New hope or just glaring shots in the dark, aimed at nothing? Tuesday was the talk on friday – THE deadline. Now, we wait for friday, a day after the 2011 NBA drat, which hasn’t been getting the usual media coverage and talk it usually does. First of all, the talent pool this year isn’t as lucrative. Lockout notions are to blame. Sometimes, the talent isn’t that great. Although we can only be a judge of that in a few years I guess. For now, the future of the 2011-2012 NBA season is at hand.

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Reasons for optimism? Both sides decided it’s time to take a step down from their high grounds and make an effort to end the labor disagreement. The players union made the first move, with Billy Hunter grabbing the reigns.

They want to keep the “soft” salary cap but reducing 500 million dollars in salaries, 100 for each year. The owners wanted the players to reduce the 2.1 Billion number by 700 million dollars, and the players made a significant move towards them. The owners are asking for a 10 year agreement with something called a flex cap – They don’t mind keeping the Larry Bird and Mid-Level exceptions, but there will be some sort of a maximum team salary. Words and titles sounds like to me.

David Stern, as always taking the owners side, said he thought the players’ 500 million dollar offer to be ‘modest’. He said he also thought that despite the apparant progress made, he tought that’d he see more concessions from the players. Stern said that the average salary would drop to around 5 million dollars, and the owners are still seeking a 50-50 split with the players on the league’s revenue. The players? They’re seeking a five year deal, and are willing to drop from the 57% today to 54% and rising to 55% in the fifth year.

Back to the owners – They’re willing to give a minimal raise on salaries each year on their 10 year proposal, but in a way that will drop the players’ share of the revenue to around 40% come the 10th season of the agreement, all according to sources and rumors. If that is a true number the moguls are planning on, I don’t see any chance of this deal ever been brokered and sealed.

Derek Fisher, the players’ association president said that despite seeing Tuesday’s as a productive meeting, the sides are still far apart, especially on the whole max salary cap issue. “Our players just don’t see that as the best way to tackle some of the things at least we’ve been given by owners as to reasons why we need a hard salary cap.” Stern was being political as usual in summing things up – The sides have a different characterization of what the league proposed.

Next up? Friday, and a whole lot of bargaining it seems.