NEW YORK — Negotiations aimed at ending the NBA lockout that reached it’s 146th day on Wednesday have resumed with the goal of ending the money squabble in time to play games on December 25, according to reports.
ESPN and The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, said the talks began on Tuesday between attorneys for both sides because of an anti-trust lawsuit filed last week by players against the league.
NBA club owners, claiming $300 million in losses last season among 22 of the league’s 30 clubs, locked out the players when the prior collective bargaining agreement expired on July 1.
Negotiations on how to divide about $4 billion in annual income never produced a deal, with owners demanding a 50-50 revenue split and players, who made 57 percent in the old deal, unwilling to surrender more than 53 percent.
As a result, the league has called off all games from November 1 through December 15 and without a deal by the weekend, the popular nationally televised Christmas Day games are also like to be lost.
This season’s NBA schedule for December 25 features Miami at Dallas in a rematch of last season’s championship series won by the Mavericks over LeBron James-led Miami, plus Boston at New York and Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The league would comment only that “it remains in favor of a negotiated resolution” to the deadlock that is threatening to wipe out the entire season.
Should the framework of a deal be hammered out by lawyers, the union could be revived and the lawsuit scrapped in order for players to adopt a new deal.
In the only prior NBA season shortened in a money fight, each team played 50 games in the 1998-99 season, which did not start until February after a deal was reached in early January.
About a month would be needed from signatures on a contract to opening tip off given that there has been no free agency or contract signing period for clubs in the wake of the shutdown and pre-season camps would be needed.