Report: Carmelo Anthony 'skeptical' deal getting done by Thursday

NBA.com staff reports

New York forward Carmelo Anthony said Saturday he was “skeptical” the NBA and the players’ union would complete a new collective bargaining agreement in advance of Thursday’s procedural deadline, ESPN.com reported.

Anthony, one of the National Basketball Players Association’s six vice-presidents, made his comments after the Knicks’ practice in Los Angeles. Multiple representatives of the league and the union, from NBA commissioner Adam Silver to team player reps, had expressed optimism that a new deal would be completed by Dec. 15, the deadline by which either side could opt-out of the existing labor agreement.

The current deal, borne from the 2011 lockout, was a 10-year agreement with the opt-out window after five years. If the owners or the players choose to re-open the deal, it would expire on June 30, 2017, with another lockout possible beginning the next day.

Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and members of both sides’ bargaining committees have met frequently over the past year or longer on a new CBA. Some details have leaked out via multiple reports, for instance, that the parties agreed without much debate on the split of basketball-related income (BRI). That traditionally has been a major point of contention in past negotiations.

But Anthony, without providing specifics according to the ESPN.com story, alluded to an unexpected snag in the negotiations.

“Do I think something could happen by the 15th?” the Knicks star said. “Yeah, I think something could happen. But I think this kind of put a dent in conversations.

“We had something so close. We were supposed to have a deal done weeks ago, and for this to happen at the 25th hour is tough.”

The NBA declined to comment on Anthony’s characterization of the talks.

It’s important to note that the opt-out clause in the current CBA was mutually agreed upon. The owners or the players – or both – could have invoked it by now, or can choose to do so by Thursday. It’s also possible the two sides could agree to extend the opt-out deadline. In either case, the negotiations, like the rest of the 2016-17 season, would continue.