Sheridan: Sides Will Meet Monday

Progress? Progress! From Chris Sheridan:

One month after the NBA lockout began, the heavy hitters will finally be back at the bargaining table Monday.

Commissioner David Stern, union director Billy Hunter and their top lieutenants have agreed to resume collective bargaining discussions, sources told ESPN.com Wednesday, for the first time since talks broke down hours before NBA owners imposed a lockout July 1, shutting down the league for the first time since the summer of 1998.

The sides remain far apart on the parameters of a new deal, but the decision to meet face-to-face again is one of the first possible signs of progress after four weeks of stagnancy.

Attorneys from the league office and the players’ union met July 15 ago to conclude the annual BRI audit, and it was agreed that the sides desired to put the negotiations on a faster track than they were on during the 1998 labor dispute, when nearly seven weeks elapsed between the last pre-lockout negotiating session and the first bargaining session after the imposition of the work stoppage.

While the players and owners are very far apart, this does really constitute progress, considering they are actually going to discuss this as early as August 1st.

As it stands, the situation is no better than a month ago. He points out how far apart the two sides are with the BRI and the cap and whatnot. Players seem willing to give up some concessions, while owners want an entire new system to prevent 22 teams from losing money. Same story as before.

But honestly, this is actually earlier than I expected talks to start back up. It’s been 28 days since the sides talked, the day before the lockout began. Other than free agency’s cancellation, the impact of the lockout hasn’t been felt by the general public. Though some teams, with the lockout as an excuse, have laid-off staff. And it looks like both sides are willing to work hard to ensure that the loss of games will be minimal, if any are lost at all.

This is a good sign. We need more of these.

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