Stern, Hunter Meeting Face-To-Face To Negotiate New NBA CBA
NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "have been meeting face-to-face to negotiate a new" CBA, according to sources cited by Henry Abbott of ESPN.com. The sources said that Stern and Hunter "met last week in Chicago with staffers from both sides present." The sources added that the two sides are "set to talk this week in New York." In past negotiations between the two, face-to-face talks "have not always led to significant progress, but there has never been big progress without such high-level meetings." Against a "backdrop of labor strife and ongoing legal action in the NFL, representatives of the NBA and the players' association have recently softened their public rhetoric" (ESPN.com, 5/10). SI.com's Sam Amick notes Lakers G and NBPA President Derek Fisher "has been in contact with Hunter throughout the process, but he will be able to dedicate far more time to the task at hand now" that the Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs. Fisher: "I still worked on it daily (during the playoffs), but Billy didn't bombard me with too many calls or too many things unless it was vital. Now, it's 24/7" (SI.com, 5/11).
LOOKING FOR A BETTER DEAL: Fisher said that he "wasn't happy with the last proposal received from owners" about a week ago. Fisher: "Frankly, we're disappointed in the context of it." The owners "presented the players with their second offer in which they seek significant rollbacks in existing contracts, a hard salary cap and a larger share of the basketball-related income." The players are "willing to give ground on the 57% guarantee" of basketball-related income, but they "want to keep most parts of the current deal." Fisher said, "The goal is to get a deal done and not necessarily rush through it, but to try and get something done that will sustain us for the next several years to come." He added, "People have continued to support this game over the last few years in ways that you can't compare to any other time in pro basketball. I think the fans have spoken, obviously" (L.A. TIMES, 5/11).