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League seeks to cut $800M in player costs

NEW YORK — Commissioner David Stern said Thursday that there was no quantifiable progress in collective bargaining talks over the summer, and the league revealed it is seeking a reduction in player salary costs by about one-third.

Stern said the league wants player costs to drop by $750 million to $800 million. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA spends about $2.1 billion annually in player salaries and benefits.

"We would like to get profitable, have a return on investment," Stern said. "There's a swing of somewhere in the neighborhood of $750 to $800 million that we would like to change. That's our story, and we're sticking with it."

Stern and Silver spoke after two days of meetings with league owners, who are seeking major changes to the CBA that expires June 30. Silver said the league has told the union that owners are in a "diseconomic situation," with projected leaguewide losses of about $340 million to $350 million this season.

Though season ticket sales are up, both said an overhaul is necessary to a system in which the players receive 57 percent of basketball-related income.

"Even though we reported we have record season ticket sales over the summer and otherwise very robust revenue generation, because of the built-in cost of the system, it's virtually impossible for us to move the needle in terms of our losses," Silver said.

The league and union began meeting last summer, and Stern said the sides had their most recent discussion this week. But they remain far apart on talks toward a new deal, raising fears of a lockout next summer.

The players association has responded to the league's claims of massive losses by calling for expanded revenue sharing among owners. Stern and Silver said the owners agree it's coming, but that it will arrive in conjunction with a new deal.

Stern agreed with union executive director Billy Hunter's recent statement that February's All-Star weekend is an unofficial deadline to know whether there will be a work stoppage.

heat's miller injured: A freak injury to Mike Miller's right thumb is expected to keep one of the league's top 3-point shooters sidelined for at least several weeks. The former Gator was injured when the thumb on his shooting hand got tangled in a teammate's jersey during practice Wednesday. The Heat has not revealed a formal diagnosis or possible recovery time. With Miller out, James Jones — another top 3-point shooter — likely will play more small forward than originally planned.

bobcats: Forward Darius Miles, 29, a former No. 3 overall pick who was trying to make a comeback, was waived.

cavaliers: Guard Mo Williams missed Thursday's preseason game because of the death of his father-in-law.

76ers: The team exercised the fourth-year option on forward Marreese Speights of St. Petersburg, putting the former Gator under contract through the 2011-12 season. Speights, the 16th pick in the 2008 draft, has averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 141 games. It also exercised a third-year option on guard Jrue Holiday, through 2011-12.

Suns: The team picked up the fourth-year option for Robin Lopez, keeping the center under contract through 2011-12.

Wizards: Former lottery pick Adam Morrison was waived less than a month after signing.

League seeks to cut $800M in player costs 10/21/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 22, 2010 1:24am]

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