NEW YORK: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he is hopeful of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union by a Friday deadline after progress in ongoing talks.
“I certainly can foresee one getting done and I hope we do get one done,” Silver said Wednesday after a two-day meeting of club owners.
“We’ve made progress. There have been a lot of issues on the table.”
The league and the National Basketball Players Association have a Friday deadline to opt out of the current deal on June 30, a deadline that has been extended twice already.
“We’ve come closer together,” Silver said. “There still is a gap, though, between I think certainly where we feel we need to be in order to get a deal done.
“Discussions have had a very positive tenor, continued the strong sense of partnership that we have with our players and the Players Association.
“I think everyone understands what’s at stake.”
Talks have been ongoing for more than a year ahead of the expiration of the current contract, which began in 2017, at the end of June. Sides would still have three months to reach a deal even if Friday’s deadline passes with no deal.
At this stage, Silver said the NBA plans to opt-out without a Friday deal, but much remains before that outcome comes to pass.
“If we don’t have a deal by this Friday night and nothing else were to happen, yes, it would be our intention to opt out of the current deal,” Silver said.
“It doesn’t therefore mean, though, that the deal will sunset at the end of June, because we’ll still have April, May and June to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.
“I still think it would be a lost opportunity in this window... and we’re best getting this done in the next few days.”
A regional television sports network bankruptcy has impacted 16 NBA teams and higher interest rates and bank solvency issues also raise concern.
“All of those issues are in the mix when you’re negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, especially when you’re projecting out several years, which we are,” Silver said.
“I think both sides understand that this is a window of opportunity that we should try not to miss.
“The whole idea behind these early deadlines were to try to avoid going right up to the line.”
Pushing to the edge brings up the spectre of a work stoppage after reaching a record $10 billion in revenues last season.
The league has sought a hard upper salary limit and allowing players to join the NBA directly out of high school.