Excerpts from a press conference Thursday morning after representatives for NBA owners and players met for more than 15 hours during a collective bargaining agreement in New York.
NBA Commissioner David Stern's opening statement:
" … Until we have an overall deal we don't have a deal on anything. The interesting thing about that and one of the reasons that's so is because even in the course of and within a day sometimes the parities change their negotiating positions. They might retract something, extend something … as we try to fashion a different system."
Preserving a full 82-game regular season:
" … whether that gets to be 82 games or not is really dependent upon so many things that have to be checked. We've got building issues. We've got 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 fans could be asked a given time to attend. These are all considerations that are going to be on the table and we're going to work at it with the union."
Whether a deal can be agreed upon with the small negotiating committees:
"Were we to make a deal, it wouldn't be a deal until the union's membership ratified it and the NBA Board of Governors ratified it. But the first step on that is a deal by the group that's here."
Sticking with system-based discussions:
" … Right now, it has been profitable to turn to the system."
What the union wants to preserve in the new system:
"I have a pretty good idea of what they would like, and we'll be back at 2 o'clock to see how far we can reach for them. We've been trying very hard to reach for them. We are united in the NBA side on wanting a system that makes all teams competitive. We have some strong views on what the best way to do that is, and we're trying to unify those views. The owners themselves are all of the mind that we have some overarching goals, and it's our job to give a voice to those."
Feeling that a deal can be made soon compared to talks breaking down last week:
"It wasn't me. I leave these guys alone for a little bit of time and all hell breaks loose."
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver:
"There's no question that today was a better day than last Thursday. I think it's too early, not just in the morning, but still in the negotiations to express confidence that we're at a deal. There's no question, though, that we did make progress on some significant issues. But there are still some very significant issues left. I think we did a good job collectively of crystalizing what those issues are, so we can tackle them immediately when we resume at 2 o'clock tomorrow."
"This has been a very arduous and difficult day and productive. Tomorrow is going to be just as difficult and arduous, if not more so. We hope that it can be as productive."
Silver on 'parking BRI'
"We did not address it today."
Brian T. Smith
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