Yep, it’s about that time again.
After a complete meltdown last week, the players and owners are scheduled for another cocktail mixer in a plush Manhattan hotel tomorrow afternoon. On the agenda this time?
Well, that’s tough to say, considering neither side has shown even a trace of willingness to concede anything. Even worse, both the NBPA and the owners are now dealing with some disruptive internal issues, making tomorrow’s negotiations (if we can still even call it that) feel more like Armageddon for the NBA season.
It came out earlier this week that Michael Jordan (current owner of the Charlotte Bobcats) doesn’t approve of Commissioner Stern’s willingness to accept a 50/50 BRI split. It’s been rumored that he, along with a subset of owners in agreement with him, are unwilling to sign-off on anything less than 53% for the owners. (Call me crazy, but something tells me M.J.’s stance has a whole lot more to do with winning the negotiation than it does with the actual dollar signs.)
Meanwhile, the NBPA seems to be on the verge of detonating.
On Tuesday, a group rumored to be around 50 players had a pair of conference calls with an anti-trust lawyer to get a better understanding of the decertification process. The players are reportedly upset with the compromises already made by the NBPA, and many close to the situation believe decertification will be the next step if a deal isn’t struck tomorrow.
As it currently stands, the two sides still remain 2.5% apart on BRI, which is the principal issue obstructing the new CBA and the start of the NBA season. NBPA executive director Billy Hunter summed up the expectations of tomorrow’s meeting very simply:
“We can’t rush into a deal we feel is a bad deal just to save this season.”
Barring a miracle, the ’11-12 NBA season appears to be all but vanished.