While an NBA labor talk went down yesterday, it doesn’t sound like things are getting closer to being resolved. Between Derek Fisher saying that David Stern, Adam Silver and the owners are saying one thing publicly and showing another in their proposal, and Stern accusing the players of not bargaining in good faith, things are looking messier than ever as we stand about 60 days from when NBA training camp would typically kick off.
Ken Berger of CBS sports reported on the meeting that took place in New York:
“We’ve made several offers, but we don’t feel significant movement back,” Stern said. “As we pointed out to the players, their last offer, 30 days ago, was to take their (average) salaries from $5 million to $7 million over a six-year period. So there’s still a very wide gap between us.”
The players dispute Stern’s repeated portrayal of their proposal, which they say starts off with a reduction in the players’ percentage of revenues from 57 percent to 54.3 percent in the first year of a six-year deal that would slow the growth of salaries by about $100 million a year.
Stern went so far as to use concessions made by NFL players in ending that sport’s lockout as justification for the NBA’s demands.
“From where we sit, we’re looking at a league that was the most profitable in sports that became more profitable by virtue of concessions from their players with an average salary of $2 million,” Stern said. “Our average salary is $5 million, we’re not profitable, and we just can’t seem to get over the gap that separates us.”
What Stern missed – and perhaps Fisher, too – was a moment in the Omni Berkshire Hotel lobby that summed up the sad state of affairs better than either man could. As Fisher addressed the media, a young boy walked by and said excitedly to his father, “Dad, that’s Derek Fisher!”
As his father fumbled for his camera to capture a moment more inglorious than he knew, the boy said, “This must be about the NBA lockout.”
And it’s only going to get worse from here, for kids like that.
Totally awesome news, guys. It’s a good thing we’re not all starving for NBA action or anything. It’s great that we are enjoying reality TV shows like “The Bachelorette” and “Real Housewives of New York” (word to FreeDarko for the livetweeting) in place of hoops. I’m thrilled that I’ll get to see 15 more videos of NBAers playing pick up ball this week alone.
All of this sucks. We know it and the players know it, too. If you’re the praying kind, join Roger Mason and I in throwing up some thoughts for an NBA season.