Three days of intense negotiating between NBA owners and players with the aid of a federal mediator ended Thursday in New York with the worst possible scenario: No progress was made to end the lockout. No new negotiation dates are set. Next comes the inevitable of more lost games for the 2011-12 NBA season.
"Ultimately, we were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. "We understand the ramifications of where we are. We're saddened on behalf of the game."
All indications are the negotiations broke down after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on how to split the revenue. The owners put up an offer of a “take it or leave it” 50-50 split, the players balked and the owners walked.
The players received 57 percent of the league revenue under the expired collective bargaining agreement and are believed to have been willing to reduce that to 52 percent.
“We’ve made concession after concession ... and it’s just not enough,” said Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA Players' Association.
"We're not prepared to let them impose a system on us that eliminates guarantees, reduces contract lengths, diminishes all our increases," he said. "We're saying 'no way'. We fought too long and made too many sacrifices to get where we are."
The breakdown Thursday ended three days of marathon talks where the two sides met for more than a combined 30 hours, which included a 16-hour session that began Tuesday and ended early Wednesday morning. These were the first sessions involving a federal mediator.
But mediator George Cohen was unable to get the two sides to hash out a deal that could prevent the cancelation of more games. The NBA has already scrapped the first two weeks of the regular season and now the remainder of the November schedule is at risk following Thursday’s turn of events.
(Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)