What is the bottom line after two long days of talks between NBA owners and players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement?
“We remain very far apart… I’d say we’re apart on everything, despite both sides having moved.” David Stern said, as tweeted by Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Derek Fisher, players union president, said almost the exact same thing.
It doesn’t get any better as you look more deeply into the comments.
“No change at all. What has changed is maybe the mechanism, the system somewhat in maybe how we get there. We tossed around some ideas in that regard, but there is no hiding the fact that the main components of what we originally received in their proposal have not changed at all,” union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. “So from that standpoint, there hasn’t been much of a negotiation because that really hasn’t changed.”
Both Stern and members of the players union said the good news everyone is talking. More negotiations are scheduled for next week, either in Miami or New York (depending on the finals).
Talking is good, but it is very different that compromising to make a deal. But both sides threw around words like “gap” and “far apart” liberally. Stern said there was still time to make a deal before the lockout begins July 1, but the odds of that seem long. Theoretically they could extend the current deal to keep things going (like Summer League and free agency), but Stern said they would only do that if a deal were close. And, as he said, that’s not the case.
The owners are looking for major changes to the current economic system in the NBA, including a roll back of salaries, non-guaranteed deals and a harder cap. However the number that really will matter is percentage of Basketball Related Income (BRI) the owners get back. Currently 57 percent of BRI that comes in (money from ticket sales, television rights and more) goes to the players, 43 percent to the owners. The owners want a bigger slice of that pie. The players like their pie.
You can bet BRI is one of the numbers the two sides remain far apart on. But, they are talking without a judge involved, so go ahead and hold out hope. Just ignore all the times they say “gap.”