The two sides in the NBA labor dispute sat down at the negotiating table yesterday for the first time in over a month. As was expected, they came away from their session no closer to a deal. I guess it's a positive sign that they met, but it's hard to shake the feeling these meetings are little more than keeping up public appearances at this point.
Stern's statement after the meeting pretty much summed up where things stand and drew a a parallel to the recently concluded NFL lockout:
"From where we sit, we're looking at a league that was the most profitable in sports that became more profitable by virtue of concessions from their players," Stern said, "and with an average salary of $2 million. Our average salary is $5 million, we're not profitable and we just can't seem to get over the gap that separates us."
Although Stern is being more than a little disingenuous when he compares average salaries between a league with 40+ players on the roster to a league with 15 at the most.
The players are clinging to the revenue sharing angle, but for some reason they can't wrap their minds around the fact that if the entire league is losing money, even the most socialistic revenue sharing model would simply mean every team is losing an equal amount of money.
It was assumed the sides would come out of this session seemingly more hardheaded than when they came in. They didn't really throw any stones with their comments, but it's clear this thing isn't going to have a quick resolution. As the deadline for missing games nears, this will probably get more acrimonious.
I'm putting the odds at 9 to 1 in favor of losing games at this point.