NBA owners and players are meeting in what NBA Players Association President Derek Fisher expected will be “a very huge day” for negotiations aimed at ending the lockout that began July 1.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics were among the players expected to meet with the owners’ labor relations committee in New York, with the fate of the Nov. 1 regular-season opener and perhaps the 82-game season at stake.
On Monday, Commissioner David Stern did not rule out simply starting the season later and playing a full 82 games. (Anybody for the Finals over the Fourth of July weekend?)
“As we said to the players, everything is negotiable,” Stern said, via ESPN. But he also said that “we haven't ever discussed this; it would be really great if we could start the season on time.”
Which means it’s back to this being a huge day and negotiations over revenue splits and agents urging players not to relent and Fisher sending a memo to players. Owners contend they lost $300 million last season and want to change the salary-cap system and revenue division. Players were guaranteed 57 percent in the old collective bargaining agreement; owners are proposing 46 percent.
“We’re apart on the split, but we know that the answer lies between where they were are, where we are,” Stern said. “And without defining ours or defining theirs, I think if there’s a will, we’ll be able to deal with both the splits and the system issues.”
Forty-three preseason games, scheduled for Oct. 9-15, and training camps are already casualties of the lockout. Both sides say that, after an agreement is reached, about a month would be needed to prepare for the season.