Bloomberg News

NBA Labor Talks End Without Deal; Sides Plan to Reconvene Today

October 01, 2011

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- National Basketball Association and players’ union representatives will continue negotiations today following about 4 1/2 hours of talks yesterday that included participation by several All-Stars.

“We did not come out of here with a deal today, but we’re going to be back tomorrow at 10 a.m.,” National Basketball Players Association President Derek Fisher told reporters yesterday at a Manhattan hotel. He said the sides are “not necessarily” any closer to a deal than when they began the day.

Joining the talks were 21 NBA players including three-time league Most Valuable Player LeBron James and All-Stars including Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce.

“It gives our owners the opportunity to really see the emotion and the focus in our guys’ eyes,” Fisher said of the decision to invite top NBA players to the talks.

It was the 92nd day of a lockout that began July 1 after the two sides were unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Since then, the NBA has postponed the start of training camps and 43 preseason games through Oct. 15. The regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.

“Both sides have expressed a willingness and a desire to make a deal and both sides agree that the consequences of not making a deal lead us to the prospect of possibly at some point in the not distant future losing regular-season games,” NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters.

The league had about $4.3 billion in revenue last season, a period during which Stern says teams collectively lost about $300 million.

Stern, who three days ago said there would be “enormous consequences” for the season from the talks this weekend, called media reports that he would cancel the entire season if an agreement to save it in its entirety couldn’t be reached “ludicrous.”

“The only thing we said is that it’s hard in terms of negotiations if you start to lose regular-season games because both positions harden,” Stern said.

The talks now could very well stretch past this weekend, according to NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.

“There are a lot of isses on the table, and even the question of the number of hours in the day, I’m not sure we could complete a deal this weekend,” Silver said. “I think the question is how much progress we can make on the significant issues.”

Stern disclosed yesterday that the league explained details of its revenue-sharing plans to the union, which he said will be at least triple this year’s amount, previously disclosed to be $54 million, and likely quadrupled by the third year of a new agreement.

“That will not be the issue that separates us,” Stern said.

--Editors: Erik Matuszewski, Rob Gloster

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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