No NBA deal after day of salary cap talks

Derek Fisher, center, Los Angeles Lakers point guard and president of the NBA Players Association, speaks to reporters after a five-hour meeting with owners to discuss a new labor deal and possibly avert a lockout on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in New York.
AP Photo

NEW YORK - NBA owners and players failed to reach a deal after about seven hours of talks Saturday, mostly about the salary cap structure, and will meet again Monday.

Union executive director Billy Hunter says the sides are still "miles apart" on the cap system, and they didn't even talk about the division of revenues, the other big obstacle to a labor deal that would end the lockout.

With exactly a month left before the regular season opens, Commissioner David Stern said he had nothing to announce in terms of cancellations. But the remainder of the preseason schedule is in jeopardy, and given there hasn't been the progress he wanted this weekend, the real games could now be threatened, too.

Earlier, negotiators returned Saturday for further talks after the sides met for more than four hours Friday. All-Star players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony attended that session, but fewer players were expected Saturday.

An agreement on a new labor deal may be necessary in the next few days to avoid having to cancel regular-season games. Already part of the preseason has been scrapped, and Stern has said there must be progress this weekend or there will be "enormous consequences."

Both sides, however, have cautioned there is still plenty to work out.

"There are a lot of issues on the table. I think just even in question of the number of hours in a day, I'm not sure we could complete a deal this weekend," Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said after Friday's meeting. "The question is how much progress can we make on the significant issues."

They made some on one of them Friday, but two big hurdles remain.

Stern indicated that the union will OK the owners' plan for enhanced revenue sharing. However, the salary cap structure and division of revenues between the sides remain obstacles.

A person familiar with what happened during Friday's meeting said the normally mild-mannered Wade angrily expressed frustrations with the process, directing most of his comments toward Stern and saying he felt disrespected by the commissioner at one point during the meeting. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the sides agreed to keep details of the day's dialogue private.

Stern emphatically denied he would threaten to cancel the entire season this early even if things don't go well this weekend. Still, he repeated that there would be danger in not making progress soon.

"Both sides agreed that the consequences of not making a deal lead us to the prospect of possibly at some point in the not distant future losing regular-season games," Stern said. "And we agreed that once you start to lose them and the players lose paychecks and the owners lose money, then positions on both sides will harden and those are the enormous consequences that I referred to in terms of trying to make a deal."