NBA Negotiations Hit Critical Phase
NEW YORK (CBSMiami.com) – The 2011-2012 NBA season may hang in the balance when labor talks resume Friday in New York.
According to ESPN.com, NBA commissioner David Stern is planning on threatening to cancel the entire season if both sides don't make "major" progress towards a deal by the end of the weekend.
If Stern carries through with the warning and starts to cancel games, it will not be the first time the NBA has lost regular season games due to a lockout.
In 1998-1999, the NBA lost around 32 games when no deal was reached until January 6, 1999. The NBA put together an abbreviated 50-game regular season that year.
The current lockout has all the makings of being in the same vein as the NHL lockout from a few years ago the cost the league an entire season. In the NBA dispute, owners are asking for too much and players are not giving enough.
According to ESPN.com's report, several high profile superstars have been asked to attend the negotiations including Miami Heat forward LeBron James. ESPN reported that owners and players could be in the same room for the negotiations.
ESPN said that if that happens, and LeBron is in attendance, it would be the first face-to-face meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert since James left Cleveland for the Heat in 2010.
Fellow Big Three member Dwyane Wade is also in New York currently for business meetings, but jumped at the chance to be in the negotiations.
Training camps and preseason games have already been canceled and the entire preseason could be sacrificed soon if an agreement isn't put in place.
According to multiple reports, the NBA owners pulled away from a hard salary cap for the players. But, the owners still attached conditions for them to agree to pull away from the hard cap.
The conditions include: allowing only one "Larry Bird exception" player per season; reducing the total value and length of contract for the mid-level exception; and making penalties much more severe for teams violating the luxury tax level.
(The "Larry Bird exception" refers to a clause that allows a team to violate the salary cap without penalties in order to sign their own free agents.)
The owners also want to reverse the player's share of basketball related income. In the CBA that just expired, players got 57 percent. Owners have proposed dropping that level to 48 percent; players have countered with a request for 54 percent.
Finally, the owners also want at least five percent reduction in total salaries through the 2013-2014 seasons. The owners have also sought to decouple parts of the basketball related income which would limit player salaries regardless of any improvements in overall revenue in the league.
While the NBA and the NBPA continue to negotiate, multiple players have decided to take their skills overseas to teams in Europe and China. The Miami Heat's Big Three of LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh have said they're not interested in playing overseas.
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