Even to the most optimistic of people, it doesn’t look likely that the 2011-12 NBA season is going to get underway on time. Things looked pretty gloomy after talks were held between the league and players association on Sept. 13 and there wasn’t any progress made during them. Training camps are scheduled to start in three weeks time, but it’s going to take a miracle for that to happen.

The way the salary cap is structured is still the biggest stumbling block and the players and owners don’t have any other meetings scheduled in the near future. NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted that the talks were unproductive and opening night on Nov. 1 seems to be nothing but a dream at this moment.

Stern said the players union won’t discuss anything else until the salary cap issue is solved first and it’s becoming frustrating. He felt it was better for the two sides to meet among themselves after the meeting than to try and work out a deal again just a day or two later.

Franchise owners said they lost a total of $300 million this past season and hundreds of millions in previous years and they’re looking for the NBA’s financial system to be overhauled because of it. The present salary cap system enables clubs to go over the limit as long as they pay what is known as a luxury tax. This means the rich clubs, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, can pay more for their players and have a decided edge over clubs that aren’t as well of financially.

This is known as a soft salary cap and the league is pushing for a hard cap. The players don’t agree, but all of the owners say it’s needed if all 30 of the league’s teams are to be competitive and they feel it should also be the goal of the players.

While the recent meetings were pretty cordial, the players who were present looked dejected as they realized they may now have to find jobs elsewhere this season. It became apparent to them that a deal is going to be reached later rather than sooner.

Along with the salary cap issue, there are still some other things that need to be ironed out, including the splitting of revenues. Under the old collective bargaining agreement the player’s share was 57 per cent and they offered to lower it to 54.3 per cent, but the owners locked them out on July 1 instead as they were thinking of a percentage in the high 40s. The players association say if they are given 65 per cent of the revenues then they’ll settle on the hard salary cap issue.

It looks like there’s too large of a gap right now and unless somebody has a change of heart, literally overnight, don’t count on watching any NBA basketball games anytime soon, unless you happen to catch a classic on TV.


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