NEW YORK — If you were feeling optimistic about the NBA Labor talks and their frequency over the last week, you can let out that breath you were holding. David Stern is expected to announce the cancellation of the next two weeks of the NBA season sometime in the coming days and effectively ending any hope of the possibility of a full 82 game schedule.
The big issue and the major reason there has been no deal up to this point remains the split between the two sides regarding the BRI (Basketball Related Income).
The owners have been very adamant on lowering the player’s percentage from the previous 57 percent to a drastically lower number.
And when I say drastic I mean more than 10 percent lower.
The players, obviously, are just as adamantly against this proposal and thus you have the problem. Each side keeps inching towards a number the other side wants to hear but the exact percentage has not been met. The Owners have raised their demands and loosed the noose to somewhere in the very high 40s. The players have actually lowered their percentage by more than 4 percent to a new number they haven’t gone to before: 52.2 percent.
The owners and the players were initially against a 50-50 split but they are both starting to warm to the idea. The owners now consider the split to be a pretty good deal for both sides but the players want a little extra for, you know, actually playing the game.
Under the newest proposal by the players, the two sides would be around $100 million apart on an annual basis. The players may also not want to move their number any lower as reports are that the owners actually did a bit of cracking under pressure in the latest talks.
According to Billy Hunter, union president, the league actually lowered their target percentage they would receive down to 47 percent but immediately raised it to 50 again. With the cracks showing and the fact the players play the game, it doesn’t look like the union will be lowering their target percentage any further any time soon.
“Derek and I made it clear that we could not sell the 50-50 deal to our membership. Not with all the concessions that we’ve granted,” Hunter said. “We’ve got to have some dollars.”
The concessions Hunter is referring to are various smaller issues the players have surrendered to the owners in an effort to both get a deal done and save their ammo for the big issues such as the BRI.
“We feel like we’ve made concessions,” union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakerssaid Friday after the meeting had broken off. “Right now it’s not enough.”
The lockout is in it’s 120th day and with the progress that was made in the salary cap department being overshadowed by the growing rift over the BRI, it’s not unrealistic to expect another 120 days. The union will not go a penny under 52 percent on the split and the league doesn’t want to make that deal.
It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is going. My suggestion to you: enjoy the World Series and your Sunday’s because unless your a hockey fan, that’s all the sports you’re getting for a very long time.