NEW YORK – NBA commissioner David Stern and Players Association officials have reconvened Monday afternoon in an apparent last-ditch effort to prevent the cancellation of the first two weeks of the league's season.
A small of group of representatives from the league and union met for about five hours late Sunday at a midtown hotel, but the two sides didn't discuss the proposed revenue split – the biggest sticking point in talks for a new collective bargaining agreement – discussing only system issues, a source briefed on the talks told Yahoo! Sports.
NBA owners continue to push for a 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI) and system changes that include harsh taxes for big-spending teams, lowering the midlevel salary-cap exception and narrowing players' "Larry Bird" exception rights, sources told Y! Sports. Players are resisting the lowering of their share of BRI to 50 percent without the league leaving most of the old system in place.
Players Association president Derek Fisher(notes) said the NBA and union were "not necessarily closer" to a deal at the end of Sunday's meeting than they were going into the day, but the two sides planned to keep talking. Fisher and Players Association executive director Billy Hunter were scheduled to travel to Los Angeles on Monday for a meeting with players, but postponed those plans to remain in New York.
Stern has said he will cancel the first two weeks of the season – which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1 – if a labor agreement isn't reached by Monday. The league already has canceled all of its scheduled preseason games.
Sunday evening's meeting came two days after league officials said they would not negotiate a split of revenue beyond the 50-50 proposal they had already made to players. The players' last formal proposal had them reducing their share of the league's BRI from 57 percent in the previous labor deal to 53.
Fisher had remained in New York through the weekend, hoping the league would restart negotiations after talks broke off Tuesday. The league reached out to Fisher and Hunter on Sunday to set up the new meeting.
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, who is heading the league's labor committee, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, chairman of the league's board of governors, and Players Association vice president Maurice Evans also attended Sunday's meeting, along with attorneys for both the NBA and union.
Fisher emailed players earlier Sunday, encouraging them to attend Monday's union meeting in L.A. Fisher also said in the email that he and New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, a member of the union's executive committee, would begin using social media to show fans that the players are determined to resume playing.
"On Monday, Chris and I will tweet and post "LET US PLAY," Fisher wrote. "This was used by the NFL players and many will be joining us on Monday and retweeting the same message to show their support for our players."
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