Labor dispute talks to continue on Thursday
(Reuters) - National Basketball Association (NBA) owners and players will resume labor dispute talks Thursday after 12 hours of discussions in New York ended late in the night Wednesday with the sides no closer to a resolution.
"We've agreed to stop the clock while we continue to negotiate. We have agreed to convene here tomorrow at noon time," NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters.
"I would not read into this optimism or pessimism we are just continuing to negotiate. Nothing was worked out today."
The talks at a Manhattan hotel on Wednesday had gone past Stern's 17:00 ET deadline for players to accept his latest offer or get a worse deal on the table.
Stern had said the offer would switch to 53-47 in favor of the owners unless an agreement was reached Wednesday. However, with talks still ongoing, Stern said they would revert to that offer when this latest round of discussions ended.
"We are trying to demonstrate our good faith and the union is trying to demonstrate its good faith," Stern said.
After the marathon meeting, NBA Players Association President Derek Fisher said they had failed to move any closer to a deal.
"We can't say there was significant progress today," Fisher told reporters. "We'll be back tomorrow ... and we'll see if we can continue to make the efforts at least to finish this out."
If the stalemate is not broken, yet more games of this already delayed season could be canceled, although hope remains that a deal can be struck to end a protracted lockout that began on July 1.
The league has offered the players between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though NBA Players Association officials claim they have no chance of receiving more than 50.2 percent. The players have offered to come down to 52.5 percent.
The union says it is willing to move close to the owners on the revenue split but wants to see the same in return on 'system issues', mainly relating to the salary cap system.
The owners claim the NBA lost $300 million last season with 22 of its 30 teams in the red and they have demanded a reduction in the players' share of income, which was 57 percent under the prior deal. They also want a firm salary cap and shorter contracts.
The league has canceled all games up until the end of November and there are fears that Christmas games could come under threat if a deal is not reached promptly.
(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami, Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles and Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Rex Gowar/Larry Fine)