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 new offer includes 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, it may not be enough for the union to budge:
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.
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.
Under that scenario, there would be a whole lot of basketball played in a short amount of time, but as the parties continue to negotiate it is unclear if fans will get any NBA basketball at all.