NEW YORK — The NBA Thursday canceled 24 exhibition games and postponed the start of training camps indefinitely as the lockout went through its 86th day with only the faintest of hope for a resolution soon.
The likelihood grew that the league will be forced to cancel regular-season games because of a work stoppage for the first time in its history.
"Nobody wants to miss the whole season, but there are 29 owners that are willing to do so if they have to," said Russ Granik, deputy commissioner.
The unprecedented cancellation of two dozen games came one day after Commissioner David Stern, Granik, union director Billy Hunter and union president Patrick Ewing met for about an hour at the union's offices--the first meeting between the sides since owners stormed out of a bargaining session Aug. 6.
The sides discussed whether to resume formal talks, at which the owners would be expected to present a new proposal. The regular season remains scheduled to tip off Nov. 3.
Granik expressed some hope, but with owners looking for a definitive limit on salary costs and the union holding to its position that it won't agree to any kind of a "hard" salary cap, prospects for a speedy resolution appeared grim.
Training camps, which were scheduled to open Oct. 6, have been postponed indefinitely. Another batch of exhibition games could be canceled next week if no progress is made.