Prior to the events of All-Star Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern presented his version of the previous day's union-owners labor talks during an hour-long press conference at the Staples Center. Stern opened the media session by noting that the "state of the league has never been stronger; the talent level is as good as it's ever been, and the fan response has been telling." Stern further commented on the need to step back and view the league in proper perspective relative to current world issues. But needless to say, the media's line of questioning brought lockout talk right back into focus.
The most noteworthy section of the press conference dealt with the financial aspect of collective bargaining negotiations. At Friday's union press conference, Billy Hunter specifically mentioned that the Players Association and NBA owners were not in agreement as to revenue and profit specifics. In stark contrast, Stern stated during his conference that "there is no disagreement in the numbers." When questioned by a reporter on the NBPA's skepticism about the league's claims of losing $300 million per year, Stern simply said, "I don't want to force Billy to disagree with me publicly." It was a strange choice of words, given Hunter had done exactly that during Friday's NBPA conference. After Stern's press conference had ended up, Hunter indeed publicly disagreed with Stern that there is agreement on the numbers.
Elsewhere, Stern confirmed Hunter's comments that the idea of a franchise tag has not been brought to the table, nor does he see it being discussed in the near future. When asked about contraction, Stern noted that there are no current contraction proposals on the table. Ultimately, he didn't indicate whether he thought CBA negotiations will indeed be wrapped up by the June 30 deadline.