"Good morning, thanks for being interested," were the first words offered by NBA Commissioner David Stern in a press conference given after Wednesday's 15-hour closed-door negotiation session between representatives for NBA ownership and the NBA Players Association. Both sides acknowledged that progress has been made, however the NBA Commissioner was careful to stress that "there is no deal on anything until there is a deal on everything."
The parties agreed to avoid disclosing the issues that were discussed and the progress made during the negotiating session, but there's no doubt both sides are trying to negotiate some compromise on a luxury tax system, the specifics of the salary cap, and the dreaded BRI split.
The biggest nugget coming from the press conference was the fact that NBA commissioner David Stern left open the possibility of having an 82-game season if a deal is reached by this weekend. Stern explained a bit of the complexity behind finding room for a full season:
We've got building issues,we've building issues versus hockey issues, we've got travel schedules, we've got all kinds of things that are difficult for us. And we have the sheer volume of games that might have to be compressed and the amount of back-to-backs that players could be asked to play. And really in terms of the number of games that the fans could be asked to attend.
Chicago Bulls fans should understand the scheduling issues associated with a compressed NBA season, as the Bulls share the United Center with the the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks. The good news for all NBA fans is that progress has been made, and the parties are committed to more bargaining. Small groups representing NBA owners and the NBA players will return to the bargaining table Thursday afternoon.
The most recent news on Bulls players comes from SB Nation's Blog a Bull:
The other story in Bulls-ville beyond the lockout was the whereabouts of Derrick Rose. He was rumored to be heading to an all-star barnstorming global tour beginning in Puerto Rico next week, but he in fact turned down the opportunity. Since then other big names have followed the MVP in pulling out (maybe only a correlation that they left after Rose did, but lets just say it that way for fun), and the whole thing may be in jeopardy. (Update:Latest reconfigured roster includes Carlos Boozer).
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Bulls be sure to visit Blog a Bull. Visit SB Nation NBA for more news and notes around the league, and check the SB Nation storystream for the latest news on the NBA lockout.