NBA Lockout: Mediation Resumes After 16-Hour Session
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — NBA owners and players are meeting for a second straight day, shortly after finishing a 16-hour marathon with a federal mediator.
The sides resumed talks about 10 a.m. Wednesday, about eight hours after they broke for the night.
They didn’t emerge with the deal Commissioner David Stern wanted Tuesday, but things went well enough that owners decided to alter their plans for Wednesday after previously saying they weren’t available.
The sides met beginning at 10 a.m. yesterday and went late into the night, finally breaking after 2 a.m. It was more than twice as long as any previous negotiating session since owners locked out players when the old collective bargaining agreement expired June 30.
Stern told WFAN’s Mike Francesa last week that he wanted a breakthrough Tuesday, even saying his “gut” told him there might not be games on Christmas Day if there wasn’t an agreement before his owners’ meetings.
Owners originally ruled out labor talks for Wednesday and Thursday because they have two days of board meetings planned, but the labor relations committee that was set for a morning presentation will instead return to resume discussions with the players.
Owners still will meet later in the day to discuss plans for expanded revenue sharing among teams. Players have wanted that as part of the CBA process, believing it’s a way for the league to address its losses. But Stern said it can’t come until after the labor deal, so they first know what savings are coming from there.
Although the fact that talks didn’t break off is good news, one person with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press not to presume there was any serious progress.
The sides have been divided mostly by two issues, the division of revenues and the structure of the salary cap system.
Players oppose a hard salary cap, and they believe owners’ attempts to make the luxury tax more punitive and limit the use of spending exceptions will effectively create one. Also, each side has formally proposed receiving 53 percent of basketball-related income after players were guaranteed 57 percent under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
Wednesday marks the 111th day of the lockout. Stern wiped out the first two weeks of the season — exactly 100 games — last week. The cancellations marked the NBA’s first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.
More could be coming without a new collective bargaining agreement soon. The sides have been going nowhere despite frequent meetings in recent weeks, so Stern said they welcomed help from Cohen, who was present for talks between NFL owners and players for 16 days in February and March before that mediation broke off.
Does your gut say a deal is on the cusp? Let us know in the comments below…
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