It'll be interesting which side breaks now when it comes to initiating more negotiations...and when that'll occur. Russ Granik's wording was always precise, but super effective. Also, I wonder if Rich DeVos will find a different way to apologize to Magic season ticket holders aside from a taped phone message.
After 11 days with hardly a word spoken, NBA players and team owners will resume full-scale labor negotiations Friday, hoping to save at least part of this season.
With both sides still sounding as if they are entrenched in their positions, there was a brief and unproductive meeting Tuesday involving the league negotiators.
``It was, as usual, cordial but unproductive,'' said Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner. ``We didn't get anywhere.''
Friday's meeting in New York will include the full negotiating teams for both sides, the first time they have met since Oct. 28.
``We sort of sense that with the holidays approaching, if we don't start making progress soon, the season is in jeopardy,'' Granik said. ``We'll give it one more try on Friday.''
The union recently held conference calls with 24 of the 29 teams, trying to better gauge their opinions on the latest positions.
Those calls led directly to the lack of bargaining this past week.
``The players already think they've given up too much in negotiations. That's what they've told us during the calls,'' Dan Wasserman, spokesman for the players union, said Tuesday. ``There is no panic among the players, no willingness to give in now.
Until the league was willing to give some ground, there was no point in talking.''
The first six weeks of the season already have been scrapped, although both sides still hope to start by Christmas. After an agreement is signed, players and owners agree that at least three weeks are needed before the season could start.
For the first time since the lockout began, the NBA 10 days ago started allowing individual teams to contact players. They have notified teams, though, that contact once again will be prohibited.
Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, meanwhile, has sent a taped phone message to season ticket-holders, thanking them for their patience.
``We hope you understand what we're trying to go through to get a fair and proper settlement,'' DeVos said on the recording. ``Thanks for waiting.''
A good portion of the Magic front-office staff was in New York Monday and Tuesday for the WNBA league meetings. The Orlando WNBA team, which still remains nameless, will begin play this summer.
Many members of the Magic management staff will fan out this morning to visit schools as part of the Orange County Teach-In program.