The lockout continues to drag along and now time is running out until the next NBA season will officially become delayed or even lost because of it. To that end, there are signs of urgency between both sides with a plethora of news and the frequency in which meetings are being scheduled. Even if some of the news isn’t necessarily positive, it’s still better than no news which would indicate an impasse in negotiations.
Multiple sources are reporting that there is a staff meeting scheduled on Wednesday in New York that will be attended by representatives and lawyers from both the owners and the players that is a precursor to a meeting in which leaders from both sides as well as David Stern plan on attending on Thursday. So what exactly would a staff meeting accomplish? ESPN's Chris Broussard has the answer....
“It is not unusual for the staffs of the two sides to meet. They held such a meeting last month. It cannot be labeled as a bargaining session because of the absence of the key figures, but everything from salary-cap concepts to secondary issues such as the league's age limit could be discussed.”
Over at CBS, Ken Berger summarizes what the latest developments could signal...
“The fact that the two sides are willing to reconvene so soon after large-group talks stalled is neither a positive nor a negative sign until we learn what each side is bringing to the table. Sources familiar with the negotiations said the players want details about the owners' revenue sharing plans and a firm commitment from owners on how and when they plan to implement them. The two sides also remain entrenched in their respective positions on a hard salary cap, although Stern said last week that everything was negotiable and sources familiar with the league's stance say the owners have always been open to negotiating the changes to the system they are seeking.
After the large group session last week -- in which each side spent more time in separate rooms than actually bargaining face-to-face -- the dynamics are shifting back to the smaller sessions that prevailed in three meetings over the two weeks prior.”
We may not know if it’s a positive or a negative sign but at the very least it gives the appearance that the two sides are willing to negotiate or else there would be no point in scheduling any meetings of any sort.
After last week’s tease, I’m looking at you “Mr. Guy-Who-Hacked-Roger-Mason’s-Twitter-Account”, and the subsequent flame-out in negotiations, we can only hope this week ends with more positive news. As David Aldridge reports on NBA.com, both sides may not be as unified within their own ranks as they publicly proclaim themselves to be. “Commissioner David Stern castigated an ESPN.com report that two of his owners shot down a potential agreement between the sides, and perhaps details of that version were incorrect.
But two sources who have been briefed on the talks indicated the following: sometime during the last of the small sessions between the two sides in New York, on Sept. 7 and 8, the union made its 53 percent concept to the owners. After the proposal was made, according to the sources, the union believed it had assurances from the other side that the offer would be viewed favorably by the owners' Labor Relations Committee. That was the basis of player optimism -- including union executive committee member Roger Mason's infamous "looks like a season" tweet a few days later. And that's why the union was so crestfallen on Sept. 13, when the meeting with each side's full negotiating committees failed to produce a breakthrough.”
Will this week provide that breakthrough that the players are seeking? It’s now or never and Metta World Peace doesn’t appear to be ready to quit his day job any time soon.
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