April 10 Is Crunch Time


April 10 has been identified as a “drop dead” date in labor negotiations between WNBA players and the league, which is scheduled to start its season June 10.

The WNBA negotiations are deadlocked over two issues:

* A league minimum salary. The union wants $45,000; the league is offering $20,000.

* The number of former American Basketball League players allowed in the 12-team WNBA. The union wants a maximum two per roster, the league wants five.


One source close to the negotiations said if no deal is struck, the league might threaten to fire all its two-year players and sign roughly half the players from the ABL, which folded in December.

“It hasn’t been verbalized that way, but that’s simmering just below the surface,” one source said. There are 48 unsigned WNBA players who signed two-year deals before the first season.

The WNBA has scheduled an April 6 expansion draft (for new teams Orlando and Minnesota) and an April 27 college draft, which will include former ABL players.