NBA Lockout: Pivotal Stretch Begins As Owners, Players Meet
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Time is running out to save the full 2011-12 NBA calendar.
Owners and players are meeting again Tuesday, this time with their full bargaining committees as the negotiations to end the league’s lockout reach an important stage.
With less than three weeks until training camps would open, the sides know progress must be made soon to avoid having to make cancellations later this month. Both have said there is still time to reach a new labor deal that would keep the schedule intact.
After three meetings in the last two weeks between small groups, the owners’ labor relations committee and the union’s executive committee rejoined the talks for the first time since late June, before the work stoppage began on July 1.
Players expressed frustration then that owners were still sticking to points from their original proposal of early 2010. That included pay cuts and shorter contracts for the players, along with changes to the current salary cap system.
The process has been more cordial since, even if not significantly more productive, sparking hopes that the sides are more willing to compromise now. But players’ association president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said last week that they couldn’t go much further without bringing the large groups, who would help leadership know how to proceed.
“To think about where we were July 1 to now in terms of just the process itself, not what’s being discussed and what type of deal it will end up being, just the process itself, we’ve put in a lot of time,” he said last week. “And we’re going to try to continue that process and see if we can get a fair deal done as soon as possible.”
Players and owners could meet again Wednesday in Manhattan, and the sides will update their memberships on the state of the negotiations Thursday. Owners are scheduled to meet in Dallas, while the union is headed to Las Vegas to talk to players taking part in the Impact Academy basketball league.
During the 1998 lockout that reduced the season to 50 games, training camps that were scheduled to open Oct. 5 were postponed on Sept. 24. Camps would open Oct. 3 this year.
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