NEW YORK – NBA leaders and players union representatives met for about six hours on Wednesday in only the second bargaining session for a new contract since NBA club owners locked out players two months ago.
The sides had not met since August 1 and remain far apart on financial terms with two months remaining until the scheduled November 1 start of the 2011-2012 season and even less before training camps are set to open October 1.
“Both sides are feeling a sense of urgency,” said union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers. “We’re just going to focus on the deal. That’s all we can do.”
NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt met with union executive director Billy Hunter and Fisher. They plan to meet again, although exactly when was not revealed.
“We don’t have any deadlines in mind,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “We just have meetings in mind and discussions in mind.”
Pre-season exhibition games are set to start on October 9.
“Everyone loses if we don’t reach an agreement,” Fisher said.
“As we approach September 1 and obviously the training camp schedule to start on October 1, the urgency is just continuing to build and increase on both sides. We’re going to remain focused on finding a way to get this done.”
Owners claim major losses and seek salary cuts and a firm payroll cap while players hope to keep things basically as they have been under the old deal made in 2005. Each side has pocketed about half of $4.3 billion in annual revenues.
The only other shutdown of the NBA over financial issues between owners and players came in the 1998-1999 season, which was reduced to 50 games.