Players, owners to meet again Thursday

Amid mounting labor gloom, NBA commissioner David Stern tried Tuesday to
muster a hopeful tone heading into the last scheduled negotiation with
the players before the expiration of the current collective
bargaining agreement.

Following a five-hour Board of Governors meeting at the same hotel that
the league used as its Dallas headquarters during the NBA Finals earlier
this month, Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that the
league’s owners have not formally voted to authorize a lockout to start
immediately if there is no new labor agreement before Thursday’s
midnight deadline.

"There’s always time to make a deal," Stern insisted.

Yet one source close to the negotiations told that "it’s a sign" indicative of the wide gap between the sides that no talks were scheduled for Wednesday, leaving only Thursday’s deadline-day bargaining session in New York as the last hope to strike an agreement before the deadline.

Billy Hunter told the Sports Business Journal on Tuesday that the deadline can be extended "if both sides demonstrate a willingness," but Hunter expects the worst if the divide between the parties doesn’t get any narrower during their Thursday sitdown at the bargaining table in Manhattan.

"If no progress is being made by the two sides," Hunter told the Sports Business Journal, "then the NBA will impose a lockout."

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