Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After a week mixed with progress and disappointment, the two sides will reconvene Wednesday in New York for a staff-level meeting that is expected to set the stage for the heavy hitters to take one more crack at compromise before the inevitable postponement of training camps and preseason games must begin.
Is there reason for optimism? That depends on what each side brings to the table, and whether the lawyers and money people can carve out any common ground for the lead negotiators to work with when they are expected to meet Thursday.
What the players want next from the league — and what they hope to receive Wednesday and Thursday — are specifics of the owners' plans to enhance revenue sharing and, just as important, a commitment for when and how the league plans to implement the changes. As top negotiators from both sides have stated, the pieces of the negotiation are separate, but they're all tied together. How much money being diverted to alter competitive balance is coming from the players, and how much is changing hands among owners? And what is the timetable for both?
Is there enough common ground to offer hope that a deal is imminent? In my opinion, it's still too early. Neither side is wedded to the idea that training camps and preseason games must be preserved, so it wouldn't be surprising to see both delayed in the coming days. On the other hand, if there is agreement — or at least the possibility of agreement — on the revenue split, compromising on certain aspects of a new system should take days or weeks. Not months.
Staff level meeting?
Where is the sense of urgency with these guys? Throw the heavy hitters in the room and don't open the damn door until the agreement is signed in blood.
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