After meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, NBA owners and representatives from the former NBA Players Association will meet again Friday. The two sides will attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to the antitrust lawsuit filed by the players earlier this week (which would effectively be an agreement on a new CBA).
Save for this being the last gasp at staging the lucrative Christmas games, this probably reminds you of all the previous times the two sides have gotten together over the last two months, only to see negotiations collapse into the kind of acrimony that makes you wonder if this entire lockout is really just a grand piece of satire.
What’s different this time:
–A plan is in place for a 66-game regular season starting December 25.
–As Ken Berger of CBS suggested earlier this week, Jim Quinn, former outside counsel to the players union and a key agent in resolving the 1988-99 lockout has become involved and may (per the NYT) have usurped Jeffrey Kessler as lead negotiator. Earlier in the lockout, you may remember David Stern characterizing Kessler’s conduct as “routinely despicable”. It stands to reason he thinks more highly of Quinn.
–There has been no more talk of the hard-line reset proposal the owners threatened. Negotiations have apparently picked up where they left off, with a presumptive 50-50 split on BRI, assuming progress can be made on system issues.
–Indications are the owners may now be willing to compromise on those system issues. ESPN’s Marc Stein notes that the owners have discussed allowing more latitude on the use of the full mid-level exception amongst tax-paying teams, a major issue for the players.
So, that’s where we stand.
So I ask you, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being Kedrick Brown and 10 being Paul Pierce, how optimistic are you we’ll see a deal done in the next few days?
I’ve been consistently wrong on this stuff, but I’ll go with Bill Walton (a solid 7.5).
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.