HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Might there be a glimmer of hope for an on-time start to the NBA regular season?
If so, it likely hinges on the goings-ons and the outcome of what Howard Beck of the New York Times reports is a “final and unexpected” meeting between the league and the union before Monday’s “deadline” to preserve the full NBA season:
The meeting will involve the primary negotiators for each side — Commissioner David Stern and the deputy commissioner Adam Silver for the league, with the union represented by its president, Derek Fisher, and its executive director, Billy Hunter.
Stern said last week that he would be forced to cancel the first two weeks of regular-season games on Monday if the sides did not have a breakthrough at the bargaining table. They have not met since then, with the N.B.A. insisting it will not move beyond the 50-50 split in league revenues that Stern proposed last Tuesday. The union rejected that stance, saying it would not resume talks with any preconditions.
It is not clear whether the league has moved off of its 50-50 proposal, or whether the union has softened its insistence on receiving 53 percent of league revenues in a new collective bargaining agreement. It is also possible that the sides are negotiating other, structural issues in an attempt to move forward.
TNT analysis David Aldridge confirms an 11th-hour meeting will be held but says players have not accepted the 50-50 proposal as a precondition to meeting. As of late Friday night, the sides were believed to be standing their ground, per Aldridge. But with the looming deadline on tap Monday and the pressure on both sides bubbling, something must have changed.
Since the details of the meeting are sketchy at best, it’s probably foolish to read any more into this latest development. But any meeting, any significant contact, is better than the alternative.