Here is where things finally stand — tomorrow is the big deal, best offer, drop-dead date for the NBA labor negotiations. If things go poorly on Tuesday, well, hope you have some NBA games stored on your DVR to watch.
There was a five-hour meeting Monday between commissioner David Stern and the heads of the NBA players union that was described as setting the table for a meeting Tuesday that starts at high noon. Which sounds suspiciously like nothing really happened Monday from where I sit. About 10 owners and a number of players are expected to attend Tuesday in New York.
If serious progress cannot be made, you can expect the rest of the preseason to be cancelled and the postponement of the regular season will be right behind it.
Which again leaves me feeling like Charlie Brown running up to kick the football. With David Stern as Lucy. When was the last time one of these big meetings went well?
It sounds like on Tuesday they are finally going to get around to the elephant in the room — the split of Basketball Related Income (or BRI). In the old deal the players got 57 percent and they have come as far down in their offers as 53 percent while the owners have offered only 48 percent to the players. In real dollars, that’s a $200 million difference in year one of a six year deal.
“We’re apart on the split. But we know that the answer lies somewhere between where they were and where we are.”
“I think if there’s a will we’ll be able to deal with both the split and with the system issues.”
“Each side has reserved its right to be where it is, knowing that there is a heart-to-heart that will ultimately take place.”
You can take that as the honest truth or as Stern setting the table to smack the players not having the will to get a deal done if he doesn’t like the offer. Even though the players have given more so far than the owners.
Union president Derek Fisher echoed the same sentiment, that Tuesday was going to be a key day in the negotiations.
Come back to PBT tomorrow, we’ll get you the news. Even if we feel like Charlie Brown flying helplessly through the air.