The overall vibe of yesterday's larger meeting between players and owners was negative. It appears the players didn't want to discuss how much they would bend financially until the owners agreed to leave the system in tact, but there was one sparklingly positive quote about yesterday's meeting.
From Ken Berger's twitter:
Stern: Felt going in there was an economic deal "within view." Thought there were economic goals they could mutually meet.
We don't know how much the players moved. We don't know how much the owners moved. We know that the players offered additional financial concessions that were large enough to entice both sides to bring a larger group to the table.
The larger group from the owners weren't willing to negotiate with the present system in tact. Silver said the owners don't use terms like "blood issue" or "non-negotiable" and Stern termed it an "emotional attachment".
Silver, of course, is full of crap. Everything is negotiable for the owners only when being negotiated down. There isn't a single thing coming from this agreement that will be better for the players than the previous agreement. However, clearly long term profitability is a blood issue for the owners and apparently so is moving away from the present system.
Stern and Silver would argue that if the players get the money on a macro level they shouldn't care who pays it on a micro level, but that's clearly not true. Like we all know in our daily lives, some jobs are better than others. Larger market teams are more attractive than smaller market teams to players.
Players want the large market teams to continue to have more purchasing power so they can go there. They want winning teams to continue to have exceptions to add players to them, so guys can chase the ring on an MLE instead of a vet minimum.
Also, whether the players want it for this reason or not, success in the large markets means more ratings and more money for the NBA. The league simply has more interest when the marquee franchises are at the top of the league.
On top of that, after major financial concessions, the NBAPA likely feels it needs to win something to save face.
There are many reasons why the players don't want a hard cap even with the macro level salary agreed to.
However, all of that aside, there were two primary issues heading into this negotiation: Money and system
The two sides have not resolved money issue completely, but they are close enough to resolving it that it can be resolved. That's fairly good progress for mid September given how far away the sides started.
If the money issue really is close enough, then the players should expect to get system concessions if they wait long enough. You only need 16 owners to agree to a new CBA, and at some point, it seems likely that 16 owners come to the conclusion that it's insane to blow up this season over the system after they won the money battle.
At this point, if the money has been worked out, there are at probably 20+ owners who are losing out on huge amounts of money by not agreeing to a deal, and getting system concessions wouldn't make them any richer it would just give them the hope of better parity.
At some point those 20+ owners are going to stop and think, "Am I really willing to lose a ton of money in order to have a system where I theoretically [but likely not in practicality over the course of this agreement] have a better chance to win?".
Assuming the deal is six years, how many championships would be swung in a different direction by system changes? If the system changes don't break up the Miami Heat, the answer is likely between none and one, and breaking up the Miami Heat probably isn't good for the league as it is about to enter new TV negotiations.
So if you are an owner, and you know that over the next six years, changing the system is likely to either not impact the eventual champion or will impact the eventual champion but lock you into a considerably worse 10 year TV deal, how hard do you really want to fight that thing?
It's David Stern time now. It's time to sell the owners on how much they've already received in concessions and convince them to start bending in other areas to close this deal.
The owners don't need to win everything in this deal as they will still be here in six years. They're probably better served entering their next TV negotiation period with the present system benefiting large markets and superteams in tact anyway.
They won the most important part of the negotiation already, and it can't be worth missing a season for them to continue to hard line stance on the system.
We've seen the players give, now it's time for the owners to give too, and it's time for David Stern to convince them to do it.