One more week, 30 hours of negotiations, this time with a federal mediator George Cohen, with and without sick David Stern, and still, the NBA players and owners seem hundreds of millions of dollars apart, and more of the season getting cancelled is now in jeopardy.
The owners seem to be showing they’re into a 50-50 deal. A 50-50 in basketball revenue sharing is something the public probably feels is fair. But it’s not 50-50, not really. We’re not prepared to let them impose a system on us that eliminates guarantees, reduces contract lengths, diminishes annual increases, eliminates other exceptions, severely restricts the Larry Bird exception. That was Billy Hunter, after another round of talks broke off.
Derek Fisher has seemed to go into combat mode, talking and looking much more aggressive in his stance for the union. The general feeling that the owners are happy with this lockout and trying to stall the current situation even longer isn’t helping with relations - I want to make it clear that you guys were lied to earlier. It’s that simple. We spent the last few days making our best effort to try to find resolution. It wouldn’t be a win for us, it wouldn’t be a win for them, but one that we felt would get our game started, get our guys back on the court, get the vendors back to work, get the arenas opened, get these communities revitalized. And in our opinion, that’s not what the NBA and the league is interested in at this point. They’re interested in telling you one-sided stories that are not true.
Billy Hunter had to add - pre-planned, pre-ordained, pre-destined. Big picture? Nothing has changed since July 1. That’s nearly four months. Still the BRI, the heart of everything. The players won’t go down below 52.5% it seems. And why should day? They have nothing to gain in these negotiations – contract length, guaranteed money and other perks. If They don’t hold on to at least one edge, which is the bigger share of the Basketball related income, what do they have left?
Bryant Gumble ripping into David Stern isn’t helping the overall atmosphere of these non-friendly labor negotiations. I think he did go to far with his racial comparisons, but he hasn’t missed by a whole lot. Stern isn’t fond of the current generation of players and its superstars. Too much power, he thinks. Stern has been in his position for too long as well. Time for a change, for the benefit of both sides.
More cancellations? Those will come if this lockout continue, although some voices have hinted that the entire 82 game season can still be saved. Others insist that if a deal isn’t reached this week, we can chalk off the season up until the X-mas games. We understand the ramifications of where we are. We’re saddened on behalf of the game. Coming from the NBA’s side of the fence, the owners, I find that hard to believe.