War of Words: NBA Union Denies Canceling a Negotiation Session

War of Words: NBA Union Denies Canceling a Negotiation Session

The end of the lockout does not seem near as union officials contend there was a negotiating meeting set this week.

Published August 12, 2011

NBPA president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and L.A. Lakers' Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA earlier this month.  (Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The NBA players union and the owners have found yet another point to be at odds about.

 

NBA Commissioner David Stern says the union backed out of a negotiating meeting earlier this week. The union disputes that a meeting was even planned, writes Yahoo!Sports.com.

 

The way things are going, it looks like the lockout that began July 1 could linger for quite some time.

 

“The NBA refused to have a staff meeting [Thursday],” a union official said. “Billy Hunter has been with the [National Labor Relations Board] the entire week, including Thursday, and the [National Basketball Players Association] was told that Stern would be completely unavailable to meet for the next two weeks.”

 

What is interesting is Stern then turned around and told the Boston Globe on Thursday that he believes a deal will be reached that will salvage the 2011-12 season. But you have to wonder how realistic that is when you consider how far the two sides seem to be on revenue sharing. The players want to keep above 50 percent of the revenue while the owners say they need the players' take to be more like 40 percent in order for the overall league to turn a profit.

 

“I would say that we have very smart players who recognize that this system is very good to them,” Stern said to the Globe. “You got 13 players on a roster averaging $5 million apiece – that’s $65 million – and what the owners have said is, ‘We’re going to try very hard as we reset this thing to keep you as close to that number as we can.’

 

“The NFL, which is usually profitable as opposed to the NBA, which isn’t, got the double-digit [revenue] reductions from their players," said Stern. "Our players will understand that when the rhetoric stops, and they will understand that the owners are trying to do the right thing and our players always try to do the right thing.”

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

Written by Terrance Harris

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