Monday meeting between players and league canceled

Considering Monday was also the deadline for a deal before the opening two weeks of the schedule are toast, this development ain't good news.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard is reporting a sitdown was floated for Monday, but that idea went south after the owners reportedly demanded the players accept their proposed 50/50 BRI split ahead of time. Predictably, the players didn't take kindly to such demands, and quite frankly, I don't blame them. It's one thing to remain unwilling to move below 50/50, but asking the players to sign off as a prerequisite to sit at the table isn't just a stalemate waiting to happen. It's insulting and antagonistic.

If the owners want to continue productive talks in earnest, this approach was clearly doomed to fail. But even if the master plan is ultimately canceled games, which theoretically forces the players' hands via a hit to the wallet, they need to be careful about alienating fans more informed than ever about the business of the NBA. Professional basketball players may sometimes be perceived as overpaid and spoiled, but I've nonetheless never met anybody with a Robert Sarver Fathead. I'm of the opinion most fans don't really care who "wins" or what really constitutes a "fair" deal, since both sides will remain very rich no matter how things shakes out. They just want basketball ASAP.

With that in mind, a hardball tactic guaranteed to create a standstill tastes like a glass of sour milk.

At the end of the day, owners and players thrive as a result of fans who are beyond-sick of this saga. The more either side looks indifferent to the contingent ultimately making them rich, the greater the risk for fallout even after hardwood action has resumed.