NBA labor talks resume in New York
NEW YORK -- NBA players and owners still have no deal headed into the deadline day for starting the season on time.
Negotiators for the sides agreed to meet Sunday and then huddled for more than five hours before breaking for the night. They agreed to resume talks Monday afternoon, but union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledged that the sides are "not necessarily closer" to a deal than they were when talks stalled last week.
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Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver took part in Monday's talks, along with senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and New York Knicks owner James Dolan.
They met with Fisher, union vice president Maurice Evans of the Wizards, union executive director Billy Hunter and attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner.
Neither side offered many details when they emerged late Sunday night, though union officials confirmed that they have postponed a planned Monday meeting with membership in Los Angeles so they can remain in New York to talk with league officials again.
Stern said last week that the first two weeks of the regular season will be canceled Monday if the parties don't have the framework of a new labor agreement in place. The entire preseason schedule has already been canceled and training camps have been postponed indefinitely, but the Nov. 1 scheduled start to the regular season has not yet been ruled out.
That is expected to happen if Monday's meeting, which began around 2 p.m. ET, doesn't generate telling progress. Stern, though, offered little to reporters after Sunday's hastily arranged meeting, saying only: "No comment other than we are going to reconvene tomorrow."
Said Fisher: "Another intense meeting, similar process. We're going to come back at it tomorrow afternoon. We're going to continue to try to put the time in to if we can get closer to getting a deal done."
Talks dissolved last week when the players rejected the league's offer to try to make a deal work by splitting annual revenues -- known as Basketball Related Income (BRI) -- at an even 50-50. In 2010-11, which was the final year of the NBA's previous six-year labor agreement, players earned 57 percent of BRI.
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Yet sources close to the talks indicated late Sunday that the BRI split was not a prime topic during Sunday night's session, when the parties focused on system issues (such as the specific salary-cap and luxury-tax mechanisms) instead.
An attempt Friday to get the two sides together broke down when, according to union sources, NBA officials demanded consent to a 50-50 revenue split with players before the meeting. The league denies that such a demand was made.
Upon walking away from the negotiating table last Tuesday, union officials have insisted that they would not drop below a 53-percent share of BRI. Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard on Sunday that NBA owners have no intention of going above the 50-50 split they broached with the players last week.
Players have proposed lowering their previous 57-percent share of BRI to 53 percent in a new deal, but that remaining 3 percent represents an unbridged gap of about $120 million.
Before the late cancellation of Monday's meeting in Los Angeles, Fisher sent a letter to players Sunday night reiterating that every union member in the league was invited to attend. In the letter, obtained by ESPN.com, Fisher urged "each of you to attend if at all possible."
The NBA lockout began on July 1, but a tentative agreement has been reached to save the season. ESPN.com Topics keeps you up to date with all of the latest on the NBA's labor situation. Topics Page »
Fisher also informed union members in the letter that he and New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul plan to take a leaf out of the NFL union's lockout primer Monday by sending out a "LET US PLAY" message via their respective Twitter feeds.
"Chris Paul and I will also be utilizing our personal social networking channels to show the fans and you all that we are united and want to get back to work under a fair deal," Fisher wrote.
"We invite you each to do the same. To show our unity and to remind the fans that this (is) not our choice and we would like to go back to work and play the game they love to support."
A post added Monday to Carmelo Anthony's Twitter page expressed frustration with the continuing impasse.
"I just wanna apologize to all the fans for this lockout. Trust me, I feel y'all pain. This s--- sucks," the post read.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Henry Abbott and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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