Whether there is an NBA Lockout could hinge on a Tuesday bargaining session between league owners and players, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times. The sides have met multiple times in the past few weeks, with minimal progress to show for it. The franchise owners are determined to remake the league's financial system, while the players are willing to concede some salary but refuse to consent to a hard cap as proposed by the NBA.
Beck reports that NBA commissioner David Stern said that Tuesday's meeting will dictate whether the gulf can be bridged by June 30, the date that the league's current agreement expires.
"It’s just important because of the substance of our conversations today," Stern said of Tuesday’s meeting, "and because time is running out, and because both parties still remain, at least to me, intent on doing the best they can to make a deal before June 30."
Asked if a breakthrough was critical Tuesday, Stern said, "Yes, yes."
On Friday, the NBA reportedly backed off of its bid to eliminate guaranteed contracts, a minor victory for the players' union. But the league remains wedded to a hard cap, something the players have rejected under current bargaining. It's unclear how the NBA proposes to implement a hard cap with guaranteed contracts.