NBA Owners, Union Representatives Scheduled to Meet Monday; Little Progress Expected

NBPA President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter hope to address systematic issues rather than detailed finances in Monday's meeting.

Well, at least they're meeting.

A month after NBA owners locked their players out as the former CBA expired, owners and union representatives have a negotiating session scheduled for Monday in New York. Union President Derek Fisher, Executive Director Billy Hunter and league commissioner David Stern are expected to attend, but Fisher has announced modest goals for the session. As per Royce Young of cbssports.com:

"It's more about getting the process started again," he (Fisher) continued. "Kind of rolling the sleeves back up and starting to do the hard work that it's going to take to try and get something done between now and October 1st or when the start of training camp would be. I don't know if there's going to be any major movement on Monday."

That's not exactly cause for optimism, but conversation is better than no conversation. After the last month, which had zero progress of any kind aside from a lot of players making noise about playing overseas and the owners essentially saying, "go ahead, and tell us how that works out for you", getting the parties to the table is a start. But of course, it's only a start in what figures to be a protracted conflict. Neither side has much interest in making real compromises now because nobody's incurring any serious losses yet.

Not all analysts are so pessimistic about the prospects of a settlement. Memphis Grizzlies beat reporter Ronald Tillery is convinced that, because Hunter and Stern learned valuable lessons from the 1998-99 lockout and want to avoid repeating the same mistakes, no more than a month of regular season games will be missed. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

If any games are lost, I'd give it a month tops. I'm in the minority in terms of being an optimist about this situation. Sure, the NBA is looking to radically change its financial structure, unlike the NFL's simple dilemma of slicing the pie. It's a much harder situation to agree on in the NBA. But having worked the 1999 lockout, I just believe that all of the key negotiators know what's at stake.

I wish I could say I agree with that, but I think it's most likely that the pressure to settle won't really be on until closer to the end of 2011 and the end of football season, the time of the year when interest in the NBA tends to take off.

In fact, I'd suggest you go ahead and grab a Snickers. It's gonna be awhile.


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