NBA players trying to maintain hope
Some of the NBA’s top players showed up an a charity game hosted by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant on Sunday night.
The players agreed on two things – they want to get back to work but have no idea when the current lockout could end.
“I really can’t say right now,” Durant said. “We’re just trying to work to get a deal done. We’re going to continue to play in these games and show the fans that we love the game and we want to play.”
Talks between the sides broke down Thursday after three days of negotiations with a federal mediator failed to bring them any closer to an accord on how to divide all basketball-related income.
Owners say they want a 50-50 split while players have been willing to come down to 52.5 percent after receiving 57 percent in the previous collective bargaining agreement.
New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul said the 50-50 split is not amenable to the union because of overlapping issues.
“It’s more than that. It’s also about the system,” Paul said. “A lot of people think it’s just about the economics, but the economics is something we’re willing to talk about. But at the same time, the system and the economics have to go together.”
NBA commissioner David Stern said last week that Christmas games were in danger of being canceled if progress on a new collective bargaining agreement was not in place by Tuesday.
Asked if he expected to be playing by Christmas, Durant said: “I wish.”
Paul said he wants the fans to know that the players want to be back on the court with a fair agreement in place.
“We try to explain (the situation) as much as we can, but it’s really hard to understand unless you’re in the situation,” Paul said. “But I just want the fans to trust us and know that we’re far from greedy. We just want a fair deal. We want to get out there and play more than anybody.
“But we understand that at the end of the day, we’re the product. We’re the reason the fans come and we just want a fair deal.”