Teetering on the edge of more game cancellations—or worse—the players and the owners walk away from the table, unable to agree on how to divvy up a great big pie.
Faced with what NBA players’ union chiefs called a “take it or leave it” proposal to split future revenues 50-50, the players decided to leave it.
Not even newly appointed Federal mediator George Cohen could keep the two sides talking, the Associated Press reported. After nearly 30 hours of intense negotiations that continued all day Thursday, the parties broke up without any resolution to the labor dispute. No further talks have been scheduled.
The main issue remains money—how NBA revenues would be divided, and how the salary cap should be structured. Meanwhile, the first two weeks of league play have been canceled, and some observers feel the season itself may be in jeopardy.
Players union attorney Jeffrey Kessler said owners presented what amounted to an ultimatum.
"We were shocked," Kessler told AP. "We went in there trying to negotiate and they came in and they said you either accept 50-50 or we're done and we won't discuss anything else."
"There was never really a willingness to negotiate beyond certain points," union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said.
"We understand the ramifications of where we are," commented NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "We're saddened on behalf of the game."