New York Representatives for NBA owners and players will meet twice this week, perhaps only days before training camps would have to be postponed without a new labor deal.
Staffs from both sides will meet Wednesday without leadership from either side, a person with knowledge of the plans said Tuesday. Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, union executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and other top negotiators would rejoin the talks for another meeting Thursday.
Without a breakthrough then, the NBA would likely be out of time before being forced to make changes to the calendar.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the meeting details are supposed to remain confidential.
Camps have been expected to open Oct. 3. During the 1998 lockout that reduced the season to 50 games, camps that were scheduled to begin Oct. 5 were postponed on Sept. 24.
The Nov. 1 start of the regular season could even be in jeopardy with the sides still fighting over the salary cap structure. Players were planning to make what Hunter called a “significant” financial concession during a full bargaining session last Tuesday, but that fell through when owners rejected the union’s insistence that the current cap system remain intact as a condition of their money move.
Both sides then met with their members Thursday. Owners were in Dallas, where they were updated on the labor talks and discussed an enhanced revenue sharing system that Stern said is coming once the deal with the players is complete.
The union has argued it should be part of these negotiations, believing owners could address their losses by sharing better among themselves.
Owners also want a larger portion of basketball revenues after players were guaranteed 57 percent in the old collective bargaining agreement that expired when June 30 ended. Players had proposed lowering that to 54.3 percent before the lockout began, and though it’s not clear how much lower they were prepared to go last week, Stern indicated it had them moving in the right direction toward agreement on that aspect.