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NBA NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE AS OFF- SEASON LOCKOUT LOOMS
Published June 14, 1995
Representatives of the NBA and its players union met for 10 hours in New York yesterday "as the first work stoppage in league history loomed, possibly less than 24 hours away," according to Mark Asher in this morning's WASHINGTON POST. The sides ended yesterday's talks without an agreement, and a source "with ties to the players" said that if the Finals end tonight, "it's unlikely an agreement will have been reached." The source did say that a lockout could be averted by extending the no-free agent signing, no-renegotiation moratorium that went along with the no-strike, no-lockout deal for this season. NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine said the talks will resume today. NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik and two attorneys will represent the league, as Commissioner David Stern has traveled to Houston for Game 4. The NBA dispute mainly concerns how the league's revenues will be divided. As one team exec said: "Thank God this one's over splitting the money, not ideology" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/14). In Orlando, Tim Povtak reports that the two sides "inched closer" to an agreement yesterday and that Granik and Gourdine have scheduled meetings for this morning to report any progress to their respective constituents. Magic Player Rep Donald Royal, on reports that a lockout would commence immediately after the Finals: "I think that really got everyone's attention" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/14). The N.Y. TIMES lists three ways the negotiations will end, according to several league officials: 1) A summer lockout; 2) An extension of the signing moratorium -- if there is progress; and 3) An agreement will be reached this week -- "but that possibility seemed highly unlikely" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/14). WHY US, WHY NOW? NBC's Bob Costas, on the timing of letting the possible lockout "come to light" before the Finals are over: "Maybe the thinking is to not let this go to brinksmanship -- to bring the issue to a head in the offseason, rather than when the clock begins ticking like crazy" (USA TODAY, 6/14). On ESPN's "Up Close," Lakers Exec VP of Basketball Ops Jerry West would not comment on the labor situation, nor answer whether the league has threatened teams with a "gag order." West: "The league as a whole is prospering beautifully, and I think that if any of us -- players, management -- if we would do anything to inhibit this almost cult following that we have in the NBA today, we wouldn't be very far sighted" (ESPN, 6/13).