NBA still in limbo after marathon talks
NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
NBA owners and players talked for nearly 12 hours on Wednesday and were to meet again yesterday, but neither side sounded optimistic of a breakthrough in the bid to get the season started.
League commissioner David Stern, who said Sunday that the players had until “close of business” on Wednesday to accept the NBA’s latest offer, emerged from the marathon talks saying the league has “stopped the clock” and will continue to negotiate.
“I would not read into this optimism or pessimism,” Stern said. “We’re not failing. We’re not succeeding. We’re just there.”
Players association president Derek Fisher also emerged from the day with little encouraging to say.
“We can’t say there was significant progress today,” Fisher said. “We’ll be back tomorrow ... and we’ll see if we can continue to make the effort to at least to finish this out.”
The two sides are trying to hammer out a new collective contract that would put an end to the 132-day lockout of players by owners and pave the way for a belated start to the season.
The league has already wiped out all of the games scheduled in November -- a month’s worth of action in a campaign that was to have started November 1.
Stern has said that once the sides reach a handshake deal it would likely take another 30 days to get games on court.
While the fact that talks are to continue seems to be good news, it’s also clear that if no agreement is reached soon more games will shortly be lost.
A key issue under discussion remained the division of some $4 billion in annual revenue.
Players received 57 percent of basketball-related income under their previous contract, but have said they would be willing to drop that to 52.5 percent.
The latest offer from owners would give the players between 49-51 percent of basketball-related income, depending on revenue growth.