The league and players met for five hours Sunday and nada, zip, zero, zilch. Not a deal, not a framework, not a conceptual agreement, not a tentative agreement, not even "progress." We're just guessing here, but we have this image of them each sitting there like it's study hall, passing notes to their friends and not really talking about anything of substance. Apparently BRI never even came up.
That's right. The biggest issue remaining on the table, and they didn't even touch it.
So what has to happen for a dea on a new CBA to happen today and to avoid the loss of regular season games as David Stern promised there would be without a deal Monday? Here's what it looks like.
- Resolve revenue sharing. SI reports that revenue sharing remains the biggest systemic, non-BRI issue on the table. This is tricky territory, as it's not something the NBA even wants to be talking about. They don't even want it on the table. But apparently they've let it on and both sides are squabbling over what it will look like. The biggest hangup is likely that the players' best friend in the BRI and cap issues, the large market owners, are the ones that will pump the brakes on revenue sharing. The players want an extensive system, because the more money is redistributed on the owners' side, the less money they'll have to contribute to recovering losses, hypothetically.
- The 12-foot, sabretoothed, hulking monster in the room that is BRI. The owners aren't budging on 50/50. The players won't move off 53 percent. Either one side's going to have to bend, or they'll have to find some sort of compromise in-between. Maybe it's the owners taking 52 to get the player down a percent. Maybe they split the difference. But neither side is even open to that possibility. If talks turn to this issue on Monday afternoon and neither side is willing to move at all on their number, it's going to be a real short meeting.
- Get a framework, then get the votes. Even if the smaller parties can get a conceptual framework in place, complete with BRI and everything else, they still have to get approval from their constituents for a vote. Say the owners talk the players down to 51 percent. All it takes is one leaked quote from an owner about how they knew the players would cave, and then Kevin Garnett turns that into a rallying cry, and then the agents hit the roof and start calling for decertification again and the whole thing blows up. Say the players get the owner sup to 53 percent through concessions, but one of them turns out to be a sticking point for one of the owners and the rest of the league sticks with their guy who says he can't do it. There are a million ways this blows up once the reasaonable grown-ups negotiating the deal now get done.
- Get a vote, get a timeline, get the paperwork done, start the offseason.
So as you can see, we're kind of up against it here.