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NBA Lockout: Dan Gilbert, Robert Sarver At Center Of Owners' Divide

The NBA lockout is on the verge of threatening the NBA regular season, but according to some reports, the owners were willing to reach a compromise on a new collective bargaining deal this week. That is, until Dan Gilbert and Robert Sarver spoke up to oppose it.

After initial optimism from both sides, the latest talks were derailed when the owners left the players in New York City to deliberate amongst themselves. ESPN's Dave McMenamin has the scoop:

Owners were seriously considering coming off of their demand for a salary freeze and would allow players' future earnings to be tied into the league's revenue growth, a critical point for players. The owners also were willing to allow the players to maintain their current salaries, without rollbacks, sources said.

But when the owners left the players to meet among themselves for around three hours, Cleveland's Dan Gilbert and Phoenix's Robert Sarver expressed their dissatisfaction with many of the points, sources said. The sources said that the Knicks' James Dolan and the Lakers' Jerry Buss were visibly annoyed by the hardline demands of Gilbert and Sarver.

Indeed, it seems the two sides were closer than it appeared, only to have the minority opposition sabotage this week's progress. And just like that, Suns' owner Robert Sarver and Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert just became public enemy nos. 1 and 2 in the ongoing story of the NBA lockout.