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NBA Lockout Talks Said To Be 'Light Years Ahead' Of 1998 Stoppage

The top committees from the league and players' union will join the latest NBA lockout talks on Tuesday in New York City, as the two sides attempt to find an agreement in the next couple weeks that can save the November 1 start of the 2011-12 season. The last three meetings have included only the very top officials from the NBA and union; Tuesday's meeting will feature the league's labor committee and the union's executive committee, bringing the count of voices in the room from 7-8 to more than two dozen.

But don't expect a comprehensive proposal to start the day. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports that those familiar with the talks expect a collaborative approach building a single, joint plan going forward.

As one person monitoring the talks said, "They're not just sticking to one side and saying, ‘We're not moving.' "

That is a vast improvement from August and puts these talks light-years ahead of where they were during the 1998 lockout. While the circumstances may differ, the comparison is worth noting.

Beck goes on to remind us of the slow pace the 1998 talks took, and notes the personality difference with the replacement of Russ Granik by new deputy commissioner Adam Silver and of Patrick Ewing with new NBPA president Derek Fisher

After Tuesday's meeting in New York, the union will hold a large meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday while the owners meet in Dallas. It's unclear whether there will be reason to reconvene quickly to hammer out details of a new deal, or whether this is all a mirage.