The players and owners have been meeting early and often during the NBA Finals, and today was supposedly when one of their biggest bartering sessions yet would take place. Unsurprisingly, it looks like the players are the ones who are willing to give a little first, as according to David Aldridge they have expressed interest in giving up some money now for future assurances:
According to sources, the players have expressed a willingness to at least look at some meaningful reductions in overall salaries. But in exchange, the union wants mechanisms that would allow players to recoup some of their losses if the NBA continues on its upward track. One possible way would be to split any future monies above and beyond the current $4.3 billion in annual revenues at something approaching the current 57-43 take in the players’ favor. For example, if revenues grew over the course of a new five-year CBA to, say, $5 billion, the union would get 57 percent of the new $700 million created. Such a system would incentivize both sides to grow the pot and create more cheddar for everyone. But it’s not known how receptive the league was to the idea.
If this goes anything like the NFL’s version of Labor Chicken, the owners will stand stone-faced by their original offer. Perhaps, just maybe, that situation will not be lost on the NBA owners and we’ll see them okay further negotiations around that starting point.
But at this point, there’s really not much of a reason to be optimistic about it.