Report: NBA Labor Deal 95% Done

by October 31, 2011

Despite yet another breakdown in labor talks last week, leading to yet another round of game cancellations, the NBA lockout may be a lot closer to the end than it otherwise appears. But that small 5% gap between the two sides won’t be easy to overcome, reports the NY Times: “The new N.B.A. labor deal is practically done. You wouldn’t know it from the headlines, the dour news conferences or the apocalyptic rhetoric spilling from league officials. But the deal, in practical terms, is about 95 percent complete. The N.B.A. and the players union have agreed on contract lengths and luxury-tax rates, trade rules and cap exceptions, and a host of oddly named provisions offering ‘amnesty’ and ‘stretch payments’ and less onerous ‘base-year’ rules. All of these pieces — some favoring the players, most of them favoring the owners — have fallen into place in recent weeks, even as talks collapsed and restarted and collapsed again. The checklist has been reduced to a few items. But it is the last 5 percent that is ruining the prospects for labor peace and gradually eroding the N.B.A. season. Four weeks of games are gone, and more could fall, because owners and players are still fighting over how to split $4 billion in revenue. The league wants a 50-50 split. The players want 52.5 percent. In real terms, they are separated by about $100 million a year — a hefty sum, but small in the context of these negotiations. They were once 20 percent and hundreds of millions apart. The difficulty in closing the gap is psychological and financial.”