NBA Lockout: Anthony Tolliver Talks To B/R About Potential End to the Lockout

Max Minsker@@MaxMinskerCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04:  Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver (L) and NBA Commissioner David Stern speak at a press conference after NBA labor negotiations at The Westin Times Square on October 4, 2011 in New York City. Stern announced the NBA has canceled the remainder of the preseason and will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if there is no labor agreement by Monday.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The answer to this question is a hard one to answer. On one hand, everyone wants to get back on the court and get back to basketball. On the other hand, both the players and the owners want to work out a deal that tilts in their favor.

Last Friday at Michael Beasley's charity event, which I attended, Anthony Tolliver had an extensive talk to the media about the lockout as he is the Timberwolves' player representative. While he tried to sound optimistic, Tolliver sent very mixed signals as to whether or not this lockout could finally be coming to its conclusion.

Last week both sides met with a federal mediator to try to work out their differences. It's unclear at this point exactly how much progress was made. Tolliver did say a huge topic of discussion was the idea of a flex BRI (basketball related income) split, which would mean if the league is doing well, the players could earn as much as 53 percent of BRI, where as if the league struggled, that number could dip to around 50 percent.

The owners were hesitant to accept this policy and discussions are ongoing. The two sides met again today to try to reconcile their differences, apparently with some success. The early word would seem to be that negotiations are going well. 

Tolliver is hopeful these discussions would continue, but the process is going to take time, saying,

"We (The players) know what we're sitting out for, we just don't want to be taken advantage of. I'm behind the union and everyone in the NBA I've talked to is behind the union, we just want a fair deal. We're not trying to hit a home run, we can't hit a home run we're going backwards already, we just don't want to keep going backwards."

The NBA has already pushed back the start of the season one month, and if talks continue into the winter then the season could be canceled.

According to Tolliver, "Well, everyone is starting to feel pressure. Not just the union, but the owners as well. If we're missing games it's a lot of money out of their pockets too." Tolliver added, "Both sides realize there is too much to be lost by just sitting around." 

While everyone understands the importance of getting a favorable deal, getting back to basketball is an equal priority. The NBA's popularity is at a peak, and allowing this season to be swallowed by the lockout would be a mistake and everyone knows it. At this point, we can only hope something can be done before it's too late.