Ever since July, or the Summer League in Las Vegas, not one NBA person – owner, player or coach – told me he didn’t believe a new collective bargaining agreement would be reached before the Dec. 15 deadline.
Since then, nothing has changed. It’s just a question of when the major announcement will be made: this week, next week, next month.
John Henson, the Milwaukee Bucks player representative, doesn’t know a precise date, either. However, he is firmly convinced a deal has been virtually hammered out.
“It’s pretty close,’’ Henson said. “We got a whole two months left. So, if it’s close now. I think by December, it should be fine.
“One of the owners told me it’s pretty close to being a done deal. There’s too much money being made for a stoppage, for both sides, the players and the owners. So I think we’ll come to a sensible agreement.’’
Henson said there hasn’t been any major stumbling blocks, that he’s aware of, in the negotiations.
“It’s been the usual stuff: the splits of revenues, taking care of the players, making money for the owners, the usual things,’’ Henson said. “Both sides will be compensated well. I think that’s why things have gone so well in negotiations. We’re talking about billions of dollars.
“The league has never been in a better place. The money that’s coming in, the money that’s being paid to the players the money the owners are making, the value of teams. … Why would you stop playing? I think that’s the mind-set of both sides.’’
And, for the first time in CBA, it appears there’s been a concerted, serious effort to help the players who paved the way for the NBA’s unprecedented success.
“In some capacity, I think we’re going to have some kind of fund for former players,’’ Henson said. “I don’t know specifically what’s going to happen. But we’re going to try to get some help to the former players, especially medical help, and stuff they need, stuff they don’t have access to without the NBA.’’
The Bucks, who suffered a major blow when standout wing player Khris Middleton suffered what will likely be a season-ending hamstring tear, are still looking for someone to help fill the void.
Sources say the Bucks have checked out several prospects, one being young Phoenix guard Archie Goodwin, who is part of a glut of Suns guard. I’ve been told some people in the Bucks organization are intrigued by Goodwin, although Bucks coach Jason Kidd apparently isn’t one of them. And Kidd is chief player personnel decision-maker in the organization.
Second-year shooting guard Rashad Vaughn sprained his ankle in a recent practiced and won’t play in the Bucks’ game against Chicago tonight. He is listed as day-to-day.