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"Long way to go" with no progress made in labor talks

Oct 1, 2011, 6:08 p.m.
Washington Wizard's Maurice Evans arrives for NBA labor meetings in New York September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - National Basketball Association (NBA) team owners and locked out players failed to reach agreement after a second straight day of labor talks on Saturday, saying they would meet again in New York Monday.

No progress was made after seven hours of negotiations in a midtown Manhattan hotel and, with the salary cap the main sticking point between the two sides, the prospect of a delayed start to the regular season loomed even larger.

"The reality is we still have an extremely long way to go," NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher told reporters.

"Even with the exchanges that we made today, there are still huge gaps in what we've proposed compared to what they proposed ... so there's a lot of work left to be done, but we'll keep at this."

The regular season is scheduled to begin on November 1 but, with no deal in place for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the league risks postponing or cancelling regular season games for only the second time in its history.

The NBA last week announced it had postponed training camps and canceled the first week of preseason games.

"Our desire would be to not cancel (regular-season games), and we had been hopeful that this weekend would be a broader marker," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

"For reasons which we understand, the players suggested that we resume Monday, and we said 'fine'. We're not near anything, but wherever that is, we're closer than we were before."

NBA owners contend the league lost $300 million last season with 22 of 30 teams in the red. They want the league's share of basketball-related income increased from 50 to 57 percent, along with a firm salary cap and shorter contracts.

The players have offered to reduce their share from 57 to 53 percent.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Julian Linden)

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