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After 15 hours of meetings, “some progress” in NBA labor talks

Oct 27, 2011, 3:50 AM EDT

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I’ve got to say this for the owners and players, when they sit down to talk they don’t get up.

NBA owners and players union representatives met for more than 15 hours in New York Wednesday — going until 3:20 a.m. Thursday morning. The two sides will get back at it on Thursday at 2 p.m. (with David Stern saying he would have a conference call with the owners Labor Relations Committee prior that).

Out of all that we have a glimmer of hope.

“The energy in the room has been good, the back and forth has been good,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said

Through the day Thursday there were multiple reports that the two sides made progress discussing “system issues” — things such as the luxury tax and length of contracts. Both sides confirmed that.

“We were able to work through a number of different issues today regarding our system,” union president Derek Fisher said. “We can’t say that major progress was made in any way but there was some progress on some of our system issues.”

That leaves the big issue — the split of revenue, or basketball related income (BRI) — untouched. BRI was not discussed at all on Wednesday, both sides confirmed.

“I think we’ll turn to the split when we finish with the system…” Stern said. “Right now it has been profitable to turn to the system.”

In the old system the players got 57 percent of BRI, they have offered to come down to 52.5 percent, but the owners have not budged off 50 percent. The system issues the two sides discussed would impact salaries and BRI, but at the end of the day the split is the key issue.

However, some in the negotiations believe that if they can solve the system issues the BRI will become easier and almost fall into place.

Maybe. Maybe not. What is undeniable is this bargaining session left a general sense of optimism that things might be moving forward again.

Remember, however, that this has been the pattern in the past. When it is a small group led by Stern and Hunter progress is made, but when that progress is presented to larger groups of players or owners that is when things blow up. That is when the hardliners step in.

Still, “some progress” will lead to some hope we will see NBA basketball soon.

“I can’t describe (the progress made) other than to say it’s better than not making any progress at all,” Stern said.

  1. philiplewis1 - Oct 27, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    Amazing the lack of interest by fans in all this compared to the NFL negotiations a few months ago. Wonder if the league and the players recognize they’re not as popular as they think. I would love to see a revamped NBA, i.e. no David Stern, a revamped officiating crew, some rule changes to make the game more like the rest of the world, etc. With a little work, it could almost be as good as college basketball and March Madness.

    • skids003 - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      These guys dont realize just how unimportant they are. They think the world not only revolves around them, but it owes them.

  2. latrobe21 - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    @ philip,

    Nobody cares about the NBA, anymore. It was great when Magic and Bird went at each other in the 1980s. That’s the last time I watched games with any interest. When they left, the Association was going to die so they propped up Jordan as its savior. Let him “travel”, carry the ball, and gave him all kinds of calls to manufacture a star and create interest. Since the interest was manufactured and centered on one guy, interest was also short-lived. The Association would have been better off manufacturing two stars to go head-to-head to maintain interest. Through Jordan, the NBA transformed from a team game to a me game. Now it’s a league of spoiled, greedy babies.

  3. aduklips - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Minimum NBA salary for a first year player: $473,604; for the second year $854,389. Billionaire owners. Why should anyone give a hoot?

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