David Stern and leaders from the players' union began their latest round of NBA lockout talks at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to NBA.com's Steve Aschburner. Like recent sessions that had apparently yielded some progress, the invite list was short: just four officials each from the league and union are reportedly in the room, including just one team owner (the San Antonio Spurs' Peter Holt) and one player (the L.A. Lakers' Derek Fisher).
At this point, with training camps supposedly to open in less than two weeks, nothing short of rapid progress will get the complete preseason schedule saved. In another couple of weeks, the start of the NBA regular season -- slated for Nov. 1 -- will be in real jeopardy. That puts these talks on Thursday in a huge place of importance, especially coming off the unified stands each side presented following internal meetings a week ago.
When the NFL lockout was finally solved in July, it took the main characters bunkering down for several days to hammer out the framework of an agreement. One assumes that if the NBA seeks to preserve its schedule, it will end up doing the same. The league and union can't wait much longer to get to that point, and fans would love nothing more than to see the sides make that commitment to hammer it out right now.