After a lengthy negotiation session and an extended deadline on Wednesday, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association resumed talks at noon Eastern Thursday. The two sides met for roughly 11 hours and both sides met with the media afterwards.
Update (8:39 PM)
The NBA issued a revised, slightly improved proposal to the NBPA on Thursday evening, a proposal that reflected key discussion points from the last two days of negotiations.
NBPA president Derek Fisher said that the union would not accept the proposal immediately but that they would meet with player representatives on Monday or Tuesday of next week to discuss it.
"We have a revised proposal from the NBA. It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."
"At this point we've decided to end things for now, take a step back. We'll go back as an executive committee, as a board, and confer with our player reps and additional players over the next few days and then we'll make decisions about what our next steps will be at that point. Obviously, we still would like to continue negotiating and find a way to get a deal done but right now is not that time."
"On a couple of the issues there was some revision, some change since the last proposal that we saw, but at this time it's not enough to entice us to try to finish this out tonight."
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter didn't sound all that thrilled by the details of the proposal.
"It's not the greatest proposal in the world but I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."
NBA commissioner David Stern said that, if accepted, the proposal would allow for a 72-game season beginning on December 15.
"We understand that the revised proposal will be presented to the board of the union on Monday, or if travel is difficult, no later than Tuesday. I met with Billy, just as the clock had stopped on Wednesday as we negotiated through to today, it would remain stopped through his meeting with his board. Then, at that time, if we don't get a positive response the revised offer starting at 47 percent and based upon a flex cap would be our revised negotiating position."
"We don't expect them to like every aspect of our revised proposal. I would say that there are many teams that don't like every aspect of our revised proposal. But I did tell Billy that that proposal has the support of the chairman of the labor relations committee, Adam, me and the labor relations comittee itself... We await the response from the union."
"I would not presume to project or predict what the union will do. I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule, starting on December 15."
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that a key "philosophical difference" still exists.
"[The players] told us they were disappointed in the room. We have a philosophical difference. There is a trade-off between player movement on one hand and competitive balance on the other hand. We recognize that in order for us to have the kind of competitive balance that we want, it restricts player movement to a certain degree."
"We believe that we will be proven right over time, that this new model, if the players were to agree to it, will create a better league. It will create one where fans in more markets will be able to hope that their teams can compete for championships. That fans can believe that a well-managed team, regardless of market size, regardless of how deep the owners' pockets are, will be in a position to compete for a championship. And that more players will be in a position to compete for rings as well."
Scroll down for a blow-by-blow of Thursday's updates.
There was a brief glimmer of immense hope on Thursday afternoon, when former New York Knicks executive and current Detroit Pistons consultant Dave Checketts told ESPN 700 AM in Salt Lake City that a deal had been reached during a radio interview (audio here).
"The rumblings coming out of both the players side and the owners side are suggesting that there is a deal. They were together for 11 hours yesterday, they met again this afternoon, I think that they are trying to finish this up. I think this changed pretty dramatically when the owners set a deadline."
"I've received a couple of phone calls from friends who are very close to the process who say, 'We have a deal and it's now a matter of getting everything straightened out.' If that is the case, this will be a very big story."
"I really believe it will be sometime later tonight that you'll hear some positive things. In an effort to get both sides talking, I sent complimentary gravy bowls from a K.F.C. here in Manhattan. If that doesn't do it, what possibly could?"
However, by the interview's end, Checketts was singing a different tune.
"Saying this publicly has created quite a stir. I'm being told now by some people that there are some difficulties in the negotiation. I was told earlier today that they had reached a deal. Now I'm getting people reaching out to me, one of whom is involved in the process, who is saying that it's not as close as he thought before. So I guess I have to say, I'm a little more unclear than I was when I started this interview 20 minutes ago where people were saying to me that we had a deal and it was just a matter of ironing things out and an announcement could be made any minute. It looks like perhaps they've taken a step back, it's not as close as I thought, such is the matter when it comes to these negotiations, they go back and forth."
Denials of Checketts' initial claim poured in from virtually every major media outlet, including David Aldridge of NBA.com (here), Zach Lowe of SI.com (here), Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (here), Alan Hahn of Newsday (here), Ric Bucher of ESPN.com (here) and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (here).
Update (6:56 PM):
NBPA board member Roger Mason, Jr. tweeted that a deal is "still a ways away." Marc Berman of the New York Post reports: "Being told more and more this so far looking like a disappointing day regarding movement on a deal after yesterday's optimism."
Update (7:29 PM): Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports...
After finishing call with owners' labor relations committee, David Stern will deliver union a revised offer tonight... Owners revised offer will be working off current negotiations with players -- not the threatened 'reset' offer awaiting if talks broke down.
That would seem to be a tangible sign of progress.
This post will update with the latest labor developments as talks continue throughout Thursday.
Thanks to 4ist in the FanShots for noting the Checketts interview.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter