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. Juan Pizzolua

    The only reason the NBA deal will be completed is that more than half the players are already out of money and they need their drug fix. Just think of all the poor drug dealers that have suffered through this economic catastrophe.

    October 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      gettin' awful close to a racist remark.

      October 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Leaky Trojan

      Not to mention that there are a lot of drug dealers named Juan so I am not sure this Juan has a lot of room to imply things of other races. Just ignorant.

      October 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. i_know_everything


    October 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SnafuBob

    I've already decided not to watch any games, playoffs, or final this year. As if these crybabies aren't making enough money, totally absurd. Even the scrubs/ bench warmers make far more many than any average Joe, wanting 50/50 split...makes me want to throw up my pepper steak I just ate....bastages.

    October 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. you idiot

    @ lorne
    Where is he speaking about black people, your the one who's thinks only black people being drug dealers, Yup!

    October 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Where is lorne speaking about black people?

      October 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maximus

    None of this would be happening if Al Sharpton were President of the United States of America!

    October 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. B-man

    Please oh please don't sign an agreement. I want these players to get exactly what they are worth, $0.00.

    October 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    They need to get this done, not for the fans, but for society. If the players don't get back to work soon, they will revert to their old ways of crime. Then we all will pay dearly. Think of all of those criminals with time on their filthy hands?

    October 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. you idiot

    @ John, have you been doing drugs? what the h@ll are you talking about ?

    October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Your screen name seems to fit. Are you so stupid that you can't understand what I said?

      October 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOPHIA

      yeah I know John's doing drugs along witht he other idiots with stupid remarks.. Can't even make a freakin free throw..

      October 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TruthHurts

    Hurry up NBA..the only good sport on TV right now is NFL. Hockey and Baseball are terrible replacements.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      NBA is garbage, watch the last 2 mins and you've caught the important part of the game.

      October 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. you idiot

    NFL RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SOPHIA

    I agree with the NBA players. I'm in a union and the top people are using the economy to screw the playerss. Eventhou they still get their raises just lilke my company did us.. Nothing for us because of the economy but you still get your money. Some of the comments out there are really racist and stupid... Don't hate on the players because your ass is broke and dumb!!

    October 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe the fat Autoworker

      Unions make sure the Top is held back while the bottom feeders get paid.

      Take the NBA for example, they want to make sure the successful franchises have to share profits with the armpits of the league (Hi there Cleveland!). And players like Kobe will take cuts in pay so benchwarmers like Greg Odun can get 8 million a year.

      October 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bayvilleboy

    Hoops is my favorite sport by far, it would be great if things got resolved and the season started! As far as Johns weird comment about crime, I think he was referring to the wrong league. Good thing the football lockout got taken care of, the NFL is the sports league with the felony problem, not the NBA.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. UnitedCenter

    The NBA will be back in Jan........just watch

    October 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. you idiot

    @ John splain ! LOL
    Na tell me what your sayin already!

    October 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sam

    Can someone explain the sharing part? Do the players get more money then there saleries?Also,Last year, the players took 57% of the pool. Yet they say they lost 300 million. that sounds like a negative number to me.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      many business that lose money still pay their employees, until BK- and unless you're the lakers or celtics you lost money

      October 29, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
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