The start of the NBA season is currently in danger of being postponed as the players union and NBA owners fail to agree on a new employment contract. Expanded groups of players union representatives and representatives of the owners were gathered together around the bargaining table on Tuesday for a five-hour meeting, but no progress was made on the new contract.
The owners and NBA Commissioner David Stern have said that the owners cannot successfully run their teams under the current conditions, and say that most teams have been operating at a loss. The owners would like to see a hard cap placed on players’ salaries.
The owners say the hard cap would help the teams stay competitive and would also help keep the teams from experiencing continual financial losses. The owners say that a team system without hard salary caps is not “economically feasible,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The owners say that this point is the main reason why the negotiations are deadlocked because players do not want a hard cap on salaries.
The training camps for NBA players are scheduled to begin in less than three weeks, with exhibition games and the NBA season scheduled to begin soon after. The NBA season opener is scheduled for November 1.
The owners and players have been continuing to meet since the Tuesday talks and they are also meeting with each other separately. It does not seem likely that the season will start on time. The two groups are hopeful, but not optimistic, that it will. In 1998, an NBA player lockout during labor negotiations resulted in the season being cut to 50 games.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Bigger group makes no headway in NBA labor negotiations,” Ben Bolch, Sept. 13, 2011