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NBA, players end lengthy session, to resume labor talks Saturday

September 30, 2011 |  4:49 pm

James3 A nearly five-hour-long labor meeting between NBA owners and players, including superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, ended Friday without a breakthrough and uncertainty remained about whether the regular season will start on time.

Union president and Lakers point guard Derek Fisher told reporters at a New York hotel that no new proposals were exchanged during a sometimes contentious but “engaging” session that included NBA Commissioner David Stern. Talks are set to resume at 7 a.m. Pacific time Saturday.

"Today was about expressing ourselves," Fisher said.

Stern had warned earlier this week that “enormous consequences” would follow if the sides failed to make significant progress in talks this weekend. At the end of Friday’s session, Stern slightly softened, saying: “There’s no bad news. … Both sides expressed a willingness to make a deal.”

Asked if a deal to end the three-month-old lockout of players can be completed by the end of this weekend -- Fisher told reporters, “I can’t answer that.”

The NBA's regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.

One player, Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat, said, “I was very encouraged. You can see that everybody wants to make a deal.”

Friday’s session opened with union leadership gathering with the superstars and other players -– including the Clippers’ Eric Gordon, and ex-Clippers Baron Davis and Elton Brand –- while owners met among themselves.

The meetings lasted until after 4 p.m. Pacific time.

The sides are trying to bridge differences over how to split up basketball-related income. Players last season collected 57% of that pot, but owners want to trim the figure below 50% while imposing a hard team-by-team salary cap that the union contends will reduce the amount of guaranteed money for players.


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Photo: LeBron James arrives at NBA labor meetings in New York on Friday. Credit: Brendan McDermid / Reuters