Billy Hunter, executive director of the players association, said Wednesday that officials from the league and players’ union will meet with a federal mediator on Monday in an attempt to rejuvenate the failed labor negotiations.
Hunter made the disclosure in a wide-ranging interview with Mike Francesa on New York’s WFAN sport radio. The show plans to air the owners’ side on Thursday.
Last-ditch efforts to reach a new collective bargaining agreement failed Monday, and the NBA announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of season. The preseason already had been canceled.
”There’s a short window in an NBA player’s life,” said Hunter, advocating for the players. Under the owners’ proposal, there will be a “compression of salaries,” he said.
No talks were held Tuesday, none had been scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday and on Friday, Hunter was going to attend a regional players’ meeting in Los Angeles. Within the next 10 days or so, barring a meeting, a breakthrough and a handshake deal, another two weeks of the NBA season will fall, reports NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner. That would mean another lost payday for the players and, in losing November entirely, about $800 million from the initial $4 billion pool of Basketball-Related Revenue.
“I think they want to break us, and we have to fight,” said Hunter in the interview. “We are resolute,” said Hunter, asked whether the players would stand firm.
However, Hunter said he remains optimistic that a resolution will be reached, perhaps before Christmas, a big day in the NBA.