Are the NBA labor talks nearing the turning point on the road to resolve the NBA lockout?
Early Wednesday, a report from Yahoo! Sports indicated that the NBA owners are open to compromise on a key issue that has been a sticking point of negotiations with players: a hard salary cap. This news comes out of meetings between players and owners in New York on Tuesday.
According to Yahoo!, the owners proposed something similar to the system under the previous labor deal, which is based on a luxury tax. It was the first time in two years of talks that the owners had budged off their stance of instituting a hard salary cap, which the NFL and NHL currently employ. NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter has said the players would never agree to a deal with a hard cap.
Can't be that simple, right? Right. Here's the catch: One unidentified source told Yahoo! that the owners' proposal of a revised cap system would have the effects of a hard cap.
Under the previous labor contract, teams that exceeded the salary cap paid a dollar-for-dollar tax. Now, it appears the owners will want something even more rigid. Thus, more compromise might be needed.
However, owners did not move away from their insistence on a downgrade in the players' split in the basketball-related income percentage (BRI). The owners want to drop the players' current 57 percent split to the mid-40s, according to Yahoo! Players were willing to drop to 54 percent last week.
The NBA owners and players will meet again Wednesday. This could determine if Tuesday's reports were significant, and if any real progress will happen this week toward a new deal with the cancelation of more preseason games looming.
The NBA regular season begins Nov. 1, just more than a month from Wednesday.