The last time the NBA Players Association and league owners negotiated a collective bargaining agreement, a lockout ensued, leading to a shortened season in 2011-12.

Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBPA, predicts smoother sailing when the union and league negotiate the next deal.

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The NBPA will opt out of its current CBA after the 2016-2017 season, but Roberts struck a conciliatory stance in an interview published Sunday in the Boston Globe. Roberts, who took control of the union last fall, said the fact there is “no bad blood” between her and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver — who assumed his post early last year — should help ease negotiations.

Roberts also noted that the league is certainly on firm financial footing, thanks to the NBA’s nine-year, $24.9 billion TV package extension with Turner Broadcasting and ESPN/ABC announced last fall. That contract takes effect for the 2016-17 season.  

“We want a deal. We want a deal that is as fair as we can get. We understand you’ve got to give a little to get a little,” Roberts told the Boston Globe. “There’s going to be a deal and my view is let’s get it done. Silver has said the same to me, so I think the good news is we don’t have the backdrop of poverty. There’s all this money.

"The game is growing in popu

larity. Everyone should be singing, ‘Hallelujah.’ … Everything in the world suggests we should be able to get through this without a problem. And if that doesn’t happen I would be, and I think Mr. Silver would be, disappointed.”

Roberts even raised the prospect that the union and team owners could reach an agreement ahead of schedule. She has said talks with the league may begin this year.

"Wouldn’t it be great for everybody, the players, for the owners, and God knows the fans, if we could say these were the major issues that we knew we had to deal with and we saw no reason to wait until 2017, so we got them done?” Roberts said.

Although Roberts sounded optimistic in the Globe interview, there will almost certainly be bumps in the negotiations road ahead. Already, the union has rejected a “smoothing” proposal by the league that would gradually increase the league’s salary cap that will be enacted under the new TV deal.

But Roberts says that ultimately, the union and the league will find common ground on the next CBA.

“We know there has to be a deal, or there’s going to be a work stoppage,” Roberts said. “And then we all have to deal with the wrath of the fans. The one thing that I would like to believe, and still believe, is that the commissioner, the league, the owners as much as the players, do not want [a work stoppage].”