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TOP NEWS
NBA NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE THURSDAY
Thu, 10 Nov 2011 01:31 PM EST

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association negotiated Wed. for 8 hours past the league’s stated 5 p.m. ET cut off point for a deal and made sufficient-enough progress to timetable another round of talks for Thursday. Baseball odds

Officials on both sides spoke modestly about what was accomplishedin a session that lasted Twelve hours in total and cautioned against getting swept up in the newest wave of optimism round the league that a deal to ultimately end the 133-day lockout is near.

The union was in hope of more after Hunter and union president Derek Fisher, for the first time since the lockout began, were authorized Tuesday by player reps from 29 of the league’s 30 teams to accept a Fifty / Fifty split in annual Basketball Related Income if they could secure concessions from the league on the 5 or so remaining “system” matters that have kept the sides from closinga deal.

The various limitations and penalties that owners continue to persist firmly on to control teams that stray into luxury-tax territory, sources say, are where the sides continue to snag. Baseball spreads

Another major hurdle, sources say, is the knowledge shared by both Hunter and NBA commissioner David Humorless the votes to approve any deal are probably going to be closer than ever seen in past work battles, given the rival camps that have formed inside both groups in the work blockage.

Wednesday’s victory for the union, then, was keeping the talks going sufficiently well to convince Cruel to desert the ultimatum he given to the players Sunday, which requested the league to immediately fall back to a far more constrictive suggestion than the deal presented Saturday if there wasn’t any accord by Five p.m. ET Wed..

The proven fact that the sides continued to trade offers in private well past the cut off point Stern issued Sunday inspired players, team executives and agents all over the NBA — as demonstrated on more than one occasion last month — to believe that a tentative agreement was near.

Hunter and Fisher , however, have assured their constituents that the league will unwind some of the proposed limitations against tax teams , such as its resolution to forbid them from collaborating in sign-and-trade deals and refusal to give taxpayers access to the maximum mid-level exception. So that the union’s power brokers are under pressure to deliver one or two heavy concessions in exchange for the union dropping to a 50 / 50 split after players earned 57 % of BRI in the final season of the previous work deal.

Stern, in the meantime, has to handle a grouping of small-market proprietors — controlled by Charlotte’s Michael Jordan — that doesn’t even wish to deal 50 / Fifty.

Player reps were informed during Tuesday’s union meeting in NY the league currently expects just 17 teams ( including the league-owned New Orleans Hornets ) to confirm the deal as constituted, with Thirteen groups opposing. It takes only an easy majority ( Sixteen groups ) to confirm a new labor deal, but Stern has maintained all summer that he favors a more robust majority than that to seal the deal.

The NBA owners have locked out the players, and small progress has been made in talks.

Should talks be struck down again this week, sources say that players and agents in the vanguard of a drive to dissolve the union thru decertification will be prepared to go forward with plans to file a petition with the national Labor Relations Board asking for a decertification vote.

Decertification is a two-step process that requires 30 percent of the league’s work-force — an estimated 130 players — to sign the petition asking for a vote. That petition is then forwarded to the NLRB, which would take up to Forty five days to confirm the petition and prepare the vote, in which the union and league could continue to play ball.

Decertification backers believe that the dread of the unknown, with the labor fight potentially moving into courtrooms, may finally move NBA owners off the extreme hard-line negotiating position they’ve maintained and lead straight to a more palatable deal during that 45-day window. Sources on the ownership side , however, have scoffed at the threat of decertification and likewise believe that the pre-emptive Fed suit filed by the NBA during the summer could possibly take the sting out of any potential decertification, although that remains a case of some debate among legal researchers.

The union did not conduct a formal vote of the players assembled in the room, opting instead for an ad hoc “everyone agrees” agreement that sanctioned Hunter and Fisher to accept a Fifty / Fifty BRI split as long as the league makes some concessions on some of the remaining system issues.

But sources briefed on the owners ‘ thinking maintained Wednesday that Humorless only has the latitude to generate minor tweaks of “B-list” issues that would change the overall range of the deal only slightly.

The deal Cruel made Sunday attached to Wednesday’s cut off point requested players to get between 49 % and 51 percent of annual BRI. Union officers say that it’d be nearly impossible for the league to generate sufficient money in any given season for the players to earn more than 50.2 percent, but Hunter and Fisher now have the go-ahead for the first time all summer to go that low on BRI if the proprietors will consent to relax some of those boundaries they want to impose on groups that stray into luxury-tax territory, which the union is fighting as it believes they can seriously constrain player movement.

The negotiating groups in Wednesday’s marathon session, which began at One p.m. ET in Manhattan and ended at One a.m. ET Thursday, were tiny by design. Cruel was joined on the league’s negotiating team by deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Antonio’s Peter Holt representing the proprietors and barristers Rich Buchanan and Dan Rube.

Hunter and Fisher were joined by Fisher’s fellow board members Maurice Evans and Roger Mason, NBPA counsel Ron Klempner, outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and outside economist Kevin Murphy.

Kessler joined Wednesday’s talks only after issuing a public apology in the wake of an interview he gavelate Monday to The Washington Post, in which he revealed that NBA owners treat players like “plantation workers.”

Union officers were secretly mad with Kessler’s comments, which pushed Humorless to describe the veteran negotiator’s conduct in sessions with the NBA as “routinely despicable.”


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