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NBA players still talking about new deal as deadline nears

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday he hopes a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players can be reached by the end of this week, though he did not predict that an agreement would actually be reached. .

“I think everyone understands what’s at stake,” Silver said.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association face a midnight Friday deadline for each side to decide whether to opt out of the agreement and end the current CBA on June 30. That withdrawal deadline has already been extended twice, and Silver said the NBA’s current plan is to exercise that option if there’s no agreement by Friday night.

“I can definitely predict that one will be done and hopefully we will do one,” Silver said at the end of a two-day meeting of the league’s board of governors. “It’s just because, honestly, I’m only one side of the negotiation, it’s hard for me to place odds on it happening or not.”

NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said the players have no plans to withdraw if Friday’s deadline passes without a deal.

“The March 31 deadline is an important benchmark, and we are doing everything in our power to reach an agreement with the league,” Tremaglio said. “If we don’t have an agreement and the league decides to walk away, it will be disappointing given all the hard work both sides have put into the negotiations and the fair nature of our demands. Regarding our fans, it will be business as usual. The games will continue uninterrupted.

Both sides have said throughout this process — and in previous labor negotiations — that they have no intention of negotiating or discussing details publicly.

The parties have been talking about a new CBA for more than a year, and Silver said he expects negotiations to resume on Wednesday night. And if Friday passes without a deal, it wouldn’t matter immediately because the parties will still have three months to do something before the current CBA expires.

The opt-out options were put in place to avoid the drama of having talks until the end of a deal, which would increase the chances of a work stoppage.

“There is still a lot to do in the coming days. There’s just something about collective bargaining where deadlines are necessary and apparently the parties tend to hold on to their best positions until the very end,” Silver said. “So my feeling is that it will go to the very end.”

The league has made it clear that it wants to make changes to the current CBA and has had discussions with the union on issues such as an upper spending limit, returning to a plan where players can go to the draft directly since high school and adopt a minimum number of games played in order to qualify for end-of-season awards.

“Every problem seems seemingly tied to every other problem,” Silver said. “If you line up those 10 issues, you’re kind of going 80% of the way through each issue and everyone is holding their last shot to say, ‘Well, okay, maybe I’m ready to do this, but I will wait to see what you will do on these three questions. And if you take these steps on these three issues, then I will feel a little more comfortable. I mean, people are constantly exchanging things.

The current CBA, which went into effect July 1, 2017, included a mutual option for the NBA or NBPA to opt out after six seasons — on June 30 of this year.

The parties originally had a deadline of December 15 to announce their intention to exercise the opt-out, then pushed it back to February 8, then to Friday.

A lockout would be damaging on many levels – well beyond the obvious part of how a league that is coming off a record-breaking revenue season (it topped $10 billion for the first time last season and the basketball-related revenues reached $8.9 billion, another record) would see that momentum halted. It could also interfere with the roster of squads for this summer’s World Cup in the Philippines, with NBA players set to fill US and other rosters (and three NBA coaches set to serve on the US coaching staff).

It could also disrupt plans for an NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in July that is set to feature presumptive No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama in what would be a global spectacle as the French phenom begins his career. in the NBA.

“I think for both teams in various categories, we recognize that we’ve come together,” Silver said. “There is always a gap between what we think we need to be in order to get a deal. I would say that throughout the discussions, the discussions had a very positive tenor and maintained the strong sense of partnership that we have with our players. and the players’ association.


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