By Chris Sheridan
NEW YORK — Earlier, this post listed the two biggest questions of the day in the NBA lockout talks:
How much energy is left after a 16-hour bargaining session that ended after 2 a.m. this morning? Will David Stern be flexible with the Board of Governors’ schedule if a deal is within reach?
We got an answer to the second one when the league announced that a 2 p.m. meeting had been postponed until this evening to allow bargaining talks to continue. And if it can be postponed once, it can presumably be postponed again.
There were various sourced reports out there this morning stating that minimal progress was made in the marathon session, but take them with a grain of salt. In a major negotiation such as this one, the sides always take baby steps before they make the simultaneous great leap toward the middle. Having a mediator there, as the sides do with George Cohen presiding, theoretically helps facilitate that great leap.
Talks resumed at 10 a.m. after yesterday’s session lasted more than twice as long as any previous meeting, and Stern’s Grinch Deadline has now passed without any update on how the commish feels in his gut about the chances of everyone watching the big tripleheader on Dec. 25.
All of the NBA owners, and in some cases an ownership representative (e.g. Larry Miller represents Portland instead of Paul Allen), are in town for the Board of Governors meeting.
And already, today’s Board schedule had been disrupted.
At 10 a.m., Peter Holt of the San Antonio Spurs was supposed to brief the other owners on the status of labor talks. The 2 p.m. meeting was to be chaired by Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics to update the planning committee on the owners’ new revenue sharing plan.
Another committee meeting is scheduled for late afternoon, and the full Board meeting had been slated to begin at 7 p.m. EDT tonight, continuing on Thursday morning.
“With the sides unable to make any real headway in recent weeks on the two main issues that divide them, they welcomed the presence of Cohen, who also spent 16 days trying to resolve the NFL’s labor dispute in February and March. … Although the fact that talks didn’t break off was good news, one person with knowledge of the process said not to presume there was any serious progress. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Cohen’s request. Players believe owners’ attempts to make the luxury tax more punitive and limit the use of spending exceptions will effectively create a hard salary cap, which they say they will refuse to accept.”