NEW YORK, USA, October 19 – NBA players and owners met with a federal mediator for more than 12 hours in hopes of reaching a deal to end a dispute over money that has shut down the league for 110 days.
The first two weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA season have already been cancelled and NBA commissioner David Stern said that more games could be wiped out if the two sides, widely split on how to divide revenues, cannot reach a deal quickly.
NBA owners will meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss their next moves in the stalemate, the first shutdown of the league since the 1998-99 season was reduced from 82 to 50 games per club over similar issues.
US mediator George Cohen, who entered a similar collective bargaining dispute earlier this year involving American football team owners and players, met with each side separately on Monday ahead of the session with both groups.
Cohen’s background also includes serving as a lawyer for Major League Baseball’s players union in 1995 when a court injunction against club owners in 1995 ended a 7 1/2-month dispute, one that wiped out the 1994 World Series.
Billionaire club owners and multi-millionaire NBA players each want about 53 percent of revenues, a four-percent cut in what players enjoyed from the prior contract that expired July 1.
Owners want to exclude more income from the revenues that must be shared with players and they want a larger chunk of the shared money as well, plus a salary cap without the numerous exceptions that were in the prior contract.
Players have already agreed to cuts they say would provide the league $1.3 billion over six years and do not want a salary cap.
Some players have signed with overseas clubs to be certain of not losing a full year of their careers to the lockout.