NEW YORK — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday the league and players have made "tremendous progress" toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement, saying he hoped a deal would be completed soon.
Silver said the process was far different than the contentious negotiations of 2011, which led to a lockout and a 2011-12 season that was shorted to 66 games.
This time, the sides have been meeting for a few months and seem eager to make a deal long before Dec. 15, when either side can notify the other of its intention to opt out of the 10-year pact.
"We are not done, done as we say as bargainers in terms of ultimately having a completed collective bargaining agreement, but we're on our way towards getting an extension done of this collective bargaining agreement," Silver said. "I'm very pleased to report that."
The sides met Wednesday, the day before owners began their two-day preseason meetings and received an encouraging report on the status of the talks.
"We've made tremendous progress and I'm pleased to report that," Silver said.
An agreement wasn't reached in 2011 until Thanksgiving weekend, and 16 games from each team's schedule had been shaved before the season opened on Christmas. The players' guarantee of basketball-related income was reduced from 57 percent to about 50 percent.
The sides aren't fighting over money this time, not after the national TV deals worth more than $2.6 billion annually sent revenues soaring and the salary cap skyrocketing.
Silver credited union executive director Michele Roberts for the more cordial tone of these talks and noted the role of Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Silver says Jordan's relationship with players has "added an enormous amount to the atmosphere in the room."
"For players to see him in that position, it doesn't mean if Michael says it, it necessarily means that they should accept it as the position they should take," Silver said, "but I think that's really added a special element unique to this league to have a superstar player like that owning a team now."