NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver (L) and NBA Commissioner David Stern speak at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at The Westin Times Square on October 4, 2011 in New York City. Stern announced the NBA has canceled the remainder of the preseason and will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if there is no labor agreement by Monday. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The NBA and the players association met for about 12 hours Wednesday and into Thursday morning. They worked right through Grand Moff Stern's 5 PM deadline, but Stern has said that the current offer is on the table as long as they keep negotiating. To that end, both sides have agreed to continue meeting Thursday at noon eastern.
With the players having already conceded on the 50-50 BRI split, it would be the pinnacle of absurdity for a deal NOT to get done at this point. Of course, we've been pretty high up the absurdity scale already, so the pinnacle isn't that far away.
The rumors swirling around the meeting are all very optimistic; but the official statements from Stern & Silver and Hunter & Fisher were subdued. A deal is not done, but there's enough reason to keep talking. The fact that they're still talking is obviously a very good thing, and common-sense would seem to indicate that it's not worth missing another single game over the relatively minor differences in system issues that appear to be separating the sides at this point - but there I go again injecting 'sense' into this process.
I find it amazing that the league remains so focused on 'competitive issues' (Ken Berger is more than a little tired of Silver's broken record fixation on the subject). A more competitive league would be great, I don't think anyone disagrees with that. But I have yet to see anything compelling from the league to suggest that any of the things they want would actually achieve their goal in any appreciable way. The best they've ever offered, at least to the public, is "The NFL has a hard cap and they have great parity and they are really popular." Please. The argument is fallacious. Of the ways in which the NFL and the NBA are different, salary structure is minor to the point of insignificance.
I refuse to believe that the league is willing to walk away from everything else they wanted, and likely lose the entire season, over competition issues that in the end may or may not accomplish anything. I feel like I must be missing something.
Of course the same goes for the players. I mean, I know each player would like more options in free agency, and certain parts of the current proposal could limit those options. But if the BRI split is locked in at 50-50, it really doesn't matter. Let's face it - as a player, when you hit free agency there are many factors that determine what the market is for your services. There is always going to be an element of 'right place, right time' to getting the offer you really want. If a tax team or two is out of the running for your services, then find the next best offer. The total pie is the same - some players may lose a little money, others will make a little more.
The players have to walk away from this meeting with SOMETHING. All Stern and the owners have to do is give Hunter and Fisher a couple of scraps to help them save some face, and they can be playing NBA basketball by Mark Aguirre's birthday (that would be December 10).