NEW YORK (AP) — Top negotiators for the NBA and players' association met Sunday night in perhaps the last chance to avoid canceled regular-season games.
Commissioner David Stern has set Monday as the deadline for a new labor deal to be reached before the first two weeks of the season will be canceled. No meetings had been planned since he set the deadline Tuesday, before the sides agreed to talk Sunday.
Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, owners Peter Holt of San Antonio and Glen Taylor of Minnesota, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube met with union executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and vice president Maurice Evans of the Wizards, and attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner.
The meeting comes two days after the union said the league insisted it accept a 50-50 split of revenues as a condition to meet. Instead, the precondition was dropped, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were to remain private.
No talks had been expected after Friday's developments, when the league said it had been willing to meet on other issues but confirmed it wouldn't go beyond a 50-50 split. Union executive director Billy Hunter had planned to fly to Los Angeles on Monday for a regional meeting with members.
That meeting is still planned. Fisher sent a letter to players, obtained by The Associated Press and other outlets, urging as many as possible to attend.
"We find these meetings extremely productive and informative as we review the status and details of the CBA negotiations, answer questions and discuss next steps," Fisher wrote.
But travel plans could change if there is enough progress Sunday. Talks were still ongoing more than four hours after they began.
Owners brought the idea of the 50-50 split to players on Tuesday, which they rejected. They were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball revenues in the previous collective bargaining agreement and have said they wouldn't go below 53 percent in a new deal.
Even if they were able to agree on the revenue split Sunday, the structure of the salary cap system hasn't been worked out, and numerous other items haven't even been touched because the two main issues have been so contested.
The season is scheduled to open Nov. 1.