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 bierly

    Really..who cares...who really cares.....greed, greed, greed....moving on

    October 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      Really, who cares? Let them, pro baseball, football, hockey, soccer, and whatever other whiners being overpaid to play a GAME, just stay gone for a few years and see how they fair when they have to get REAL JOBS. Let 'em work minimum wage jobs for a time, then maybe they'd appreciate the ridiculously nice life they have.

      October 30, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. altheajj

    If either side had any moral character they would use the prior contract and get back to work so the hourly employees – consession workers, ticket takers, etc – could get back to work. Both the players and the owners make enough money to do the right thing.

    October 29, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Hasselhoff

    what??? they just cancelled novemberer games how can they make a deal? Lol. Stern is an idiot.

    October 29, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Eve

      Look at the publishing date for this article.. it was published Friday morning at 1:36AM, before they met to talk.

      October 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Johnson

    ... who cares? .. it's hockey season ....

    October 29, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ywalk

    cancel all games for the next 2 years, greedy players and owners, havn't been back to watch baseball since the strike and never will again – as usual who always gets screwed ? the paying fan

    October 29, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Disgusted

    Occupy the Staples Center
    Buncha whiny 1%ers always want more more more
    Greedy worthless ungrateful degenerates

    October 29, 2011 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. studdmuffins

    And here I was hoping the entire season was a wash.

    October 29, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. jimmy hoffa

    Union power. We will break the owners no matter how many people are hurt. Who cares what damage we do to the public. The Union is the most important thing at stake here. My players need to make 10s of millions per year. They have habits to support and many girlfriends in many cities to support. Dam the average Joe, he will just have to pay more.

    October 29, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • don

      At leastthis is a cintinuing farce Jimmy would never say that. Unfortunatly all the dportd are the same and so are the owners. What they have done is to price the avg person out of going to events. I hope this makes all thos fools happy

      October 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. salynvinigar

    keep sports in the sports section please.

    October 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. MackTheKnife

    Nope, white guys don't do those kinda things. Pedophilia is more their style. Yep, that's exclusively a white thing.

    October 29, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • tattootheworld


      October 30, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Fundaz

    Who need a NBA season!

    October 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DUSK

    At then end of the day the fans are the ones who end up paying. Stick it to us with ticket prices or merchandise. Who reps the FANS ? Occupy the NBA. hahha

    October 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DUSK

    Google serial killers in America. Whites take it to another level , they cook um eat um suck um. hahah

    October 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. huey

    No DEAL!! NO DEAL!! TV is so much nicer with no NBA! Let them sit idle or go wash dishes or dig ditches.

    October 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    I could care less if there is ever another NBA game.

    October 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
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