NBA Stalemate Rolls On

August 2, 2011

The National Basketball Association (NBA) have made no new progress in their first meeting on a new labour contract since the lockout which began one month ago.

David Stern, NBA Commissioner, said after yesterday’s three-hour meeting that the union isn’t negotiating in good faith. This was reciprocated by the players against the league in a filing with the National Labour Relations Board in May.

Stern said: “I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way, “We’re at the same place as we were 30 days ago.”

The main issue is how to split money from a league that generated about $4.3 billion in revenue last season. Yesterday’s talks didn’t focus on how much revenue each side should receive, union President Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said:

“You can only go so long discussing non-economic or system issues,” Fisher told reporters. “It eventually all brings you back to, ‘What’s the split?’”

National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), Executive Director, Billy Hunter has said that a proposal given to the players prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement leaves the sides more than $7 billion apart over the 10-year life of the contract.

The parties have agreed to meet once more in the next two weeks and perhaps twice before the end of August, Fisher said.

New Jersey Nets All-Star guard Deron Williams is among the players who intends to compete in Europe during the work stoppage.

The NBA is trying to follow in the footsteps the National Football League (NFL). On July 25 they announced the end of its own lockout after agreeing with the NFL Players Association on a 10-year contract.

“We’re looking at a league that was the most profitable in sports that became more profitable by virtue of concessions from their players, and with an average salary of $2 million,” Stern said about the NFL settlement. “Our average salary is $5 million and we’re not profitable. And we just can’t seem to get over the gap that separates us.”