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NBA players present unified front in labour impasse

Los Angeles Lakers’ Derek Fisher, center

Eleven weeks into the lockout, NBA players and owners have at least one thing in common. Each side is unified, and wants everyone to know it.

Solidarity among the ranks was the loudest message that emerged Thursday from separate gatherings to provide their constituents an update on collective bargaining talks.

The meetings came two days after a session between the union’s executive committee and the owners’ labor relations committee brought no progress after the league refused players’ desire to keep the current salary cap system.

The union emerged from that setback saying the Nov. 1 scheduled start of the regular season could be in jeopardy. Training camps have been expected to open Oct. 3.

Union president Derek Fisher raised the notion of “a fundamental divide between the owners internally” in a letter sent to his membership earlier this week. But after four hours of meetings among league owners in Dallas, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver insisted “there is absolute agreement, and it’s a complete fiction coming from somewhere that there isn’t.”

Commissioner David Stern hinted at some difference of opinion when he said there was “virtual unanimity on approach.” He then explained that the differences are minor.

“Some people might say they want a hard cap with this wrinkle and someone says I want a hard cap with that wrinkle,” Stern said.



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