have a second part of the Board of Governors meeting scheduled. Cohen had wanted to meet through the week when he first tried to set this up.
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