NEW YORK (AP) — After a lockout that has lasted more than three months, whether the NBA season starts on time could come down to one “very huge day” in labor talks.
NBA owners and players will be back Tuesday for a full bargaining session, knowing if they fail to produce results, there may not be enough time left to avoid canceling regular-season games.
“A lot of signs point to tomorrow being a very huge day,” players’ association president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. “There will be a lot of pressure on all of us in the room, and we’ll accept that responsibility and go in and see what we can get worked out.”
The sides met in small groups Monday for about five hours, a session that Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said was mainly about “setting the table” for Tuesday. While careful not to put too much pressure on Tuesday’s talks, he and Commissioner David Stern made clear there had to be signs of compromise.
“Each side understands what’s at stake and where potentially there is movement in order to try to get a deal done,” Silver said. “I mean, we can only say we’re running out of time so many times.”
The regular season is scheduled to open Nov. 1. Players would have reported to training camps Monday, but they were postponed and 43 preseason games scheduled for Oct. 9-15 were canceled last month.
“We still are in the same position that we all wish we were starting training camp today and we know a lot of our fans in respective markets feel the same way,” Fisher said. “So we’re going to continue to work at this until we can either figure it out in a way that will spare us all a lot of collateral damage and games missed, or not, but we’re going to put the effort and the time in as we have been doing and see if we can come to a resolution.”
The league locked out players on July 1 after the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement. Seeking significant changes after saying they lost $300 million last season, owners want a new salary cap structure and are seeking to reduce the players’ guarantee of basketball revenues from 57 percent, to perhaps 50 percent or below.
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