June 30 has come and gone, and like the guy who predicted the rapture I need to pick a new date on which an agreement in principle will be reached.
I’m not yet prepared to do that, but Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that three people who have been briefed on the status of the talks believe that, while a deal could come in the next 10 days, the “better chance” for resolution will come during the week of July 10.
Battista got even more of our attention with this assertion in her latest item: one person who has been briefed on the status believes a deal can be struck in 72 hours “with intense effort.”
Though it remains to be seen how intense the effort will be moving forward, Thursday night’s post-midnight session with a commitment to return in fewer than eight hours constitutes “intense” in our book. And we now call on the players and the owners to continue to come early and stay late every day until a deal is done. Even if that means working through the Fourth of July weekend.
If the parties opt not to sacrifice their long weekend in the hopes of avoiding an eventual fan declaration of independence, we’ll settle for truly intense talks continuing on Tuesday, July 5 and not stopping until a deal is done. That said, it would be more efficient to take advantage of the momentum flowing from Thursday’s late-night session. A three-day break could cause positions to shift and change and harden, making it harder to make progress when the parties get back together.