By Chris Sheridan
NEW YORK — “It demonstrates the potential for more movement on our part.”
Those words came out of the mouth of NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday after the owners offered the players a 50-50 split of revenues. So although some are writing that the players will never get an offer like that again, I’ll take the word of Silver over the word of a fellow blogissist.
There is a fair chance there will be contact between the league office and the players association today, if not for a brief sitdown (the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins at sundown, shortening the workday), then to set the table for a final round of negotiations to bring an end to the lockout before Monday — the date commissioner David Stern has set as the deadline to save the scheduled Nov. 1 start of the regular season.
To properly appreciate how eager Stern is to get a deal done, consider this: When he knocked on the door where the players were caucusing Tuesday and upped his offer from 47 percent to 50 percent, he moved further in the space of one minute than he had over the course of the entire summer. I still maintain that if Stern had made the 50-50 offer before the sides separated to caucus, the deal would have been done by now. Moving from 46 to 47 percent, as he did, was a slap in the face to the players (especially with a hothead like Kevin Garnett in the room) and left them predisposed to react angrily toward whatever words were the next to come out of Stern’s mouth. It was a tactical error on the commissioner’s part.
SheridanHoops.com has learned that the players’ most recent offer requested a 52.4 percent share of revenues in the first year of a six-year deal, rising gradually to 54 percent by Year 6 and averaging out at 53 percent.
So the sides are not 2 or 3 percentage points apart, they are 2.4 percentage points apart — at least in terms of Year One, or to use Ken Berger’s math, they are $80 million apart in a business that took in $4.2 billion in revnues last year. That is a bridgeable gap — especially when taking Silver’s aforementioned quote into account.
So I’ll say it again: The deal will get done, and no regular season games will be lost. That has been my prediction all along, and I ain’t budging. I’ll leave the budging to the guys in the negotiating room.