This is about money. This entire lockout that could cost us a season. Yes, there are other things they could and should deal with — Henry Abbott did a good post discussing some of those — but in the end it is money. Specifically the split (and definition) of Basketball Related Income (BRI). Everything else in the negotiations is a slave to that issue.
But when the NBA owners and players union reps sit down next Monday in New York, union president Derek Fisher doesn’t want to just talk money.
Rather, the goal is to find some common ground on other issues and build some momentum before talking about the ginormous elephant standing in the room, Fisher told the Orange County Register.
Fisher said the players want to tackle the “system” issues of a new collective bargaining agreement — “just continuing to talk about the fact that a hard salary cap is not something we’re interested in, length of contracts, the annual percentage increases …” Fisher said — ahead of talking actually money numbers.
“We have agreed in some ways to maybe table the economic issues, if possible, and really focus on some of the system issues and some non-economic items that are still extremely important to rounding out a collective bargaining agreement,” Fisher said.
Fisher said NBA owners have so far viewed the negotiations differently, caring more about the bottom line than the system: “They want to get a number set, and then they’re not as concerned about the way the system looks if they get the right number. But we don’t think that’s the best way to approach it.”
Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to approach the talks — you can figure out lengths of contracts without discussing BRI, or you can tackle the big issue and expect once you solve that everything else falls into place.
But unless both sides are willing to compromise — a lot more than either side has so far — it doesn’t really matter what order things are discussed in.
Don’t get your hopes up about this meeting. Very little if anything likely will come out of it.