NBA sides meeting in hopes of ending lockout
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – NBA owners and players were engaged in another marathon session Wednesday, meeting for more than 12 hours in talks aimed at ending the lockout.
The two sides got back to the table with a small group meeting less than a week after three intense days of mediation didn’t produce a new labor deal. Wednesday’s negotiations marked the second-longest bargaining session since the lockout began July 1.
Talks broke down last Thursday when players said owners insisted they agree to a 50-50 split of revenues as a condition to further discuss the salary cap system.
The first two weeks of the season already have been canceled, and there’s little time left to save any basketball in November. Commissioner David Stern has said he feared even games through Christmas would be in jeopardy if there wasn’t a deal last week.
Stern rejoined the talks Wednesday after missing last Thursday’s session with the flu. He was joined by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, owners Peter Holt of San Antonio, Glen Taylor of Minnesota and James Dolan of New York, and a pair of league office attorneys.
The union was represented by executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and vice president Maurice Evans of the Wizards, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy.
The players have lowered their proposal to 52.5 percent of basketball-related income, leaving the sides about $100 million apart annually, based on last season’s revenues. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of BRI under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
The system is the other chief hurdle. Seeking greater parity among their 30 teams, owners are looking to reduce the ways that teams can exceed the salary cap so that big markets won’t have a significant payroll advantage. They have proposed raising the taxes the highest spenders would pay, but players fear the penalties would be so punitive they would act like a hard salary cap.
The sides also are struggling over items such as the length of the deal, players’ contract lengths and the size of their raises.
Silver said last week it was “unclear” to him whether an 82-game schedule was still possible. The league could try to reschedule the lost games if a deal can be reached soon.