Thursday is the final day for players and owners to negotiate with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement still intact. At midnight, it expires and the league could be thrust into a lockout situation, as owners try and recoup money that they're losing by the bucketful.
We should have a more comprehensive story on what the lockout means for the league, but for now, let's look at a couple articles on the negotiatons.
- Henry Abbot over at TrueHoop runs through 11 important issues in the negotiations. The takeaway there is that right now, it looks like there will not be a hard cap. Instead, there will be a "flex" cap, which I assume will be somewhat firmer than the current one without being hard and fast like the NFL's.
- Also, both sides are moving to the center on issues. It sounds like negotiating is going on and this round isn't nearly as contentious as the last time the NBA went through labor strife. However, I doubt there is enough time for a deal to get done by tonight. In that case, there probably will be a lockout, which just may not last very long.
- The players and owners are going through a 12-hour negotiating session on Thursday, which will hopefully lead to some progress. David Stern made a point of saying he didn't want to negotiate through the media, maybe making an off-hand jab at his NFL counterparts in the process.
- The main issue, though, is money. The owners need to get more of it back and the players don't want to give it up. Those kinds of disputes don't go away easily, so expect there to be some animosity before this is said and done.