NBA labor negotiations update

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has been covering the NBA labor negotiations. Here’s what happened on Tuesday:

The players say they were ready to make what they thought was a very meaningful economic offer to the owners. But before they did, they wanted to know that the soft cap would remain.

In response to that, the owners did what both sides have done many times, and left the bargaining table to confer among themselves. (At CBA meetings, both sides typically have “caucus rooms” for just this purpose.) The owners huddled for three hours before deciding they would not respond to the players’ offer. Meeting over.

Later, the careful Stern decided to share with the public that the 11 owners in the room were not unified on how to handle the players’ offer:

“As you might guess, I don’t know how many owners we had, but we had as many views … We were not unanimous in every aspect of it. But all of the owners were completely unified in the view that we needed a system that at the end of the day allowed 30 teams to compete. And we went back to the players and said that although we have some ideas, we’ve been talking to each other, agreeing, disagreeing, coming up with everything that we possibly could to see if there was still time to save the season, it actually didn’t make sense for us to respond to their non-negotiable demand that everything remain the same that it was, and that we’d be best off going back and reporting to our respective sides at the meetings we’d have on Thursday.”

On Thursday, after his meeting with the owners, this is what Stern had to say:

“It is the view of the board and the committee that an individual team salary cap, as opposed to a league-wide salary cap, is preferred and the better way to go. But as we told the union, and will continue to tell them, everything is negotiable.”

“The vast majority of owners are in favor of a hard cap system. Having said that, they have authorized the committee to be willing to negotiate on all points, and the committee is.”

“I get reports that the union is coming out of their meeting today unified. We think that’s a good thing. We would like to negotiate with a strong union capable of delivering a deal.”

“The clock is ticking, but it hasn’t struck midnight yet. We’ve got time to do what needs to be done, and we’d like to do it, actually.”

“There’s nothing scheduled right this minute because we’re traveling back to New York and I assume the union is traveling back to New York. But we’ll both be in New York starting [Friday] and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some conversation that was going on.”

It sounds like there is a sense of urgency right now in an attempt to get the season started on time, but I wonder if that’s going to go away once/if everyone realizes that it isn’t going to happen.

If I had to guess, I’d still bet that we miss a month or two of the season, though it doesn’t seem like the two sides are as far apart as they once were.

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