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NBA labor meeting begins as season's start hangs in balance

October 10, 2011 | 11:41 am

Nba-logo_200 NBA owners Peter Holt of the San Antonio Spurs, James Dolan of the New York Knicks and Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves arrived for a bargaining session in New York with players union officials amid Monday's deadline to reach a labor deal or see the first two weeks of the regular season canceled.

Commissioner David Stern promised as much last week. The season is scheduled to tip off Nov. 1.

Union Executive Director Billy Hunter said upon arriving at the meeting: "We're going to go in there, see if we can get a deal."

Owners have locked out the players since July 1 and the sides are divided over how great a rollback in pay the players must accept. Owners contend the league lost $300 million last year, with 22 of 30 teams losing money.

As they began meetings Sunday, the players had moved from guaranteed earnings of 57% of basketball-related income last season to 53%. Owners last week offered a 50-50 split.

Players including LeBron James, union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and Chris Paul on Monday  tweeted "LET US PLAY," with the hashtag #StandUnited, urging a resolution.

Players want the owners to solve their financial issues with a more effective revenue-sharing program that would allow a small-market team like Sacramento to enjoy some of the fruits of the multibillion-dollar local television deal the Lakers recently signed with Time-Warner Cable.

Owners would like to install a harder salary cap to help competitive equity, instituting a more costly luxury tax that players believe will result in less guaranteed money.

The sides met for nearly six hours Sunday night but declined to discuss any progress they made.

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-- Lance Pugmire

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