SBD/September 20, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 82: League, Union Hope To Hold Small Group Sessions This Week

The NBA and NBPA are "hoping to meet Wednesday and/or Thursday in New York City," according to sources cited by Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. With training camps set to open Oct. 3, both sides "are feeling a heightened sense of urgency" to reach an agreement. The owners and the union are "trying to rearrange their schedules to make way for a meeting," and any session held this week will be in the form of a "small group meeting that will include just a handful of leaders from each side" (ESPN.com, 9/19). Magic G and player rep Chris Duhon said the sides are "communicating a little bit, but at the same time, at the end, we've got to know that the players, we're prepared." He added, "We've been prepared for two years. We've been prepared for two years to sit out a year or maybe two." But he said, "It hasn't struck midnight. Everybody is negotiating. Everybody's talking. Everybody wants the season to happen on both sides" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/20). NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said NBA stars like Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat F LeBron James have been "deeply involved in the meetings we've had." Hunter added, "I know Kobe is intimately involved in interfacing with colleagues and sharing in a pool of revenue to help the others get through this. Kobe has volunteered to do that in the event others need, he and others are prepared to loan money if necessary" (L.A. TIMES, 9/19).

LEGENDARY PERSPECTIVE: Basketball HOFer Bill Russell said of the lockout, "There is a great misunderstanding in the public on what the issues are, and both sides have a point. People think it's a battle over money. There is more to it than that. The thing about negotiations, though, is that to a true believer, compromise is retreat. So you have the element of saving face." Basketball HOFer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said, "The system is broken and they've got to find a way to fix it. They've got to compromise. The small-market teams can't compete. We've got to find a way to fix that." Basketball HOFer Rick Barry said of the NBPA, "It's tragic, what's happening there. I really, truly don't understand what they're doing. How do you walk in when 22 of 30 teams are losing money, and ask for a five-year contract that takes the average salary from $5 to $7 million? That's unconscionable" (NEWSDAY, 9/20).
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