The first negotiations dealing directly with drafting a new collective bargaining agreement have been scheduled for July 22, Bloomberg News reports:
It will be the first face-to-face negotiations since the owners locked the players out on July 1 following failed talks over how to split money from a league that generated about $4.3 billion in revenue last season.
The meeting at the league office in New York won't include owners or members of the National Basketball Players Association's Executive Committee, union Executive Director Billy Hunter, who also will not be in attendance, said in an interview.
Although owners, Stern and Hunter won't be there, this is terrific news. The big guns don't need to be there until the talks get serious, and considering one of the last times figures were discussed, Billy Hunter said they were $7 billion apart, the talks aren't nearing a deal anytime soon.
CBS Sports says Stern, owners and players likely won't meet again until August.
The NFL is near a deal, but they'll likely be losing preseason games. While NBA players don't need to study playbooks whose page counts soar over triple digits, as the Miami Heat showed at the beginning of last season, it takes time for teams to develop chemistry together. All practice time lost means when/if the games start up again this season, they're going to be that much uglier.