NBA Lockout: Marathon Meeting Brings Progress, Hope

Tell me if you've heard this before: the NBA players and owners have made significant progress after a marathon meeting and are hopeful that a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached.

It was just last week that word started to leak that optimism was starting to build after a 16-hour negotiation setting. That was followed with the two sides getting back together the next day only to have things blowing up with player association president Derek Fisher calling deputy commissioner Adam Silver and Spurs owner Peter Holt liars.

The latest meeting started Wednesday but didn't wrap up until the early Thursday morning following just over 15 hours of talks. Both sides agreed on one thing: a follow-up meeting later Thursday was worth planning and scheduled it for 2 p.m.

As for those broken down talks last week that happened with NBA commissioner David Stern at home nursing the flu?

"I leave these guys alone for a little bit of time and all hell breaks loose," Stern joked after the latest lengthy talks.

Though the two sides haven't yet tackled the biggest issue of splitting basketball related income (BRI), that was by design so they could focus on things like the luxury tax and revenue sharing between franchises.

"I think we'll turn to the split when we finish with the system," Stern told a group of tired reporters. "Right now, it has been profitable to turn to the system."

Despite the league already announcing they have cancelled the first two weeks of the season, union executive director Billy Hunter thought an 82-game schedule could be restored if a deal was reach Sunday or Monday. The commissioner wasn't ready to make the same sort of prediction, but clearly the talks had a new feel.

"The energy in the room has been good," Stern conceded. "The back and forth has been good."

Now it's time for both sides to finally build on this supposed progress, something they have yet to accomplish throughout this ridiculous process.

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