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Report: NBA Deal 95% Done, Still Probably Not Close

It may seem strange to hear that the NBA labor deal is 95% done, with the NBA lockout now 121 days old and commissioner David Stern cancelling an additional two weeks of games on Friday.  Yet that's exactly what Howard Beck of the New York Times asserts.

The N.B.A. and the players union have agreed on contract lengths and luxury-tax rates, trade rules and cap exceptions, and a host of oddly named provisions offering “amnesty” and “stretch payments” and less onerous “base-year” rules.

According to Beck, agreements are already in place for: luxury-tax rate, contract lengths, raises, midlevel exceptions, an amnesty clause, and stretch exceptions.

The problem is that one of the remaining issues -- part of the other 5%, to use Beck's math -- is the split of Basketball Related Income, or BRI.  The owners want a 50-50 split; the players refuse to go lower than 52.5-47.5.  And neither side seems inclined to budge. Reports indicated that talks fell apart on Friday over the BRI split, and until this issue is resolved, it won't matter if the deal is 95% done or 99% done -- it still won't be done.

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