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NBA, player representatives meet on lockout

Union President Derek Fisher says both sides feel 'a sense of urgency' to avoid canceling of games. David Stern promises 'meetings and meetings' through September.

August 31, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher talks to the media after meeting with NBA officials about the ongoing NBA labor impasse on Wednesday in New York.
NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher talks to the media after meeting… (Henny Ray Abrams / Associated…)

The NBA and representatives of its players' union met for six hours Wednesday in New York, with Commissioner David Stern promising more "meetings and meetings" through September to try to resolve the lockout that threatens the upcoming season.

Stern told reporters there's "clearly enough time" to strike a new labor agreement that would allow the NBA's regular season to start on time Nov. 1.

The meeting in Manhattan was the second between the sides since the lockout took effect July 1.

Players' association President Derek Fisher of the Lakers told reporters after Wednesday's session that the union had not changed its "philosophical stance" on issues and added that "both sides [are] feeling a sense of urgency" to strike a deal with training camp only a month away.

"Everyone loses if we don't reach an agreement; that's something that I think has always been understood," Fisher said. "As we approach … the training camp scheduled to start on Oct. 1, the urgency is just continuing to build and increase on both sides, and we're going to remain focused on finding a way to get this done."

Both sides declined to give the date for the next negotiating session, but it's expected to be next week.

The sides have been deeply divided on how to distribute basketball revenue. Previously, the NBA called for a $2-billion annual salary pool that would shrink last season's $2.15-billion pot based on league claims that 23 of 30 teams lost money during the 2009-10 season.

The owners also want to institute a hard salary cap that would deeply reduce the pay of supporting players.

There was a push by both sides Wednesday to say little publicly about the latest talks.

One person close to the negotiations said that even though the public tone of the owners-players' separation has been described as wide, there's a genuine effort underway to bridge the gap.

"I don't see any benefit to characterizing our positions," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said after the meeting. "We're not apart on the need to avoid missing games and we're not apart on the agreed impact that will have, not just on our teams and our players, but the communities in which they operate as well."

The league dismissed as false a report that league owners would consider canceling some games if there were no deal in place by the next NBA Board of Governors meeting on Sept. 15.

Stern told reporters, "We don't have any deadlines in mind. We just have meetings in mind and discussions in mind."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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