Despite the rhetoric about canceled weeks of the season, both sides know that a quick agreement can still save a complete 82 game season and are attempting to move towards that outcome.
The players and owners met for 15 hours yesterday and discussed exclusively system issues. According to Billy Hunter, they've been discussing system issues through the phone since last Thursday's blow up.
The post meeting quotes indicated solid progress made by both sides on system issues, but still characterized by a reluctance to discuss closeness to a deal until there's a full deal that's agreed to.
They've been working at the process slowly to try and come to some resolution on the topic, but both sides insist they have certain requirements that need to be in the system, and those requirements, presently, do not intersect and are to achieve separate goals.
One idea thrown around which I really like is that the trade rules be lightened up tremendously for teams under the tax. This would be a step towards removing the low level soft cap and putting a harder cap at the luxury tax barrier [which is a good thing IMO].
One of the great anomalies of the present CBA is that a team which is 30 million over the cap with several expiring contracts has more trade flexibility than a team right at the cap with no expiring contracts. That's a situation which perpetuates high spending teams spending more and puts more value on expiring deals.
If a rule is made to allow teams under the tax to only have to match within 200% of salary, and team's over the tax need to match 125% then it would do a lot to balance out trades to allow teams closer to 55-60 million to spend up to 70 while making it more difficult for teams over 70 to continue to get long term contracts that keep them over.
Either way, I'm still not overly optimistic about the proceedings. I still don't think we'll get 82 games. I still don't think we'll see NBA basketball until 2012. I'm glad they're meeting, and I'm glad they had a productive meeting, but both sides acknowledged there's still the 850 lb BRI gorilla waiting in the corner to tackle still.