Monday, September 26, 2011
Source: Owners, union to meet Tuesday
ESPN.com news services
The NBA and its players' union will hold a bargaining session on Tuesday and possibly another on Wednesday, as both sides look to end a lockout that is threatening the 2011-12 season, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.
The players' association has canceled a regional meeting with players Tuesday in Miami so its negotiators can meet with league officials in New York instead, a person told The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity because the details were supposed to remain confidential.
The NBA postponed training camps indefinitely on Friday, a day after the latest negotiating session failed to produce a deal, and canceled 43 preseason games from Oct. 9-15. The lockout entered its 88th day on Monday.
Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.
Last week, both sides said they hoped to resume negotiations this week. If the NBA is to avoid losing regular-season games, a deal would need to be reached by mid-October.
It's unclear who will take part in the talks, though the expectation is it will again be small groups. NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, who leads the labor relations committee, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube represented the NBA last week. Hunter, NBPA president Derek Fisher of the Lakers, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy were on the union side.
The league locked out the players on July 1 after the expiration of the old labor agreement. Owners and players still haven't agreed on how to divide revenues -- players were guaranteed 57 percent under the previous deal -- or the structure of the salary cap.
On Monday, Fisher sent a letter to union members urging them to remain unified and patient. He said the owners remain divided on whether to insist upon a hard cap, which the players have opposed, and on a revenue sharing deal that would help close the gap between large- and small-market teams.
"There are a number of team owners that will not lose the season over the hard cap system. We've been clear from Day 1 of this process that we cannot sign off on a deal that attempts in any way to include a hard salary cap for our teams. That has not changed," Fisher said.
During Thursday's negotiations, the league offered players a 46 percent share of basketball-related revenue, 11 percent less than they received in the last deal and 7 percent less than the last proposal by players, a league source told ESPN The Magazine's Bucher.
In negotiations, the players' union had offered to reduce its percentage to as much as 54 percent, with the stipulation that a mechanism would be instituted to reward the players if future revenue increased, the source said.
The owners agreed to try to come up with a mechanism to solve their issues without adding a hard salary cap before the next meeting, according to the source.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.