The NBA lockout is entering a critical stage, the stretch run of negotiations before parts of the NBA schedule are lost.
If a breakthrough does not occur at some point within the next seven to day days, David Aldridge reports, the NBA season will not begin on Nov. 1, when the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls are scheduled to kick off the NBA festivities.
Working backwards from the projected Nov. 1 starting date, this week is really the last week in which an agreement on a new CBA can be reached in order to save an on-time start of the season.
It would take at least two weeks to hammer out the details of a new CBA, and it would take at least two more weeks to have some kind of meaningful free-agent signing period. There would have to be at least a week to 10 days for an abbreviated training camp/preseason schedule. Which would bring us back to … right now. Unless that breakthrough occurs in the next seven to 10 days, the season will not — can not — start on time.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports reports that a source acknowledged a similar time frame.
“This isn’t just critical week for NBA season to start on time,” he tweeted, “it’s the final week, source said. Hence, more meetings.”
Some reporters believe the time frame extends slightly longer. Mark Heisler, formerly of the Los Angeles Times and now writing at SheridanHoops.com, gives the two sides two weeks to iron out their differences. He writes that the real negotiations haven’t started and won’t until the deadline for losing games draws closer — either side would be foolish to play its hand this early, so for now, according to Heisler, everything done and said is essentially posturing. When we hear the situation is dire, it probably isn’t that bad. When we hear the two sides are picking up major negotiating momentum, the situation probably isn’t that good.
In the next two weeks, according to Heisler, we could see progress. But the owners are demanding more than they ever have.
Nevertheless, these negotiations are different, for two reasons.
1) Having gotten givebacks in 1995 (luxury tax, rookie scale), 1999 (capping top salaries) and 2005 (raising the age limit, cutting contract lengths and raises), the owners are now seeking an unprecedented package.
2) The press, now-Internet driven, fixated on the moment and sensation-addicted, are a pushover for the dire labor posturing. …
Unfortunately, since 2008, NBA owners have counted on the fact that they will not only improve their lot, they’ll create a new paradigm.
Their opening offer — we’ll take the players’ 57 percent of revenue — was so nonsensical, NBA people complained they couldn’t get the union to take it seriously.
Insiders say Stern rally wants 50-50, which would mean a 12 percent cut for the players. Oh, and a hard cap.
Unfortunately, to the players, “hard cap” means “fight to the death,” or however long they can hold out.
It’s not like no one knows what’s really going on. Stern does.
Everyone else is only guessing, daily, or every hour or every day, picking through stray comments from marginal actors, reporting hopes (few), fears (lots), and (overblown, to this point) rifts in the warring camps.
Whether the critical date occurs in one week or two, the NBA lockout is quickly approaching danger time. In many ways, losing a season is non-sensible for both sides — last season set records for NBA popularity, and the league has no shortage for talent or storylines. But the owners want to change the entire system, and the players are desperately trying to hold on to the way things used to be. The sides began the negotiations very distant, and severe concessions will need to be made in order for the season to begin in a punctual fashion.
Thus, the two sides are close to committing to a meeting in the coming days. (CBS Sports)
With time running short on efforts to preserve an on-time start to the NBA season, high-level officials from the league and the players’ association are trying to arrange critical bargaining sessions this week, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The meetings would take place Wednesday and/or Thursday in Manhattan and would likely feature only the top negotiators from each side.