National Basketball Association officials, owners and players met on Aug. 1 for the first time since the lockout began a month ago but no progress was made on reaching a new labor deal, according to reports.
According to Reuters.com the meeting lasted three hours as both sides discussed the dispute over how to split the NBA’s $ 4.3 billion yearly total revenues. Players received 57 percent of the pie, while owners took 43 percent under the previous revenue split.
But the owners say 22 of 30 NBA franchises took financial losses last season, so changes must be made.
NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said on Aug. 3 that the union proposed a deal in early July that would drop the players’ share to 54 percent, giving the owners $100 million more per year. But the owners are demanding closer to $1 billion in increased share of total revenue, according to Hunter.
“We’re $800 million apart per year,” the union director stated during an appearance at the National Bar Association, an organization of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges, according to the Baltimore Sun, noting that there is a deep “gap…between us.”
Hunter suggested that NBA commissioner David Stern’s high demands have been backed by a new group of owners in the NBA.
According to the Associated Press, the NBA filed two actions Aug. 2. One is an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board. That same day the NBA owners asked a federal court in New York to declare that the lockout does not violate antitrust law and to declare that, should the players’ union decertify, existing player contracts would be voided.
“We just don’t have as much time as the NFL did,” Stern told the AP. “If the union sort of continued to drag its feet and then pursued its preferred decertification strategy, and if the same 4 and 1/2 months went by , we’d well into our season.”
Hunter said during the conference in Baltimore that he’s willing to bet the entire 2011-12 season may be canceled.
“If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no” to the prospects of a season this year, Hunter said, according to the Sun.
But NBA player’s union president Derek Fisher, a veteran guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters he’s optimistic about getting effective negotiations started.
“We still realize we’re very far apart,” Fisher said, according to Reuters.com. “But without meetings, there wouldn’t be any progress at all.”