NEW YORK Members of both the NBA and the NBA players union arrived at a midtown Manhattan hotel this morning, seemingly with one agenda -- to work towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The presence of George Cohen is seen by all as a potential game-changer in negotiations which up to this point, have proceeded with Eddie Curry-like quickness.
NBA commissioner David Stern has already canceled the first two weeks of the season. Depending on how things go during today's meeting, Stern cautioned that Christmas games might be called off as well.
Aware of Stern's comments, the union fired back, saying Stern's words were nothing more than a negotiating tactic.
Regardless of the rhetoric from either side, both came into today's meeting well aware that significant progress has to be made in order to get a new CBA in place.
Several issues remain between the two sides, but the biggest hurdles remain how to divide up the basketball-related income (worth about 3.8 billion last season), and what type of economic system needs to be in place moving forward.
The players received 57-percent of the BRI in the last CBA, and have offered to reduce their take to 53 percent which would amount to about 1.1 billion savings to the owners over a six-year period.
The owners have officially offered 46-percent, but earlier, Stern hinted that he could convince his ownership group to go for a 50-50 split.
The union indicated it had no interest in a 50-50 split, explaining that the 4 percentage dip they're willing to take would more than cover the losses the NBA says it incurred under the old CBA.
"How much more do they need? How much is enough?" said Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBAPA. "What we're saying, is we think what we put out there is more than ample. What they choose to do beyond that, is on them."
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