The NBA Owners and the Player's Association met on Thursday with neither side publicly reporting any progress as being made. With no deal in place, it has been reported that the NBA will announce some sort of postponement to training camps and preseason games on Friday. NBA commissioner David Stern is scheduled to talk with members of the owner's labor committee on Friday and that the announcement should follow soon after. Negotiations are set to resume once again next week.
CBS Sports NBA writer Ken Berger has been on top of the negotiations and reports that there was in fact some movement, this time by the owners, during Thursday's meeting.
Given that the owners moved off their $2 billion to somewhere between that and the players' number, we're talking about perhaps as little as $75 million per year holding up the future of the NBA. That's why, as one person familiar with the talks said Thursday, a deal is "there for the taking."
Berger goes on to point out that the postponement of training camps and the possible cancellation of preseason games was a foregone conclusion. Berger also reports that the real work begins next week.
Now that each side is on record with a number that isn't wildly out of line with the other, that shouldn't take long. That's why both sides left Thursday's bargaining session expecting next week's meeting to mark the beginning of the real dirty work -- negotiating the system that will deliver the money to the players.
The postponement of camps and preseason games buys the negotiations a little more time. It is unfortunate that any part of the NBA season have to altered but I for one am not going to be upset about the Atlanta Hawks losing a ridiculous preseason west coast trip. In my opinion training camp is much more important that meaningless preseason games especially when so many of the fringe free agents have signed deals overseas already.
The likely last day for a deal to be reached to save the entire regular season is Oct 14 which is approximately three weeks away. That isn't a lot of time but, as Ken Berger writes, it is enough time to get a deal done.
A lot can go wrong, and probably will, between now and Oct. 14. But that still leaves three weeks to get a deal, and about half of it's done, as far as I can tell. How hard will each side be willing to push to get what it wants? That we don't know. When will they be ready to take a deal that's there for the taking?
They'll be ready when they're ready. They'll be ready when they have to be. If not, shame on all of them.
Shame on all of them indeed.