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NBA AND UNION TO TALK TODAY; WEDNESDAY SEEN AS NEXT SESSION
Published November 2, 1998
CBA talks between the NBA and its players union could resume "as soon as Wednesday," according to Phil Jasner of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Attorneys for the league and the NBPA were to "meet today on technical and legal issues." It was "not clear" whether NBA Commissioner David Stern or Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik would participate in today's session (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/2). In Saturday's WASHINGTON POST, NBPA Dir of Communications Dan Wasserman said the union "would not bring in its full 20 member negotiating team" on Wednesday "unless progress was made on Monday" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 10/31). HUNTER'S CHALLENGE: NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter is interviewed in USA TODAY by Roscoe Nance. On negotiations: "I think there's a great gulf. They've said all along that they want to ensure a profit, a significant profit for their owners. They're demanding something like a $10 million profit per year for each owner." More Hunter: "I anticipate that by the first of January, if we have not reached an accord in some shorter period, the season will commence" (USA TODAY, 11/2). In N.Y., Harvey Araton wrote that Hunter "won't be immune to what befell" former NBPA execs Simon Gourdine and Charles Grantham "if this goes on much longer." Araton: "Hunter has to play his cards so that he doesn't put his less-leveraged players in the cash-strapped position to panic" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1). DETAILS OF DEAL: On ESPN.com, David Aldridge outlined the framework of the deal and noted that a new rookie deal consisting of a four- or five-year contract, three or four years followed by a right-of-first-refusal year is a "big win for the owners." A "big win" for the union is the increase in the minimum salary for veterans, which will "almost certainly" be at least $500,000, up from the current $272,000. Aldridge added that how soon the two sides reach a deal "depends" on Stern and his negotiators: "How serious is the league about eliminating signing bonuses; about eliminating sign-and-trade deals; about eliminating its $25 million annual licensing payment to the players; about keeping all future revenues developed for itself without sharing with the players? All of those proposals are still in the air. If the league quietly folds most of them ... a deal could be made within a fortnight" (ESPN.com, 11/1). NBPA lead attorney Jeffrey Kessler, on the percentage of BRI directed toward players' salaries: "The numbers they're talking about, there will be no deal at 50 or 52 percent or anything close to that." Kessler said a rollback from the current 57% of BRI "won't happen. The players are not going to go backward" (NEWSDAY, 10/31). In NJ, Dave D'Alessandro noted that the sides "must agree" on revenue sources "that are to comprise the BRI." Magic C Danny Schayes "slammed the owners for hiding revenue streams." But Stern said, "Our definition of BRI (is) ... to include everything, including the kitchen sink" (STAR-LEDGER, 11/1). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence: "While the league has been haggling with players about paying them for any make-up games, all indications are that when there's a settlement, players will get their money. As they should" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).