The NBA has been locked out for two months. In that time, the players union and the owners have met a whopping two times, an impressive average of once per month. Yesterday in a meeting that took place at a hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Derek Fisher acknowledged that “there has not been a drastic ideological change on either side,” but hey, at least the two sides decided to stop taking public shots at each other. The negotiations will now be kept private between only the two negotiating parties.
If science moved this slow, we would still be driving around town in horse and buggies.
Don’t misunderstand me; the latest meeting was somewhat productive. The two sides will now stop posturing in the press and instead focus on making a deal. My only concern is, why didn’t this come sooner? The two sides have spent so much time flexing their muscles and puffing out their chests that they’ve almost entirely foregone the negotiation process. Until yesterday, from what we heard in the press at least, little to zero progress had been made in the past two months, mostly because both sides had been more stubborn than a 90-year old mule.
Finally, the two sides have decided to meet more often. Yesterday’s meeting reportedly lasted six hours, consisted of three people on each side and should have happened months ago. Key figures on both sides said the smaller meeting encouraged more negotiation and better faith.
“We discussed virtually every issue that’s on the table,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told the New York Times, “and there was an agreement that we needed to continue meeting and pick up the pace.”
Admittedly, I’m not skilled or experienced in negotiation. My most impressive negotiating occurred in middle school, when I once successfully haggled my friend to drop his lunch-time price for Jolly Jellies from $0.50 to $0.25. But from a fan’s standpoint, the pace should have picked up a long time ago. The potential for an NBA season relies on these meetings; I know posturing is important, but so is sitting in a room and ironing out a compromise. Training camp is scheduled to start on Oct. 3, but neither side seems all that concerned.
Yesterday’s progress, if small, was an important first step. I just wonder why the step didn’t come months ago.