NEW YORK — The fear factory that is the NBA Lockout is pumping out no new progress according to sources out of New York. The players and owners met yesterday in what turned out to be a tense meeting with awkward exchanges and proof that a new deal is nowhere near being put in place.
David Stern went on an intense power trip last week exclaiming he will cancel the whole regular season if a deal isn’t reached this weekend. He backed off those comments, which may or may not have been taken out of context, by saying individual games will begin to be cancelled next should a new CBA deal not be reached.
If the top NBA stars who showed up to the meeting share mutual feelings across the board, then don’t expect a deal to be done by Monday. The NBA’s top players (who are just now showing up to meetings) stood in on the bargaining session between Union head Billy Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern who was accompanied by 10 owners.
It was like a scene out of The West Side Story where the two gangs meet up and duke it out. The only difference was the duking was done with words and the singing was (depending on who you are) thankfully absent. The talks almost fell flat and hard on their faces when at one point it seemed the 21 players in attendance, ranging from Dwayne Wade to Elton Brand to Andre Iguodala, were going to storm out of the session in anger.
The day of talks can be summed up in terms of tone and progress in one instance: At one point David Stern was making a remark and pointing in the direction of Miami heat star Dwayne Wade. Wade took this as belittlement (heightened by his anger at the NBA) and lashed out at Stern, shouting: “You’re not pointing your finger at me, I’m not your child.”
With David Stern cowering and requesting he meet with Hunter privately, Hunter was able to calm the players down and finish the session without further incident.
The players are firmly stood behind Hunter and their fellow players with New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony saying, “When we go in there, we go in as a unit. We stand behind Billy [Hunter] and we stand behind Derek [Fisher]“.
“Some of our guys standing here right now have been kind of questioned in terms of their commitment to this process, their commitment to the union and to the game,” Player Rep President Derek Fisher said. “Their presence here today says a lot. These guys have always been here with us in spirit, they’ve always been here with us in terms of the cause and their influence.”
One of the hot button issues surrounding the lockout is a hard cap the owners want to implement but as of this latest meeting they have relaxed their hard nosed stance. They know favor a system of luxury taxes that would force teams that spend more money to pay more money. Currently there is a $1 for every $1 over the the tax threshold. The players, according to Fisher, still aren’t seeing eye-to-eye with the owners on this issue.
“I think the idea was if you removed the name ‘hard cap,’ that that would be good enough in itself. But we still believe the mechanisms … still in just about every sense would be a hard cap for teams,” he said. “There would be very few if any teams that would be in a position to spend over that particular number, so that’s how we feel about it at this point. It doesn’t mean that the negotiation is over, but it’s definitely not anywhere close to where we’d be able to agree to it.”
The players will not be in attendance for today’s meeting as they are off to Chris Paul’s charity game. David Stern sees no issue with this as he believes that both sides now are on the same page in terms of details revolving around the lockout.
“That will not be the issue that separates us.”
With the separation excuse out of the way, both sides are running out of good excuses as to why they can’t agree on a new deal as the time left for games on death row continues to tick away.