Michele Roberts says NBA, union already negotiating, hope to announce deal by end of season

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National Basketball Players Association executive director Michel Roberts said a lockout is unnecessary.

Apparently, she and NBA commissioner Adam Silver are at least acting seriously about avoiding a work stoppage.

Roberts in a Q&A with Davide Chinellato of La Gazzetta dello Sport, as translated by E. Carchia of Sportando:

How can the potential lockout be avoided in 2017?

“Sitting down at a table already now with the NBA to understand what worries the owners and what worries the players. In the past very few attempts to speak in advance of the problems that led to the lockouts have been made. Whether Both commissioner Silver and myself want to do everything possible to prevent the NBA to stop: the only way is to negotiate. We have already started, we will meet again in early September with the hope to announce within the end of the season that the union and the league have solved their problems. “

It’s troubling the owners and players hadn’t negotiated earlier in the process in previous years, but at least that’s a problem of the past.

The big issue is splitting revenue. Each side wants as much as possible, and the exact split will come down to leverage. It’s hard to see that getting resolved until much closer to the deadline for opting out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Either side can opt out by Dec. 15, 2016 effective June 30, 2017.

But the CBA is a complex document that sets protocol for things like max salaries, the age limit and trade rules. Both sides can establish their positions on those issues now.

I’m not optimistic for a new deal by the end of the season. There probably needs to be deadline approaching before everyone gets serious. But at least if there’s a scramble then, discussions now will leave less to discuss then.

This is a step in the right direction, even if it’s a small one.