Sources: Owners talk revenue sharing

Updated: October 25, 2011, 9:36 PM ET
By Henry Abbott | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- NBA owners met Tuesday in New York to discuss revenue sharing between high-revenue and low-revenue teams, sources directly involved in the talks said.

More than 10 owners and a large number of team staff were present, while other owners and staff joined the talks by phone, sources said.

The meeting followed a New York Daily News report that the league plans to announce it is canceling another two weeks of regular-season games on Tuesday. The NBA already has canceled its entire preseason and first two weeks of regular-season games.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that representatives for the NBA owners and players talked Monday. The sources did not say whether the parties met in person, but said the discussions were lengthy and related to collective bargaining.

Revenue sharing remains a major issue in the NBA lockout, which entered its 117th day Tuesday. Commissioner David Stern has said the owners will address the system after the owners and players agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, while the players have insisted it be part of a new CBA.

Tuesday's owners' meeting was the continuation of a conversation that began at the league's Board of Governors meeting Oct. 19-20 in New York. At that time, deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the league planned to dramatically increase the amount high-revenue teams share with low-revenue teams from roughly $60 million to about $150 million per season.

Eight NBA teams made a combined $150 million in profit last year, while 22 lost a combined $450 million, for a combined league-wide loss of $300 million, league sources say. Sharing an amount equal to the total combined profits of the moneymaking teams clearly has the potential to be complex.

"A few of our owners," Silver told reporters at the time, "remarked after the robust revenue discussion last night that we might want the assistant of the federal mediator for our revenue sharing discussions, as well."

Silver also has cautioned that revenue-sharing talks have "in no way" impeded progress in talks with the players. But evidently the union disagrees.

NBA players' union executive director Billy Hunter told Grantland's Bill Simmons on Monday that "there appears to be some impediment" in talks with the NBA, adding, "I think revenue sharing is the elephant in the room right now."

Henry Abbott is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com who founded TrueHoop. Information from ESPN The Magazine senior writer Chris Broussard was used in this report.

Henry Abbott | email

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