Lost in all of the posturing coming out of yesterday's bargaining session between the NBA Owners and the Player's Association was the fact that they made progress on one key issue. Reportedly the NBA and the Union moved closer to a resolution on the economic issues that were thought to be the biggest obstacle to a deal. Under the old CBA, the players received 57 percent of basketball-related income and their last proposal included a concession to 54.3 percent.
CBS Sports writer Ken Bergerreports that the players on Tuesday 'expressed a willingness' to move below the 54.3 percent total.
Neither side would say how far the players moved economically, but a person with knowledge of the negotiations said they expressed a willingness to move lower than the 54.3 percent of basketball-related income they last proposed on June 30 as a starting point in a six-year deal. Stern disputed the players' contention that the owners haven't made an economic move since the day before the lockout was imposed. Nobody outside the room knows how many millions the two sides shaved off the gap, but it hardly matters since everyone seemed willing to concede that they've at least dipped their toes on common ground when it comes to dollars.
David Stern and Adam Silver on the economic details also from Berger's report:
"I'd just say it's on the road, and we know how to negotiate over dollars when the time comes," Stern said.
Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner, said, "We said we went into this process with two goals: one was an economic goal, which we've addressed."
Ok sounds great, so why all of the gloom and doom talk?
Apparently the gloom and doom arose from Ownership's reluctance to move off of anything other than a hard salary cap. The Player's Association, having made concessions economically, would like to see the salary cap remain closer to the current system. Thus the stalemate. SB Nation's Tom Ziller sums up the developments quite well in my opinion:If enough progress has indeed been made on the revenue split to find a deal point and the lockout continues because neither side will budge on the cap structure, what a stupid situation we have on our hands. Both sides have misconstrued the point of a hard cap, misrepresented what it will actually do for the league. Both sides have twisted this "blood issue" to the point where it more resembles DNA than plasma. I can't emphasize enough how ridiculous it is that the NBA could cancel a season to hold out for a hard cap.
They can't allow that to happen right? To potentially clear the biggest hurdle only to stumble over what should be a much smaller issue. Ziller goes on to explain that a hard cap isn't automatically going to fix things for the small market teams and uses the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers as an example.
So the NBA's regular season isn't completely dead yet although the clock is still ticking. With both sides retreating on Thursday to discuss negotiations internally we can only hope that they emerge ready for further negotiations.