"It's important for me that all of us, as being the faces of the NBA, to be involved in the negotiations and what's going on," Anthony said as he left. "Our future is in jeopardy if we can't come into a mutual agreement."
Players' association executive director Billy Hunter said 14 players participated in the meeting in Manhattan. The sides agreed to hold another session before training camp so players can take part again.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, 2011.
"It was great conversation, great dialogue going back and forth," said Anthony, the Denver Nuggets star. "The communication was great. Hopefully we can come to an agreement soon."
The four-hour bargaining session Thursday was the first since February's All-Star weekend, when the players — also strengthened by the surprising attendance of some big names — rejected the owners' proposal. The union recently submitted its own proposal, but commissioner David Stern has indicated it's similar to the current CBA, and the owners are seeking significant changes to the system.
Stern has estimated the league will lose about $370 million this season, which the union disputes. The sides began discussions last year but remained far apart, creating fears of a lockout next summer.
But they were striking a cooperative tone after Thursday's meeting, issuing a joint statement praising "constructive dialogue and a productive exchange of information."
"While we still have much work to do," the statement said, "it was encouraging how many players and owners participated in the process and all pledged to continue to work together."