UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.ish ET: How’s this for ominous?
After announcing that the league has canceled all games through Nov. 30 and dashing any hopes of a full 82-game schedule [see post below], Commissioner David Stern says that the NBA’s position will harden from here, given the fact that the league, according to Stern, has lost $200 million by missing out on the preseason and will lose hundreds of millions more with the loss of November games.
“We’re going to have to recalculate how bad the damage is … The NBA’s offer will necessarily — its next offer — will reflect the extraordinary losses that are starting to pile up now,” Stern said.
“Both sides are very badly damaged. The amount of dollars lost to the owners is extraordinary. And the amount of dollars lost to players under individual contracts is also extraordinary … You can make computations about who’s going to be able to make it back and who’s not going to be able to make it back. I’m not sure that any time in the short run the owners will be able to make it back.
“And I know for a fact that in the short run, the players will not be able to make it back and probably never be able to make it back.”
Stern said that the league was willing to come up to 50 percent in the split of BRI. But “[union head] Billy Hunter said he was not willing to go a penny below 52 [for the players' share], that he had been getting many calls from agents, and then he closed up his book and walked out of the room.”
As close as things seemed late Thursday … they seem as far apart now as they’ve ever been. Now, we have to wonder again about Christmas Day games and, indeed, whether there will be a 2011-12 season at all.
UPDATE, 6:33 p.m.ish ET: Goodbye November games. Goodbye 82-game schedule.
“Yes. Our games are canceled through Nov. 30,” said Commissioner David Stern. And then he completely, and finally, doused any thoughts that an 82-game schedule still could be squeezed into a time-shortened season.
“It’s not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now. There will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances,” Stern said.
The league had a 50-game season in 1999. That season didn’t begin until early February. Owners and players did not agree on a new collective bargaining agreement back then until early January.
UPDATE, 5:53 p.m.ish ET: A thought:
If the owners were negotiating on “system” issues with the understanding that the players would accept 50-50, and the players won’t accept 50-50, does that mean all the work done in the past 30 hours or so on those “system” issues has to be done again?
Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver are expected to talk soon. Watch for it here and on NBA TV.
UPDATE, 5:48 p.m.ish ET: Sources confirm to TNT’s David Aldridge that the league will cancel regular-season games through the 30th of November.
Steve Aschburner also reports that Derek Fisher is headed back to Los Angeles, which pretty much guarantees no talks this weekend.
And so, any hopes for an 82-game regular season all but go up in flames.
UPDATE, 5:28 p.m.ish ET: Says Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association:
“We made a lot of concessions but this time, unfortunately, it’s not enough.”
No word of more meetings scheduled. At this time, cancellations of more games seems almost certain.
UPDATE:, 5:20 p.m.ish ET: “Today wasn’t the day to try and close this out,” Derek Fisher, the Lakers’ guard and president of the players’ union, tells reporters in the lobby of the hotel where the talks were held.
Fisher said the players are sticking to their desire to claim 52.5 percent of BRI. The owners have said they want a 50-50 split.
The players decided not to meet in a formal interview session, so there was no live coverage on NBA TV. The league is expected to meet formally in a news conference that will be carried live on NBA TV …
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.ish ET: ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) is reporting that the talks hit a roadblock when the owners and players couldn’t agree on the BRI split. Owners still at 50-50. Players don’t want to go lower than 52.
Windhorst also tweeting that more cancellations coming …
This is not good.
UPDATE, 4:43 p.m.ish ET: The New York Times (@HowardBeckNYT) tweets that the talks have ended for the day. Reporters are waiting on a possible news conference.
If there is one, it’ll be here and on NBA TV.
The mood, it is accurate to say, has turned 180 degrees.
UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.ish ET: Tweets from reporters on scene suggest that talks have ended for the day, with no resolution. Split of revenue again has stalled negotiations.
Hang on …
UPDATE, 4 p.m.ish ET: Steve Aschburner, the Ansel Adams of NBA.com scribes, points out that the owners and players are not the only unhappy labor campers in New York.
A different type of lockout got attention from a traveling Occupy Wall Street group outside the midtown Manhattan hotel where NBA owners and players met Friday.
UPDATE, 2 p.m.ish ET: With the NBA’s labor negotiations blowing past the 3 1/2 hour mark Friday — that’s close to 26 hours of yakking since owners and players resumed talks Wednesday at noon — we asked NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner to give us a feel for the mood at the swanky New York hotel he’s been snuggled up in for the past way too many hours.
NEW YORK – Competing values are at work, along with the well-worn backsides of the huddled media folks covering the NBA labor talks, on the lockout’s 120th day.
The level of optimism for a deal was as high as it had been since the dispute began, fueled by the words and tone Thursday evening by NBA commissioner David Stern and union executive director Billy Hunter. “Tomorrow” was mentioned by both, with Stern vowing “one heck of a shot” and Hunter talking of “striking distance” for at least a handshake agreement.
Then again, reporters – and by extension, NBA fans – had been down this road before only to see and hear a few moments of enthusiasm tamped down by “blood” issues and newly entrenched positions. For one thing, there were more people in the room beyond the desirable “small groups” that tend to achieve the most progress in such negotiations. For another, the two sides were determined to address BRI today. That’s the dreaded split of basketball-related revenues that had been avoided since talks broke off Oct. 20, the most heated night of the lockout so far. Thus the forecast: Volatility.
It’s one thing for the bomb squad to pat itself on the back for discovering the device, cordoning off the area and undoing a few screws. It’s something entirely different to finally choose which wire – green or blue – to snip.
UPDATE, 12:45 p.m. ET: Now, roughly two hours into the third straight day of labor meetings, representatives for the NBA’s owners and players have been joined by some heavyweights, on both sides.
New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul, a member of the National Basketball Players Association executive committee, has joined in the talks, along with fellow exec committee member Theo Ratliff of the L.A. Lakers. Also in the room again today is economist Kevin Murphy of the University of Chicago. They’ll sit shoulder-to-shoulder with Lakers guard Derek Fisher, the union’s president, and Billy Hunter, the NBPA’s executive director
Dallas Mavericks owners Mark Cuban, who took part in Thursday’s seven-hour session, came back for Friday’s sit-down, too. He is teaming, according to NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner, with owners Peter Holt (Spurs), Glen Taylor (Timberwolves) and Jim Dolan (Knicks), along with NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
10:45 a.m. ET: The biggest day of the most miserable NBA offseason in years has arrived, with the promise either to send this offseason into new depths of unimaginable miserableness or — and this is the prevailing sentiment — get the league, and its fans, back to the business of basketball.
Key players for the owners and players are meeting yet again in New York in an attempt to fashion a collective bargaining agreement that both sides can live with. After more than seven hours of meetings Thursday, the two sides now are closer than they ever have been in the 120 days of the lockout. Both NBA Commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Association head Billy Hunter expressed optimism — as guarded as it might be — that an agreement could be reached this weekend, and maybe as early as Friday.
Both sides caution that much work is left to be done. But a lot of the back-and-forth on “system” issues, including the makeup of a new luxury tax system, was undertaken on Wednesday (during a 15-hour session) and Thursday. On Friday, the two sides are expected to tackle the split of revenue known as Basketball-Related Income.
At stake, immediately, is the survival of an 82-game season, a carrot that has helped each side get down to business this week. It’s still unclear if a full season of games can be pulled off. But both sides are expected to give it their best shots today. The New York Times reported on Friday that the NBA has asked teams to look into arena dates in late April, after the regular season normally has ended. That’s a sign that an 82-game schedule is still a possibility.