David Stern is quietly surveying a number of owners to see whether there's an appetite to concede limitations on the use of the full mid-level exception by luxury tax teams in a potential NBA lockout deal, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. The league's proposal to make a smaller mid-level exception available to taxpayers is one of the sticking points holding up a new collective bargaining agreement with players.
Multiple outlets, led by Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times, reported on Wednesday that the two sides are again talking about a potential deal. Reaching a handshake agreement by Friday would seem to allow enough time to handle the formalities, a free agency period and an abbreviated training camp before games slated for Christmas Day, December 25.
The NBA's multi-game slate on Christmas typically draws some of the highest ratings of the regular season for the league's network partners TNT, ABC and ESPN.
The latest publicly known NBA proposal included a mini mid-level for teams over the tax threshold starting at $3 million per season with a maximum term of three years. The sides have negotiated the full mid-level, available to all teams over the cap but under the tax line, to a starting salary of $5 million and alternating maximum terms of 3-4 years. (You could not give full four-year mid-level exception contracts in consecutive years, in other words.)