New York: NBA players and owners will resume talks on Wednesday, two people with knowledge of the plans said on Tuesday. This comes a week after the sides vowed to meet more frequently in hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.
The session will be just the third between top negotiators since the lockout started on July 1. But with the opening of training camps less than a month away, both sides said they recognized the urgency to pick up the pace.
The meeting - expected to be a small group - will be in New York. The site hasn't been disclosed.
No new proposals were exchanged last week during a meeting that lasted about six hours. Neither side shared many details, saying they preferred to keep the nature of the talks private.
Commissioner David Stern said afterward there was still "clearly enough time" to make a deal that would allow the regular season to open as scheduled on November 1. However, a gap remains between the financial changes owners are seeking and what players have been willing to accept.
"I could see it going either way," two-time MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. "It looks like right now we probably won't start on time.
"Hopefully, as we start to get into the time of year where everyone is missing basketball, we can all start to concede on some points that each other are looking for and find a middle ground. That would be the best of both worlds."
Before last week, the only other meeting between top officials was on August 1, after which Stern criticized the players for an unwillingness to compromise. The league filed an unfair labour practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board and a lawsuit against the players the next day, adding to the complaint the union had already filed with the NLRB.
But both sides have stressed that a deal can only be reached at the bargaining table, not the court system, and Stern and players' association president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said last week they would be holding many meetings.
One of the people confirmed an ESPN.com report that there could even be additional ones this week if Wednesday's session goes well.
Training camps are scheduled to open the first week of October, with the first preseason games set for October 9.