By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
After weeks of conjecture and back-and-fourth proposals, the NBA owners and players union are now on the verge of missing games that truly matter.
Following yet another marathon-like bargaining session on Tuesday which ended without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league has cancelled the entire 114-game preseason schedule.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the league is looking at a "200 millionloss, or close to it, in revenue" by canceling the entire preseason.
It also means lost wages for players as well.
"Today was not the day for us to get this done," said union president Derek Fisher. "We were not able to get close enough to close the gap."
And the regular season?
With no future meetings scheduled - the union's executive director, Billy Hunter, said it could be another month, maybe two, before the sides meet again - all signs point toward the NBA season not starting on time.
Stern said the first two weeks of the regular season will be axed if the framework for a new CBA isn't agreed upon by Monday.
"We'd like not to lose the first two weeks of the season," Stern said. "But it doesn't look good."
Fisher added, "We're faced with a lockout that may jeopardize a portion or all of our season. We've prepared for this day."
The two sides have a number of issues still to work through, but the divvying up of the league's Basketball-Related Income is at or near the top of that list.
BRI consists of a number of things such as ticket sales, parking, revenue from concessions and maybe most significant, television contracts.
In the old CBA, players received 57 percent of the BRI and have shown a willingness to go as low as 53 percent.
Each percentage point is worth approximately 40 million, so the players willing to reduce their BRI take by four percentage points amounts to about 160 million savings for the league. Stretched out over six years, that would amount to a savings of nearly 1 billion.
Meanwhile, the best official offer from owners has been players taking home 47 percent of the BRI.
Stern said a proposal was made to a small group from the union that would have been a 5050 split of the BRI, a proposal that did not include additional expenditures that would have lowered the BRI percentage for the players.
"We were advised by the players that that would not be acceptable to them," said Stern, adding that what was discussed was not an offer. "That they were at a higher number. At that point, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to continue today by either side."
For most of the three-plus months since the lockout began July 1, it appeared as though the owners were reluctant to work towards a compromise which is at the heart of any deal.
However, they have since taken the desire for a hard salary cap off the table. In addition, owners are willing to keep contracts guaranteed and will not seek any rollbacks on existing contracts. The owners also proposed a 10-year pact that would allow the players to opt out of the deal after seven years.
"As we said, our indication to go to a 50-50 deal demonstrates even more potential movement on our part," said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "So we haven't made a secret of the fact that we'd very much like to make a deal."