Ken Berger of CBS Sports has been on top of the NBA lockout all summer and fall, so when he writes something like this, it holds a lot of weight with me:
There were no fireworks, no tantrums and no tirades. There was all the resignation and disappointment of doomsday, but none of the reality.
The reality is that the NBA owners and players, after showing most of their cards Tuesday in a bargaining session that failed to save an on-time start to the regular season, are approximately $80 million-a-year apart on the economics of a new collective bargaining agreement, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told CBSSports.com.
Berger has more on how exactly that may have happened. According to his report, a small group of the top decision-makers, which included David Stern, Adam Silver, Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Peter Holt and Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, met separately. In that group, the league threw out an offer (of sorts) that guaranteed the players 49 percent of Basketball-Related Income with a cap of 51 percent. As the league was trying to selling that offer (or "proposal," since it wasn't formal) to the owners, the players came back with a counterproposal of 51 percent BRI and a 53 percent cap. That's a lot closer than 47 percent and 53 percent.
This is the thing Stern was referring to when he mentioned in his press conference (aired on NBATV) that the league offered the players 50 percent of BRI. Granted, presenting that like it was a formal offer is pretty disingenuous because it makes the players look bad, but it wasn't from out of nowhere. Stern later referred to it as a "concept," which is probably more accurate.
Before we get too carried away, remember that eventually, the "concept" must become an "offer," the "offer" must be sold to the constituents and the constituents must vote. There's a lot still left. Nevertheless, it appears, despite the rhetoric, that there's legitimate progress being made. Sure, no meetings are scheduled, but with the owners publicly expressing a desire to meet and the players reportedly willing to as well, maybe this thing actually will get solved.