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. Bill Russell

    Nobody cares!

    October 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eric Fargo

    Lets get this thing done already. I'm already thinking about the 2011 draft.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/912393-2012-nba-mock-draft-full-first-round-where-will-perry-jones-land

    October 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shawn

    Labor causing the business to lose money. Then the union fights to keep the nba losing money and favor big markets over small. See unions don't care. Nba should shrink to only the big markets and fire the rest.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      unions?........LoL. They are NOT a union. I was in a union and we all made the same . The NBAPA is a good old boys club. It sickens me when they are called a union. I WORKED for my money, not played a game.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The1%

    I for one can only hope it falls apart and the NBA season is cancelled and the NBA returns to the 4th rate sport it was before the NHL lockout of 1994.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat2u

    I don't really care. I like to cheer for The Waterboy while watches me foolsball.
    WhoooboythathotstuffIgarontee.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    GREED is whats in play.... All Fans should turn of TV spend time with loved ones. When NBA games are on.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chuck

    With Baseball having one of the greatest World Series in recent memory, The NFL going stronger than ever, College Football rocking it every weekend, College Basketball coming up, and the NHL to fall back on.... DO we really need the NBA?

    October 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    It's the same problem with baseball ... The big teams with the big money want to monopolize the sport... Luckily in MLB, the team with the best players doesn't usually win & we get small market & big market champions... BUT... NBA is all about talent, you either have it or you don't... They need a harder cap or a penalty that does deter the rich teams from monopolizing the talent. It's hard enough to compete with the Florida teams because the players don't pay state income tax... This is why Pat Riley has such an easy time recruiting guys. Why should the Knicks, Lakers, & Bulls have a pre-determined advantage over the rest of the league cause they can break the bank?

    October 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DarkMeister

    I sincerely hope they DON'T reach an agreement anytime soon. Been so nice to turn on the TV and not see this boring sport plastered all over the channels.

    Want to make the game exciting? Raise the net 3 feet and make it move, then they would need real skill again.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Andreas Moser

    What is an NBA?

    October 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. astro24102

    who cares.....The NBA is quickly becoming my least favorite sport. Please don't reach an agreement. I would rather watch a movie.

    Everyone should just skip going to games this year and have them play in front of empty stadiums

    October 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Big_D

    I was a long time NBA fan but the fake games are not even worth worrying about. We have a bunch of horrible people with way too much money playing a game they can't even follow the rules of. I will save my money and watch local sports and college teams. You can go pay these millionaire babies with somebody else's money, not mine.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Big_D

    Just imagine if we spent all this NBA money making our kids better schools. It would be a much better use of money.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big_D

    NBA – NOT BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION – They make professional wrestling look real the way they call the games in the NBA.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anthony

    "I don't care about the NBA (or whatever else the story happens to be about)."

    -internet troll

    Then why are you 1) reading the story and 2) taking the time to comment?!?!?

    October 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big_D

      I did care about the NBA. I was a fan for decades. I am mad that they have turned the game to junk. I do want an NBA. I want a NBA with rules that are uniformly enforced. You don't have to watch Kobe or LeBraun take four steps to know the NBA is fake. I want real basketball back, and I want it to take the place of the NBA.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big_D

      You try and keep your cool after raking out hundreds for tickets to watch your team beat by bad officiating year after year.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
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