We’re past the point where saying “at least they’re still talking” makes me feel very good. Yet that’s the only real takeaway from Tuesday’s marathon NBA labor negotiation session.
NBA owners and players met for 16 hours on Tuesday and the best news anybody had to report — all off the record, as there were gag orders — is that federal mediator George Cohen was able to keep the emotion out of it and put in a few potential building blocks. But there was no real progress on the elephant in the room — how to divide up the money, the split of basketball related income. And while the two sides say they are stuck on “system issues” like the luxury tax, know that the luxury tax is another debate about how to divide up the money.
Not good, not good at all. The only winners appear to be midtown New York hotel owners who get to rent out conference rooms for negotiations. They could still be making money for a while.
It’s good that they two sides will meet again Wednesday, and it’s good that David Stern didn’t walk out of the room and cancel more games. But there was no significant breakthrough in a marathon negotiating session Tuesday (and into Wednesday morning). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo had a good quote on the issue.
Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: “On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going.”
“Nothing has been agreed to,” said a person who was briefed on the talks. “There was nothing to say.”
Don’t expect as long a session on Wednesday. In part because guys will get exhausted, and in part because the NBA Board of Governors (the official voting body made up of the owners) is also meeting in New York. NBA Commissioner Stern will need to be in two places at once on Wednesday.
So feel good that they are at least talking, it is better than the alternative. But it’s hard to feel positive right now.