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. Beezer

    If pigs could fly, we probably wouldn't eat as much pork.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Big_D

    David Stern is worthless and has made the NBA a joke.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack from Tennessee

      No truer words ever said!!!!

      October 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yes, I have to agree.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clint

    I for one could care less. Of the 4 major sports in North America, basketball, specifically the NBA, has now become my least favorite one to watch. I truly would like to see any major sport that goes on strike, especially in economic times such as these, totally implode on itself. Then, I would go back and ask the players if they thought that they were being paid enough prior to the strike. Chances are, they would say yes. I have 3 children and unless there is a clear exception of athletes (ie; Gretzky, Tom Watson, Joe Montana etc....) who have carried themselves exceptionally throughout their careers and beyond, have encouraged them to never idolize an athlete or look to them as role models. However, should they take the path of greed, selfishness or a god almighty complex, then by all means, professional athletes would be the way to go!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      The players are not on strike there is big difference between management locking the players out and the players going on strike.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Slither

    Who cares about the NBA. The game is over, DJ and Magic "I Have HIV" Johnson are done. They should fold, no one watches the game anymore!

    October 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JV

      Why even mention the HIV aspect of it? I mean you don't see me writing Slither Dbag is a moron. Oh wait.

      October 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    I don't care about the NBA anymore. They have permanently lost me as a fan.
    Bring on NCAA Ball !

    October 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Way to ruin the game.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jfogs1

    I hope that they never play another game again. Pro Basketball is just awful.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    Who cares about the NBA and all the millionaire thug "players"....fold it and let them go get a job and ask, "do you want fries with that..."

    October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. brizzolata

    w.t.f.c

    October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Troy Hung

    If they agreed on a system issue, they would move on to discuss on the BRI.
    Yet, neither the Union nor Stern could explain what the new system is, and they're already discussing about the BRI.

    Hmmm, something is fishy here.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan

    These overgrown egos are ruining the game, and the business owners that feed into their egos so they can reap the profits of greed. Americans are losing jobs, our school systems are failing, and they go on strike. Time for Americans to protest these Thugs, and move on. No more high ticket prices so they can drive their pricey cars, and live in mansion that they don't even live in. NBA should be ashamed and then dismantled it serves no need at all, but corrupt capitalism and promotes unhealthy idols for kids.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Oz

    What a disgrace...NBA screwed up BIG time...just sad for the players that just got drafted...they sure lost me as a fan..

    October 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. snowdogg

    So, NOBODY is making a decent living off the NBA? Gimmie a break !

    October 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bojackson

    I love the NBA. I love basketball. The last few years have been some of the most exciting basketball I have seen in a long time, and I have been watching since DR J. was on the court. I live for the period of time when the NCAA tournament is on, and then the NBA play-offs start. I can watch basketball ever evening. AWESOME. Haters here are simply ridiculous. This particular topic proves conclusively that people would rather post complaining, hateful posts, then say anything positive. This is a great country, and so I can say this... if you don't like it, don't watch... who cares. I for one will be watching... why... because I love the sport.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Portland Tony

    I'm into college hoops. Pro's are great entertainment, but that's it. But some people are fans and bet the pros as a sport. I don't.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
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