The NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after this season, and many feel that a lockout is inevitable. The owners and players are far apart, with the Players Association sharply contesting the owner's pleas for poverty after a summer that saw several huge contracts handed out.
Earlier today, the two sides met, and according to Ken Berger, they remain far apart. However, the meeting, which included appearances by several of the league's highest-paid players, went better than expected.
#NBA owners and players have emerged from a 3 1-2 hour bargaining session in Manhattan. The big dogs DID show up. LBJ, Wade, Melo, etc. Bargaining was "more amicable" than at All-Star weekend, sources say, but sides still "far apart." #NBA
That's all nice and good, to be fair, and it's better than a situation where the two sides were shouting at each other. However, it's clear little progress is being made, as Pro Basketball Talk notes:
The owners are pushing for a radical change in how the NBA's financial structure -- a hard salary cap, shorter contracts with not all of them guaranteed, some restrictions on player movement and more.
The players basically like things the way they are now.
Whatever they talked about for more than three hours in Manhattan, neither side was moving off those basic principles, which are so diametrically opposed. The current CBA can run for another couple years but the owners can -- and will -- opt out of it by the end of this year and force a new CBA for next season.
I'll say again -- we are headed to a lockout next summer. This is not a maybe thing if you talk to people in NBA front offices. Everybody on both sides privately expects it. The only question is will it cost regular season games and if so how many.
Here's hoping they're wrong, but right now, it's hard to disagree.