Well, it was a good dream while it lasted. You know, the one that had the NBA coming to their senses Tuesday and ironing out a deal so that the regular season could commence on time. That dream can be kissed goodby as the two sides left the meeting on Tuesday without a deal and without any real sense of anything going to happen within the next month or two.
Heading into yesterdays meeting, their was a real sense of optimism that a deal could be reached. Both sides appeared to be willing to sacrifice to see a season. But it's one thing to feel confident and another to actually do what has to be done to get a new CBA.
The major sticking point, as expressed after the failure of the last meeting, remains how to split all basketball related revenue, or BRI, if you will. Currently, or more accurately in the last CBA, the players received 57% with the owners getting 43%. The NBA has been looking to rectify this situation and lower the gap between the two side, even to the point where their side has the higher %. The players are balking at this, which is understandable because who wants to give back money they already had, so it's been a cat fight to close this gap.
The latest official stance held by the players was that they would go down to 53%, allowing the owners side to go up to 47%. The difference of 4% would have given owners back more than $1 billion over six years. The owners fired back with an offer which would have the players receive 47%.
That wasn't taken very well.
In the end of the talks, which were growing more contentious by the moment, there was an undercurrent between parties on both sides that maybe a 50-50 deal could be reached. These talks, which seems completely reasonable to me, were quickly halted when the players flat out refused to go down that far.
With the owners drawing the line at 49% or 50%, depending on what reports you want to believe, the meeting ended without a deal. To make matters worse, the players union head Billy Hunter alluded that if may be a 'month or two' before any further talks are had.
In a letter to union membership Wednesday, Hunter and Fisher explained why they believed the idea of a 50-50 split was not acceptable.
"The overwhelming feeling was that the players are prepared to sacrifice and stand for what we believe is fair. The clear message we have received from the players, and the one we will heed, is not to back down," the letter, obtained by ESPN.com, read. "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused."
With the players drawing this line in the sand and the owners prepared to sacrifice a season if need be to get the deal they want, it doesn't look like we will be seeing any professional basketball for some time. The NBA has already canceled the preseason and has already stated that if a deal isn't reached by next Monday, then that the first two weeks of the regular season will have to be canceled as well.
Um, are you ready for some football?
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