The negotiating teams for the NBA owners and players met until the wee hours of the morning today, eventually wrapping up what would be 15 hours of cautiously optimistic talks around 3:00AM. There is now a wave of optimism that a deal may be within reach by this weekend.
Commissioner David Stern was back in control of things after missing last week's debacle with the flu. There was no sniping back and forth or name calling after this meeting. Stern emerged from the laborious labor talks in a good mood, while on the players' side Billy Hunter talked about making progress and Derek Fisher didn't refute the chatter about progress but made clear that there is still much more to be done before striking a deal.
Still, the negotiators will take yet another wave of positive momentum into this afternoon's talks which are expected to resume around 2:00PM. There was no sniping at each other or name calling this morning. There were no mentions of lost games, in fact both sides talked about still having time to work in an 82-game schedule. While I appreciate the effort, just get the deal done and any amount of regular season games they land on for this year is fine with me.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been skeptical on progress at every turn in this mess and even he reports that there was solid progress toward a deal despite both sides trying to downplay the significance.
From front-office executives to player agents, optimism is rapidly rising that there's significant momentum toward reaching an agreement and saving most, if not all, of the 82-game regular season. Union executive director Billy Hunter said he "assumes" the full schedule could be saved if a deal is reached by "Sunday or Monday." Stern said the league will work with the union to schedule as many games as possible.
While both side mentioned there was not talk of the BRI split, I'd have to think if they figure out the system stuff the BRI percents will fall into place since they are reportedly so close. That will be the true test of whether or not the owners actually intend to have a season this year.
After the jump, plenty of links including the players World Tour which appeared in jeopardy last night with LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony pulling out. At one point it seemed like a sign a deal was imminent. Still not ruling that out.
- Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant to headline World All-Star Classic game in Puerto Rico - ESPN
- NBA, players make progress toward deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports - Wojnarowski
- Conditioning may be fine, but what about team chemistry? | Pacers Insider blog | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com
- NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Claim Progress After 15-Hour Bargaining Session - SB Nation
- Progress on system; 82 games still 'possible' - CBSSports.com - Berger
- N.B.A. Negotiations Yield a Glimmer of Hope for Full Season - NYTimes.com
- NBA, players make progress on systems issues, will meet Thursday - Sam Amick - SI.com
- Five takeaways from Wednesday's marathon meeting - CBSSports.com
- Beasley traveled common road to NBA - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
- 82 games may be too many - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
- NBA marathon session ends after 15 hours - NBA - AP
- Lockout update: After 15+ hours of talks, 82 games still possible - Sheridanhoops.com