NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: Derek Fisher, President of the National Basketball Players Association speaks at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Negotiations between the NBA and the players' association suffered a setback on Thursday with the split of revenues once again the major hurdle. It might not have even been the league's 50-50 proposal that caused the union to walk away from negotiations but how it was delivered.
Throughout the day on Thursday there was progress reported as the league worked on details such as the amnesty clause, mid-level exception, and a new "bonus pool" that would reward young players whose performance exceeded their rookie contract.
Then came the revenue split of which the union had reportedly agreed to accept 52.5 percent of the BRI after not budging below 53 percent in the other negotiations. Reportedly the league demanded a 50-50 split be agreed to by the union before they discussed any other issues. That in effect led to the breaking up of negotiations and resulted in the usual name calling and finger pointing circus that happens after these meetings.
So what will happen next? In the short term we can't be sure because no further talks are scheduled at this time. No matter how much the players may hate the idea, it appears that this thing is headed towards a 50-50 split in revenues to get a deal done. The league has shown no indication that they are going to move above that number so I think it is safe to assume that the final verdict will be something really close to 50-50.
The union is very aware of this but they have made it clear by their actions that they are not going to be ordered into a deal which is what they determined the league's ultimatum as.
The next step will likely be the announcement of more cancelled games by David Stern who was absent from Thursday's meeting due to flu like symptoms. Its possible that the two sides can jump back into negotiations next week and pick up right where they left off. Both sides are probably a little edgy from some long hours negotiating this week and you could almost hear the frustration in both Adam Silver and Derek Fisher's voices.
Or it is also possible that our worst fears have been realized and the negotiations have reached a point where the waiting game has started. I have long said that in that case the side with more money will be the one that wins because they will be able to hold out the longest. That is a lose-lose proposition for everyone especially those of us that love this game.