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. robert keenan

    I really dont care anymore.. They already blew it as far as im concerned.. Deal or not I will not be watching..

    October 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scarf

      Do not go to games, watch on TV or buy anything NBA related. I have not and would not ever. I like and follow basketball but more college than pro. Too many other sport fish in the sea so to speak.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factors

      Bunch of clowns. With the average cost for a family of 4 to attend an NBA game now at just under $300.00, all of these people – evry one of them can KISS MY A$$!!!

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

    We should all feel sorry for billionaire owners and their millionaire employees.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The GOAT

    I lean a bit more towards the players, but loathe to take sides in an argument between two factions of rich people. Just get the deal done guys! As great as the season was last year, I still can't believe you'd risk losing any momentum going into this season.

    And one more thing... GO MAVS!!!!!

    October 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. EL Pete

    How about 30% for the players 30% for the owners and 30% reimbursed to the fans who made them both overly rich in the first place. Then maybe i can afford to take my family to a game – prices are rediculous.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Elessidel

    “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,”

    I'm shocked-Derek Fisher doesn't want his Lakers to have to compete w/ the rest of the league on a level playing field? Simply shocked......

    October 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tim

    Who cares? Bunch of overpaid, uneducated ghetto boys!

    October 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Give Me a Break

    I'm not going to say the NBA isn't worth watching, but I will say they are paid far more than they should be. I don't care at all how this ends up resolved, both sides have ridiculous amounts of money. If I had to pick a side, I'd side against the players if it's true some teams came out in the red.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LD

    I have gone to every venue of the NBA, I have spent thousands of dollars in the last 20 years, I will never never ever attend another NBA game as long as I live, if another thousand people do this , or more maybe they will feel this , I hope so. I' AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS BS, you just lost one of your most devoted fans forever. Good luck you greedy buch of so called, whatever. GOOD BYE FOR GOOD.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I used to be a NBA fan, for years. No longer. I will stick to the NCAA, NFL, and WNBA. You lost another fan because of greed and selfishness.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      If you have a problem with greed, why do you still watch the NFL?

      October 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hippediva

    No one cares.

    October 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WRJR1647

    Better hurry – not one person I know has even mentioned basketball, let alone missing it. No one has said a word – couldn't care less.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    Because they are all starving ???

    October 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Weck

    NBA losing crowded seats???
    Good for you.....

    October 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lance

    After an amazing season the NBA rewards its fans with a lockout.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NBA going Bankrupted :(

    Poor NBA players for not graduating high school. Well, McDonalds hiring. Or you can wait for Obama's stimulus package or welfare checks!!! They are excellent.

    No corporate jets, first class hotel, etc.

    October 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
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