HoopsHype George Cohen rumors

October 20, 2011 Updates

Adrian Wojnarowski: Talks on a 50-50 BRI split broke down, and labor talks have ended, source tells Y! No new meetings scheduled. Huge setback in this lockout. Twitter

Anthony said he’s glad to see federal mediator George Cohen seemingly making progress this week with the two sides in the labor talks. “Things are slowly developing,’’ Anthony said. “I don’t know how fast. What Mr. Cohen is doing is giving both sides a chance to speak their minds instead of us going back at owners and owners coming back at us. We weren’t really getting anything done that way. He’s sitting there and giving both sides a chance to speak.’’ New York Post

There are still major steps to be taken, but sources last night indicated that NBA owners and players are inching closer to labor peace. After negotiating for 16 hours until around 2 a.m. yesterday, the league and Players Association resumed at 10 a.m. under the guidance of federal mediator George Cohen. They concluded just after 6:30 p.m., with sources from within the room reporting progress after more than 24 hours at the tables. Boston Herald

Finally, as I examined here, the most prominent sticking point in the talks remains the method by which a reduction in player salaries will be linked up with a new system that seeks to create more competitive balance. Two mechanisms that I didn't mention in that piece could help: an amnesty clause and the escrow system. The latter already was in place in the previous agreement, while the former is a new concept proposed by the owners. Under the league's amnesty proposal, sources say teams would be able to waive a player and have up to 75 percent of his contract removed from the cap and tax, with the remaining balance amortized against the cap over the number of years left on the contract. The player would still be paid 100 percent of the guaranteed money owed; this would be an NFL-style cap management tool to help teams adjust to the new system. CBSSports.com

The escrow, which evens out any underage or overage in the players' guaranteed share of BRI, also could be used to account for existing contracts that would make it difficult for teams to comply with the lower cap. But this is a tricky one, since any amount paid to the players that winds up exceeding their assigned BRI percentage would have to be refunded to the owners. Union officials may view this as a salary rollback by a different name. CBSSports.com

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