David Stern: Owners, Players ‘Very Far Apart’ on New Labor Deal

by June 09, 2011

There has never been greater worldwide interest in the NBA, which naturally, may be on the brink of a work stoppage. The AP reports on the latest negotations between players and owners: “Repeating the words several times, David Stern made it clear: NBA owners and players are ‘very far apart’ on a new labor deal. And with the union saying the league hasn’t moved off its harshest demands, it may be hard to get closer in time to prevent a lockout. ‘I think one of the owners indicated at the conclusion of today’s meeting that he was very pessimistic as to whether or not they’d be able to reach an accord between now and the end of the month, and I’m forced to share that sentiment,’ union executive director Billy Hunter said Wednesday. ‘I think maybe it’s going to be a difficult struggle.’ Representatives of the owners and players completed a second day of meetings, scheduled two more for next week, and expressed hope that continued dialogue before the June 30 expiration of the collective bargaining agreement could head off a work stoppage. Yet the players reiterated their opposition to a hard salary cap, reduction in contract lengths and the amount for which they could be guaranteed, and said owners haven’t budged on their desire for all three. ‘No change at all. What has changed is maybe the mechanism, the system somewhat in maybe how we get there. We tossed around some ideas in that regard, but there is no hiding the fact that the main components of what we originally received in their proposal have not changed at all,’ union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. ‘So from that standpoint, there hasn’t been much of a negotiation because that really hasn’t changed.'”