After conducting two long days of negotiations on Wednesday and Thursday in hopes of finally ratifying a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, talks have been put on hold while the NBA Players Association ponder the revised agreement submitted to them by the Association Thursday night. If the players agree to the new deal handed down by the NBA Labor Relations Committee, then a 72 game regular season would begin on December 15. If this deal is refused, it could possibly lead to the dissolution of the players union and the situation being played out in the courts as well as the distinct possibility of not having an NBA campaign.
“The Associated Press” has reported that NBA Commissioner David Stern said to reporters Thursday night “I would not presume to project or predict what the union would do. I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule starting on Dec. 15. There comes a time when you have to be through negotiating, and we are.”
The next step for the NBA if the players union rejects the current proposal is to offer a far less player friendly deal; with a hard salary cap put in place and the owners getting the higher percentage in a 53/47 division of revenues. That proposal would almost assuredly guarantee the players union would be dissolved.
Players Association President Derek Fisher spoke to members of the media after he left the session Thursday night. Fisher said “It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to try to close this thing out, and so at this point we’ve decided to end things for now, take a step back. We’ll go back as an executive committee, as a board, confer with our player reps and additional players over the next few days. Then we’ll make decisions about what our next steps will be at that point.”
The Commissioner told reporters that he will have a tough time getting the latest agreement past some of the hard-line owners, but he believes he has the votes to do it. Stern said “This is the best attempt by the labor relations committee and therefore the NBA to address the concerns that the players expressed coming out of their meeting of the player representatives.”
The players are expected to get back to the Association sometime early next week. The NBA Lockout reached 132 days on Thursday, having gone into effect at midnight on July 1