Since moving to Portland, I slowly began to see what it means to live in a professional sports town. And since the Trailblazers are basically the only pro-sports franchise in town (our soccer team, the Timbers, are pro), the city coalesces around them in a really proud way. Over the past couple of years I’ve gone from being a casual observer to a fair-weather fan to an actual ‘fan’. It was doubly disappointing, therefore, to hear about the ongoing labor relations talks, and their total lack of progress. I know the lack of a basketball season in Portland will be a big economic hit to the city, not to mention a shame not to see our young guys doing their thing!
“We were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties,” said Deputy NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, with Commissioner David Stern home with the flu. “We’re saddened on behalf of the game.”
No meetings have been scheduled.
The league previously had canceled all of preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season (100 games). Stern had said before the mediated talks that unless a resolution came soon, he feared games would be lost through Christmas.
“We have to regroup … and determine what our next steps are,” Silver said.
Silver was joined in the quickly assembled news conference by San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, part of the league’s labor relations committee.
“It was a disappointing last 30, 40 hours,” Holt said. “It’s certainly a tough day, a very tough day.”
Earlier in the day the negotiations seemed more promising, with the sides meeting for a third consecutive day for the first time. The owners had returned to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks who requested anonymity at Cohen’s request to stay silent.
The players made a slight move, off 53% to 52%, but it apparently wasn’t enough.
“Both sides felt, for lack of a better word, ‘stuck.’ We’ve sort of worn each other out,” Holt said.