NBA AM: Back to the Bargaining Table
The NBA’s players and owners will once again return to the bargaining table today to see if they can close the large gap that currently separates the two sides. After six days of silence, key negotiators from the NBA and NBPA will meet in a Manhattan hotel this afternoon, according to Newsday.
Because the two sides were able to schedule this meeting, the NBA postponed their announcement that two more weeks of the regular season would be canceled. If they cannot come to an agreement this afternoon, David Stern may make the announcement during his press conference following the session.
Yesterday, the league’s owners had a video conference to discuss revenue sharing plans. It’s unclear whether or not they’ll come to the table with a new proposal for the players.
Last week’s meeting ended with the owners giving an ultimatum: Either the players would except a 50-50 BRI split or the talks would end. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter were shocked by the move, especially considering the two sides had been making a considerable amount of progress on other system-related issues.
Following the meeting, both sides were upset and there was plenty of finger pointing. Adam Silver and Peter Holt told reporters that the players walked out of the negotiations.
An emotional Fisher accused the owners of lying and telling one-sided stories. Hunter reiterated that the league wasn’t being honest, and made it clear that the players wouldn’t meet with the owners if there were any preconditions in place. The fact that the two sides are meeting today suggests that the owners’ “50-50 take it or leave it” stance has softened.
Today’s talks won’t include federal mediator George Cohen, who left New York after the conclusion of last week’s meeting. Stern is expected to attend today’s meeting after missing last Thursday’s session with the flu.
After today’s meeting ends, the NBA and NBPA press conferences will be streamed here.
NBA Stars Going on World Tour: While the NBA and NBPA continue negotiations in the coming days, some of the biggest names in the NBA will be heading on an international tour that includes stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia, sources close to the situation confirm.
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, and Kevin Garnett are expected to participate in the two-week, six-game tour.
All of the players have signed agreements and the tour is ready to get started with the first game in Puerto Rico taking place this Saturday.
Months of planning went into this tour, and Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden has played a large role in organizing the games. He worked with the players’ agents and received funding from various individuals in each of the four cities that will host games.
The same group of players tried putting together a similar international tour in October, but with different organizers at the helm. The plans fell through because all of the necessary contracts didn’t get signed in time. Had the tour taken place last month, the games would have been played throughout Asia, with rappers including Drake in attendance to perform at each of the stops.
Darden is exploring the possibility of broadcasting these star-studded games in the United States, but nothing is official as of yet. The organizers are still weighing their options, but the games would more than likely be broadcast online rather than on television. Tickets will also be sold for each game, but those details haven’t been made available yet.
One of the biggest names missing from the list of superstars is Dwight Howard. While he’s not participating in the two-week tour, sources close to the situation say that he and his Orlando Magic teammates have expressed interest in playing their own series of games in China and Indonesia at a later date if the lockout continues.
The tour will span from October 30 to November 9.
Ibaka Signs With Real Madrid: Serge Ibaka has signed a two-month contract with the Spanish club Real Madrid. The Oklahoma City Thunder power forward will be reunited with Rudy Fernandez, after the two teamed up to help Spain win the EuroBasket championship earlier this summer.
“I’m very proud to start being part of a historic club like Real Madrid,” Ibaka wrote on his personal website. “I’m thankful for this great opportunity as a person and as a player. I arrive with humility to try to learn from the coach and the teammates and, at the same time, with ambition to try to help the team win as many games as possible while I’m with the team. I’m excited to get to know the team’s fans.”
Ibaka averaged 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks during the EuroBasket tournament. He became a Spanish citizen just several months prior to the games in order to compete.
Real Madrid is also pursuing Marc Gasol, who was excellent during Spain’s EuroBasket run as he averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. The trio of Fernandez, Ibaka and Gasol would be one of the best in Spain.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There are two chats on today’s schedule. HOOPSWORLD’s salary cap and CBA guru Larry Coon will kick things off at 3 p.m. ET with his weekly chat. Up next, HOOPSWORLD’s Mark Nugent will be answering your questions at 5 p.m. ET. Submit your questions early because these chats fill up fast. To view all of HOOPSWORLD’s upcoming chats, click here.