Posted by Matt Moore
It would appear cooler heads have prevailed. After yesterday's report from NBA FanHouse regarding a refusal of owners to meet with the players' union, it would appear that report was inaccurate and the two sides will meet during NBA All-Star Weekend. NBA FanHouse reports the same, but also says the players are not kidding around about the seriousness of this meeting, and what the owners' tactics signal to them:
"If they don't want to meet, then they don't want to meet," he said. "But we'll still be out there. We're still going to have our meeting, to update players and do our due diligence. But I think those guys, the owners, are really miscalculating and getting bad advice. Whoever is advising them is giving really poor advice. If you had heads and CEOs of these Fortune 500 companies, I don't think they would ever run one of those companies like that."via Notebook: Labor Issues, Tyreke Evans Foot Update, Dunk Contest News -- NBA FanHouse.
So the two will talk, and try and make some progress. But the players continue to freak out throughout these negotiations, showing their inexperience. The stunning thing about all this is that the players could have a lot of leverage were they to play things differently. Instead, they freak out and walk around stomping the ground like they did at All-Star Weekend, and with quotes like the one above. That only affords the owners the ability to further entrench themselves, rather than getting out on open ground.
Open ground means the owners are talking, negotiating, and gives the players a better chance of causing dissension among the ranks of the owners between the small and big market guys over issues like player movement and revenue sharing. With Ken Berger's report of a possible compromise on all fronts that would make for a significant push towards a deal, the players have a shot at getting more than the scraps if they can get the owners out on the table with some level of dignity. But so far, the players seem content to play softball with their initiatives, then react with stomps and spits when the owners play hardball.
They're losing on two fronts, but at least the talks will be held.