NBA lockout mediation leads to progress, more talks scheduled

After meeting for more than 24 hours the past two days with federal mediator George Cohen, including Tuesday’s marathon 16-hour negotiating session, progress has been made on the proposed revenue split but many issues still remain between the NBA and the player’s association, according to Yahoo! reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.

A source told Woj that the sides have moved closer to a 50-50 split of revenue “give or take a point with ranges based on revenue performance,” while another source stopped short of calling this a “breakthrough” moment since system issues could again derail the discussion.

To clarify, the owners are now offering a range of 49-51 percent of BRI, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, depending on how much revenue the league takes in during a given year.

Broussard also reported the the league is open to a $5 million mid-level exception, down from last year’s $5.8 million but significantly higher than the $3.4 million they had previously offered.

Woj added that the biggest remaining issue right now concerns “the luxury tax proposals to punish big-spending teams and discourage them from overpaying players.” This includes the NBA’s wish to limit Larry Bird rights and yearly cap exceptions.

The two sides are set to meet Thursday at 2 p.m. ET after an NBA board of governors meeting.

It sure seems like we will have a better gauge on the likely length of the lockout by the end of this week. Although it’s fair to question why it took so long for the two sides to engage in an all-day bargaining session, as Bill Simmons did, the fact they finally did so certainly shows the seriousness of both sides.

The NBA and the players must feel the time is now to make concessions and find a deal with the majority of the 2011-12 season intact. Whether they can actually find that common ground, though, is anyone’s guess.

Suns fourth in average #NBARank

In my analysis of the Suns and #NBARank I commended the Suns’ depth in the rankings, with 10 players featured among the top 175 even if they were a bit thin at the top.

ESPN’s Larry Coon crunched the numbers on this project in which 91 analysts ranked the NBA’s players from 500 to 1 based on current ability and discovered that the Suns’ average #NBARank of 148.5 among their top 12 players ranked fourth in the entire NBA.

The top three features the Nuggets, Mavericks and Grizzlies with the Spurs rounding out the top five. The Suns, of course, are the only squad in the bunch to miss the playoffs last season.

Phoenix was nowhere to be found, however, when Coon looked at the average ranking of the top five players on a team, but the team did rank fifth with an average score of 120.3 when just a team’s top 10 players were considered.

The first thing this project points out (which we already knew, of course) is that the Suns desperately need some more top-end talent, with Marcin Gortat their only top-100 player under the age of 37. But it also shows how deep the Suns could be next season with practically the entire rotation considered an above-average NBA player.

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Tags: Lockout Nbarank

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