Report: NBA talks make progress

BY foxsports • October 19, 2011

The NBA's owners and players have made progress on one of the most contentious issues in reaching a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), with the two sides moving closer to a 50-50 revenue split, Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday, citing sources.

The subject of basketball-related income (BRI) has been a major sticking point in the negotiations, with the NBA insisting it will not budge beyond a 50-50 split, while the players, who were guaranteed 57 percent in the previous CBA, would not drop below 53 percent in the new deal.

But after two days of marathon talks in New York with federal mediator George Cohen, a source told Yahoo! that the two sides had moved closer to a "50-50 split, give or take a point with ranges based on revenue performance."

The source was, however, reluctant to describe it as a "breakthrough" as system issues again threatened to derail negotiations, as they did last week. The luxury tax proposal to punish big-spending teams and deter them from overpaying players reportedly remains the biggest hurdle.

Cohen made a brief statement after Wednesday's session, saying "everyone is extremely focused on the issues that confront them" in reaching a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement and that "the discussions have been direct and constructive."

NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season last Monday and later in the week pinpointed Tuesday's session as being crucial to avoiding further cancellations.

The sessions have been the first steered by Cohen, who tried to help the NFL resolve its own labor dispute earlier this year, since the NBA lockout began on July 1.

Stern suggested last week that the Christmas Day games, traditionally the first big day of the season, would be next to go if a deal was not reached by Tuesday.

He also said the entire 2011-12 season may be in jeopardy if there was no agreement by early this week.

Stern left Wednesday's talks early to attend the Board of Governors meeting, a previously scheduled planning committee session that had been postponed from earlier in the day to make way for the mediated NBA session. The committee is responsible for reshaping the league's revenue-sharing policy.

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