Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Contract talks between the National Basketball Association and its players union ended for the day without a settlement to end a four-month lockout.
Chris Paul, a New Orleans Hornets guard and a member of the union’s executive committee, said in an interview that he was hopeful of further negotiations this weekend.
“We just couldn’t reach an agreement,” Paul said outside the New York City hotel where today’s negotiating session took place.
Top officials from both sides had expressed optimism yesterday that enough progress was being made that today could be deal day. Negotiators from the league and the National Basketball Players Association met a third straight day.
With more progress cited this week than at any time following the almost 50 past negotiating sessions, NBA Commissioner David Stern and union Executive Director Billy Hunter said yesterday that a full 82-game season might be possible if an agreement is reached this week.
The two sides spent this week working through issues surrounding the system under which the league will operate, including the luxury-tax system for big-spending teams, the salary cap and the length of player contracts. With those issues nearing completion, both sides suggested last night that talks could return to how to split basketball-related income.
The two groups held separate news conferences yesterday, Stern watching from the back of the room as Hunter and union President Derek Fisher went first.
After saying that the big moves needed to reach a deal have yet to occur, Hunter was asked last night for a timetable for settlement.
“David Stern is sitting back there,” Hunter said. “He can probably tell you, hopefully tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow,” Stern shouted with a laugh.
Stern said later last night that there was “no guarantee that we’ll get it done, but we’re going to give it a heck of a shot tomorrow.”
The league locked the players out on July 1 when the last labor deal expired and this month canceled the first two weeks of the season, which was scheduled to begin Nov. 1.
While so-called system issues are crucial to the talks, the biggest sticking point still appears to be the revenue split. The NBA made $4.3 billion last season, with players receiving 57 percent of basketball-related income under the past contract. Acknowledging losses by the league in recent seasons, the union has said it would take 52.5 percent in the new contract, while the league has offered 50 percent. It amounts to about a $100 million difference per season.
--Editors: Rob Gloster, Larry Siddons
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