The pattern continues. First the NBA owners and players have an intense few days of negotiation. Then they break up with one side making an emotional outburst to the media. Then they cool off for a few days. Then they sit down at the table again and talk. And make incremental progress. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
NBA labor relations talks broke off last Thursday abruptly, despite the presence of a federal mediator, but the two sides will be back at the negotiating table on Wednesday, reports the New York Daily News.
The two sides are scheduled to meet in a midtown Manhattan hotel, according to league sources.
The resumption of talks is the reason the league held off on the cancellation of at least two more weeks of the regular season.
Not that it really matters if they cancel those games or not. Even if the two sides reached a deal this week — and with the gap of more than $1 billion over the course of the deal that is about as likely as Vin Diesel winning the Best Actor Oscar — they would have a hard time starting the season by Dec. 1. However, both sides see Christmas day games as a goal, a day that is usually almost a second opening day for the league, complete with marquee matchups on national broadcast networks.
When the two sides broke off talks last Thursday, they were miles apart on a new deal. The key gulf remains the owners demand for a 50/50 split of “basketball related income” — the players got 57 percent in the old deal and think they have made a major concession coming down to 52.5 percent. The owners want not only a larger slice of that pie but also to put in a new, harsher luxury tax to limit big spending teams as well as reductions of contract lengths and other steps that help them get out of bad deals. The players balk at giving up both percentage points and allowing a change in system.
But hey, they are talking again. So, if you want to be optimistic go ahead. Just be careful, they’ve burned us all before.