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Derek Fisher has been a conciliator when the talks have become heated.
The NBPA made the breakdown of Basketball Related Income (BRI) the hill that it would die on early on.
Last year's 57 percent of total league revenue was a number they liked but knew the owners would balk at. Realistically, the players have been content with dropping that number down to around 52 or 53 percent going forward.
However, the owners demanded that the players drop down to around 46 percent of BRI, a number that is unacceptable to the players. Recently, the owners and players have honed in on an acceptable range of BRI breakdown, but still have a long distance to travel between the owners' 46 percent and the players' 52 percent.
To say that the owners are being unreasonable on the BRI issue would be like to calling Shaq a big guy; the lack of description and detail robs the term of its impact. The players are willing to cover roughly $200 million of the owners' $300 million in losses by dropping to around 53 percent BRI, but the league is inexplicably dissatisfied with that concession, wanting to bleed the players bone-dry.
If someone offered to cover two-thirds of my losses annually, I'd first fear that I'm about to be arrested for grand theft, then ask if I could take the other side out for lunch. The players are constantly vilified for being greedy because they're the face of the league, but the owners are running greed laps around the players right now.
The owners have demands that the players need them to come down on as well. The owners' banner of this summer's lockout has been a hard salary cap which will not permit teams to exceed the cap in any circumstances, thereby driving player salaries down across the board.
The players have defiantly insisted that the current soft cap be retained by the owners.
Progress is being made on this front, with some distance still to travel. The owners reportedly backed down on their need for a hard cap, proposing an extremely more stringent luxury tax system that would hope to deter the bankrolled franchises from spending as lavishly as they've done in the past.
This compromise is refreshingly organic and harmonious, because instead of shoving all the blame and responsibility across the table onto the players and demanding they give up some of their money, the owners are taking a solutions-oriented approach that acknowledges their own responsibility.
Instead of brazenly grabbing for money out of the players' pockets and acting entitled to do so, the owners are resolving to become more frugal and thrifty themselves.
Derek Fisher said that the proposed system still won't work for the players, but it's hard to deny that significant headway has been made on the salary cap issue.