Why an NBA deal might be in sight
Labor peace at last? NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday that a deal with the players' union could be near.
October 28th, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Why an NBA deal might be in sight

Friday might be a day when huge strides are taken to end the NBA’s three-month lockout, with both the league’s commissioner and the director of the players’ union indicating the sides are closer than ever to clinching a labor deal.

“I think we’ll get there tomorrow,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday, after the sides negotiated for 22 hours over two days, including a 15-hour session Wednesday.

The sides are meeting Friday in New York. Stern’s outlook was in stark contrast to the mood among union and league officials last week, when disagreements over how to split revenue between owners and players suspended the negotiations and had the league – which already had canceled the season’s first two weeks – threatening to call off more games. If a deal is struck on or near Friday, games could begin in early December, according to SI.com’s Ian Thomasen.

“I think we’re within … striking distance of getting a deal,” Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told reporters after Thursday’s negotiations.

Here are just some of the issues separating the sides and an explanation of why the sides may be close to a resolution:

- The league says it lost as much as $300 million last season, with most of its 30 teams in the red. Team owners want to address this by keeping more basketball-related income for themselves. Last year, the players took 57% of the pool, with the owners keeping the rest. For the new deal, the owners want a 50-50 split, but the players haven’t offered anything less than 52.5% for themselves, CNN partners SI.com and NBA.com have reported. The gap equates to tens of millions of dollars.

- The sides are negotiating whether the league will solidify its salary cap or continue allowing teams to surpass it through certain exemptions. They also are discussing whether the luxury tax threshold – the point at which the league starts charging teams money for going well beyond the salary cap – should be lowered. The league generally wants this threshold lowered to create a more competitive balance, so that big-market teams with deep pockets will think twice about spending so much.

The players, though, are against a tougher penalty against big-spending teams, believing this will restrict their chance at a big payday with a large-market team.

“As (NBPA President) Derek Fisher continually says … he doesn’t want a system where players can’t go to the Lakers or go to the Knicks or go to the Bulls because the luxury tax is so high, those teams aren’t going to be willing to pay it,” TNT’s David Aldridge reported Thursday.

- Aldridge says he believes the luxury tax “is key to unlocking this whole thing.”

“They’re close on it. They’ve made movement on it,” he said Thursday night. “If they can get a system that they think those teams and those cities can live with, then they’re going to be willing, I think, to move on BRI (basketball-related income). I don’t have sourcing on that; that’s just the sense of the room that I have right now.”

- If the sides nail down the luxury tax issue, the revenue split still will need to be addressed, and that’s “the hardest move,” Aldridge said.

“It’s going to be extremely hard for the players to go below 52%,” he said. “I think they could go 52, (but) it’s going to be very hard for them to go below 52. Conversely, it’s going to be very hard for the league to come above 50, which is where they are.”

“If the league meets the union halfway on the luxury tax, I think the union can maybe do a … tougher lift with the BRI, and that could get this thing solved,” Aldridge said.

- Most important to keep in mind, according to Aldridge: The league hasn’t canceled any more games, despite previous threats to do so.

And The New York Times reported Thursday that the NBA has been asking arenas to keep themselves available to the league in late April, when its regular season normally is finished. That indicates the league could still be interested in a full season, according to NBA.com.

“We’ve got five or six guys in a room who are ready to make a deal, and if they can keep everybody else at arm’s length for another day, I think we might have it,” Aldridge said.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. david burns

    I pray every night that the season is cancelled. Let these overpaid, undereducated punks get a job at walmart.

    October 30, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. realmike

    That's great news. Can we raise taxes on the ballers and owners? That would be even better.

    October 30, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tom Atkins

    If it's not profitable they shouldn't have bought the team, or sell it if they want. Why is it the players problem that the owners need more money?

    October 30, 2011 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. No Headroom

    Occupy the NFL.....we the 99.9% that don't give a crap about this sport for morons.

    October 30, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • No Headroom

      "NBA"

      October 30, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chewy

    Let 'em walk. With a $1.6M minimum salary they have no reason to miss so much as a practice, regardless of what a brainless punk like Iverson would have said. No one will care if the season is cancelled anyway.

    October 30, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. BOB

    I care only enough to say, "I don't care."

    October 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dave p

    who cares about those way over-paid b ball players,fire them all and let them work at k mart ?

    October 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pmk1953

    Stupid owners throw millions of dollars at un- or under educated genetic freaks and whine and cry after finding out they shot themselves in the wallet. Rich bast@rds with oversized egos and over priced toys (teams) don't deserve any sympathy. If PROFFESIONAL basketball. baseball and soccer vanished I would rejoice. Oh, take golf with them.

    October 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. malibu123

    The NBA sucks. Cancel the season......

    October 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nytw

    This is the worse new of the weekend. If anyone associated with the NBA had any common decency they would just shut the league down.

    October 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nytw

    This league should not have a season. In late February whey should just have a draw to place all the teams in a bracket. Then have a tournament with all the rounds being 4 or 7.
    No one but ESPN and TBS care about the regular season anyway.

    October 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Out of sight, out of mind.....It is amazing to me, that being in a NBA city, there has been almost zero discussion on the talk shows about the NBA, about the strike etc.....you would think that there would be some discussion....I guess the fans have moved onto other things........I will miss it, being a season ticket holder, but actually I have filled the gap with other sporting activities, mostly college and high school.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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