|Posted on September 30, 2011 at 9:55 PM|
Going into today the expectation was a lost season. Today the NBA union,and owners had some heated moments,and nothing's done,but Stern's threat is off the table,or at least for today.
The meetings produced some tense moments, as Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat yelled while making pointed remarks to commissioner David Stern, a source close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
The meeting was so intense that Wade and the other star players present nearly stormed out They remained only because union executive director Billy Hunter calmed them down and asked them to, the source told Broussard.
What is that? I hate reading into things,or trying to,but it looks real ugly right now. The owners must have insulted the players with a bad deal,or maybe a full deal wasn't in place,but maybe it was something else. It could have been about the players giving back some of their current salaries,or the salary cap. I don't think it's good though when you have a superstar acting like that. I don't blame Wade,and the owners obviously did something to get a rise out of the players.
But both sides cautioned that it will be tough to get there this weekend."All I'll say is there was a sense of urgency in the room today," deputy commissioner Adam Silver said.
"I think the sense today from both sides is we really need to push this weekend. Time is of the essence, and I don't think there was any disagreement about that by both parties."
The players met separately for two hours before meeting with the owners.
While meeting with the owners, Stern pointed at Wade while making a comment, a source told Broussard. Wade felt as if Stern was belittling him and yelled at the commissioner.
"You're not pointing your finger at me," Wade said, sources told ESPN The Magazines Ric Bucher. "I'm not your child."
The sides then went their separate ways for a cooling-off session, but several of the players had heard enough. Sources said Stern then asked to speak separately with Hunter, who then returned to speak with the players and was able to convince them to rejoin the owners in the meeting.
One source told Broussard the move by Hunter was a lifeline for Stern, who would not have looked good had the league's top players stormed out with 10 owners present.
Silver and Stern indicated that the union is satisfied with the league's plan for enhanced revenue sharing among owners -- which players had long argued as a way for the league to address its losses.
The salary cap structure, however, continues to divide the sides.
Stern emphatically denied that he would threaten to cancel the entire season this early even if things don't go well this weekend. Still, he repeated that there would be danger in not making progress soon.
"Both sides agreed that the consequences of not making a deal lead us to the prospect of possibly at some point in the not distant future losing regular-season games," Stern said. "And we agreed that once you start to lose them and the players lose paychecks and the owners lose money, then positions on both sides will harden and those are the enormous consequences that I referred to in terms of trying to make a deal."