NEW YORK (via Associated Press, ESPN) — With a month until the NBA season, players and owners don’t sound much closer to a labor deal than they did when the lockout began.
They’re so far apart on money they decided to leave it alone Saturday and focused mainly on the salary cap.
They couldn’t solve that, either.
“I wouldn’t say there was any progress. What happened was, they put some concepts up, we put some concepts up, and we’re still miles apart,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “There’s a huge bridge, gap, that I don’t know if we’re going to be able to close it or not.”
The sides will meet again later today — the day training camps were to have begun — though time is getting short to save the start of the regular season, scheduled for November 1. Neither side sounds optimistic.
In a seven-hour bargaining session, their longest since the lockout began July 1, the sides talked about one of the two major issues that divides them. Owners want a hard cap, or at least want a number of changes to the current soft cap system, which the players prefer to keep largely intact.
The sides didn’t even attempt to deal with the division of revenues, the other big obstacle to a labor agreement that would end the lockout.
Commissioner David Stern said he had nothing to announce in terms of cancellations. But the remainder of the preseason schedule is in jeopardy — some games already have been canceled. Regular-season games could now be threatened, too.
“Our desire would be to not cancel, and we had been hopeful that this weekend would be a broader marker, but for reasons which we understand, the players suggested that we resume on Monday, and we said ‘fine,’ ” Stern said.
Stern did indicate some level of progress, saying: “We’re not near anything, but wherever that is, we’re closer than we were before.”
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