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June 30, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (2:03 PM)

Good afternoon from the NBA labor talks in Manhattan. Let's discuss this matter, shall we? Fire away ...

yahoo (houston)

You mentioned a 52/48 would be enough in your opinion to continue under the current system. Is that really something the owners and players are willing to do? Owners say the system is broken, players don't want a paycut.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:06 PM)

I don't think either side would be fully happy with that split, but in a negotiation this contentious you have to look for where the middle ground is. The reason I tweeted that 52(players)/48(owners) seemslike the settlement line is because it is way more money that the players would want to give back (roughly another $500 million) ut it is enough money (200 million per year in a five-year deal) to wipe out the owners' non-depreciation losses and give them a pretty big finncial victory without them having to shut down the business.

Vik (CLE)

hickson for casspi...your thoughts?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:07 PM)

The Cavs should have traded him 18 months ago for Stoudemire. Now he's only worth Casspi? That, folks, might be the depreciation line of the day.

Chris (San Diego)

Chris, who do you think is coming off worse from a public relations standpoint? IN a public clash between billionaires and millionaires, it's hard to actually sympathize with either side, but the players don't seem to have been trying at all in negotiations.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:10 PM)

I will be able to answer that question better at the close of business today when we see where things stand. For now, owners look like they are overreaching. Players have almost no leverage and look somewhat desperate. It is a PR debacle for both sides. But I should also mention that there are very high-ranking folks in the league office who believe the public ALWAYS sides with the owners in sports labor disputes. That is one of the things driving their hard-line tactics.

Damon (Santa Cruz, CA)

Don't players AND owners realize that John Q. Public doesn't care one iota about billionaire owners and millionaire players wanting to get even richer? Most people make a fraction of a decimal of what they make. Doesn't that play into negotiations at all?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:14 PM)

Yes, they both realize that there is an inherent danger in being seen as greedy vs. greedy, and most folks could give a dang about the details of these negotiations. But in sports, labor negotiations are major, major news because when things go wrong (see MLB, canceled World Series in 1995) they impact sports fans' lives in a major, major way. Hence, they must be covered as such. The disconnect between what these guys are making and what regular folks are making is neither here nor there. For instance, compare what you are making to what the person in a sweatshop who manufactured your sneakers is making. Does that play into your decision on which sneakers to buy? No. It is neither here nor there.

Regan (Rego Park, New York)

Don't you think the real fight in any lockout will is between big and small market teams and how they split revenue?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:16 PM)

That is a side fight in this negotiation, and is a fight that the owners are waging amongst themselves. The players want revenue sharing (or ticket sales and local TV money) to be a part of the overall solution, but the owners want to keep it as a side item outside of the CBA discussions. It is one of the main points of contention between the sides right now.

Ria (Philly)

Chris, are most teams really losing money unlike the NFL?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:18 PM)

The league says 22 are losing money. The union says at least half of those teams have paper losses only. Nobody disputes that there are SOME teams losing money, whereas in the NFL labor dispute they are fighting over the spoils generated by a league full of profitable teams.

Jonathan (NY)

Chris, what's your best guess as to what the next CBA will look like? Hard/soft cap, amount, bird rights, MLE?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:22 PM)

I tweeted this earlier, and I will repeat it here in more detail: I think the settlement will be something like this: A 52/48 a split of the money, only a few tweaks to the current operating system (e.g. a stiffer luxury tax, loosened trade rules) with all its current soft cap components, and shortened contracts -- five years for players staying with their own teams, four years for plyers switching teams. In financial terms, it would be a give of about $1 billion over five years by the players.

Mike, (Harrisburg, PA) [via mobile]

is there any chance of something happening today or in the near future that would garuntee a season next year, or is there little hope?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:25 PM)

There is always hope. I have been saying all along that this negtiation doesn't really start until the 11th hour, which arrived today. For all the bluster coming from D.Stern and the owners, they would be taking an enormous, enormous risk by shutting things down at a time when things are going so well. It makes a ton of sense for the owners to pocket as much money as possible and then settle without a lockout. Sorry for being so contrarian on that, but I cannot get past the fact that it makes too much sense for the owners to settle now, or this weekend.

Nino (Harlem)

Will there be Restricted Free Agency in the new CBA? Combine that with shorter contracts, and you can hear teams lining up already to go after Blake Griffin when his rookie deal expires.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:27 PM)

The union has asked that the period of time in which a team could match a RFA offer be reduced from the current 7 days. But that is one of numerous issues the sides have spent almost no time discussing. This is a financial negotiation much more than it is a system negotiation.

Michael (CT)

Could the NBA survive a missed season?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:28 PM)

Yes, but as a diminished, tarnished product. They don't want that, I would think.

Biju (NY)

Do you feel the potential lockout in the NBA is worse than the lockout from the 1998/99 season? I feel like this might be worse.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:32 PM)

If they go into a lockout, then yes, I feel it would be worse because there would be a sense of betrayal that would be hard to get past. In '98, there was a sense from both sides that an epic battle was inevitable. But that was when Hunter and Stern barely knew each other (somewhat similar to Goodell and Smith in the current NFL impase). Now, Stern and Hunter have developed a personal relationship. If they split up, they are going to hunker down and dig in their heels and punish the product and each other. It would not surprise me to see the entire '11-12 season go down the drain if it goes to a lockout.

Damon (Santa Cruz, CA)

Is it likely that the owners and union agree on major points today, with other, more relatively minor points (restricted free agency, for example) to be negotiated in good faith later? Or does it need to get done all at once?

Chris Sheridan
  (2:34 PM)

If they agree on the money split, the other pieces will fall into place. The money is the major thing. And if they don't move closer on the money today, they will not stop the clock at 11:59 p.m. tonight. If they DO move closer on the money and they stop the clock, they have the whole weekend (or longer) to jump from issue to issue before making the final agreement on the money split.

Nick (Hell's Kitchen, NY)

I hear the owners have an ace up their sleeve. They're bringing in Eddy Curry as Exhibit A re: why contracts can't be fully guaranteed, and more than 3 years.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:36 PM)

Believe me, his name has already come up many, many times. So many bad contracts have been brought up, they've even discussed Tariq Abdul-Wahad.

Shane (Los Angeles, CA)

Will the CBA expiring prevent player/coach contact like it did in the NFL? If so, what prevents the contact...is it the league itself, a labor law, federal statute? If it's the league, the NBA is only hurting itself by not allowing player-coach contact.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:37 PM)

Yes, player-coach contact is prohibited. That is a rule the NBA puts in so that everyone is on a level playing field.

Chris Sheridan
  (2:40 PM)

Sorry for the early exit, but people are stirring. This could be bad. I have to end this chat now.