NBA Lockout Watch, Day 85: NBA Postpones Training Camps, Some Preseason Games
The NBA Friday announced that player training camps for the '11-12 season have been postponed indefinitely because a new CBA has not been reached with the NBPA. Training camps were scheduled to open on Oct. 3. In addition, the league canceled all preseason games scheduled from Oct. 9-Oct. 15 (NBA). A source said that “there wasn't much movement from either the league or the union” after NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver met with NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter and Lakers G and NBPA President Derek Fisher on Thursday in Manhattan. The source said “both sides dug in” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/22). ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher cited a source as saying that Stern “told Hunter in Thursday's meeting the owners want to reduce the players' cut of basketball-related revenue to a figure well below 50 percent.” Under the previous CBA that expired July 1, the players “were guaranteed a minimum of 57 percent of BRI would be spent on salaries.” Sources said that the next negotiating session “has not been scheduled, but the two sides agreed to contact each other with possible dates to reconvene next week.” Fisher said that he “didn't believe Thursday's talks moved the situation beyond where it was last week.” Stern said that the owners' labor relations committee “would talk Friday” (ESPN.com, 9/22). In N.Y., Marc Berman notes Stern after the meeting “was in a dour mood,” and Fisher “displayed none of his normal optimism” (N.Y. POST, 9/23). Stern “declined to discuss the tone” of the reported five-hour bargaining session Thursday (L.A. TIMES, 9/23).
MEETING MINUTES: CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger reported the NBA “put forth a new number on the split of revenues, or basketball-related income, on Thursday, a step that could help propel the talks forward even as the start of training camps were set to be delayed and preseason games canceled.” A source said, "It's moving. Not as fast as some people would want, but it's moving." Another source said that league negotiators “came back with their own number,” but “unsurprisingly, the number was lower than what the players had last proposed.” Berger reported for the “first time since their initial proposal in January 2010 -- when they offered a $45 million hard cap that would deliver the players well below 50 percent of BRI -- the owners proposed a revised BRI split that was closer to, but still below what the players have indicated they would be willing to accept.” In this “impossibly slow negotiating dance, that qualifies as progress.” Berger noted that the sides have until Oct. 14 “when regular-season games will be canceled without a deal” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/22). The AP’s Brian Mahoney noted the lockout “is about to start inflicting damage on the preseason schedule -- and neither players nor owners can say what will happen to the real games.” The league is “at about the same point as when it postponed camps in 1998” (AP, 9/22).
GLASS HALF EMPTY? In N.Y., Howard Beck writes, “If body language and tone meant anything, the signs Thursday were discouraging.” The “usually talkative Fisher spoke for just two and a half minutes.” Stern, who celebrated his 69th birthday on Thursday, was “as dour as he has been since the lockout began three months ago.” He “turned more light-hearted when someone mentioned his glum demeanor.” Stern: “No, actually my demeanor is flat, because I don’t have anything to say” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/23). Celtics G Ray Allen said that he is “ready to give up the season if necessary to the NBA lockout.” Allen: "Nobody wants to miss a year. But I'm prepared to do what the team needs me to do, what my players association, players union team, what they need me to do, because we want to make sure we get the right deal for us" (AP, 9/22). In San Antonio, Mike Monroe notes the expected decision to postpone training camps “could move some key Spurs to join the growing list of players signing on with teams overseas” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/23).