Friday, October 28, 2011
Mason postpones charity game amid talks
By Jared Zwerling
NEW YORK -- On the way out of a midtown New York City hotel where Friday's NBA labor talks were taking place, Knicks guard and union VP Roger Mason Jr. said he's putting off his charity game until potentially a later date.
"We're trying to get a deal done," Mason Jr. said.
He had originally planned to host a showcase on Saturday at his alma mater's gym, University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena, where former ACC stars, who are now in the NBA, would have faced an NBA-select team featuring Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay and John Wall. Proceeds from the event would have gone to a charity Mason Jr. is involved with, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
On Friday afternoon, around 5 p.m. in the hotel lobby, Mason Jr. stood next to NBPA VP Maurice Evans as the union's executive director, Billy Hunter, and president, Derek Fisher, addressed the media. It was an unusually early dismissal from the two previous days of negotiations, with the first one ending at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday and the second ending at 9:30 p.m. yesterday.
Hunter and Fisher said system and economic issues were both discussed on Friday, and the reason for the break was that the owners put out a "take it or leave it" on a 50/50 BRI split, but the players stood strong on 52 percent.
"We've already made a lot of concessions," said Fisher, who mentioned the union dropped from 53 percent. "We're not sure when we'll meet again, but we're going to try and close it out."
After Hunter said there's a high probability that more games will be canceled, league commissioner David Stern confirmed during his press conference with his right-hand man, Adam Silver, that November's entire schedule would be nixed.
"We need about a 30-day window to get games underway," Stern said. "The cancellations aren't punitive, but calendar-generated. It’s not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now under any circumstances."
Stern said that both sides made "major progress" on several system issues, such as length of guaranteed contracts and exceptions for Larry Bird rights, but he reiterated what Hunter said: it came down to the revenue split. After the league once again pushed for 50/50, Hunter closed his notebook and walked out of the room.
"We need to be in a profit situation," Stern said. "We believe 50/50 will be the most profitable for us."