In a conclusion to Thursday's negotiations between representatives for the NBA owners and the Players' Association, the NBPA left with an offer from the league in hand. Now representatives for the players will now meet early next week to discuss the league's revised offer, which is still believed to be based on a 50-50 BRI share split (not the 'reset' 53-47 split Stern warned players about in an informal ultimatum early last week). Stern said in Thursday's press conference that he is strongly confident the owners will approve the deal if the union does first, and thus if the union accepts the offer, he suggested a 72-game season can begin on December 15.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger is reporting that the so-called "system features" of the new offer include a proposed increase of the mini mid-level exception from two years starting at $2.5 million, to three years starting at $3 million for teams above the luxury-tax level, to be available every other year. However, he adds that it might not be enough of a give for the union reps:
There was no indication union negotiators were ready to agree to this slight improvement in the owners' proposal, as it would reduce the mid-level exception for tax teams from last year's five-year, $37 million total to three years and $9 million for teams above the tax line.
If you are still optimistic about the prospect of the parties reaching an agreement in principle, SB Nation's Tom Ziller brings up some interesting thoughts on just how chaotic a compressed 72-game season would be:
A normal 82-game season starts around the beginning of November and ends in mid-April, encompassing 5-1/2 months. That gives us just about 15 games per month per team. The lockout-shortened '98-99 season crammed 50 regular season games into almost exactly three months, for 16.7 games per month per team.
A 72-game schedule starting December 15 and ending after the third week in April would give us 72 games in 4.25 months, or 17 games per month per team.
If you have been starved for NBA basketball, mutual agreement on the terms of the current proposal would be a dream come true in so many ways.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and be sure to check out the SB Nation storystream for the latest news on the NBA lockout.