The deadline imposed by NBA commissioner David Stern for the players to accept the owners last proposal came and went on Wednesday as the two sides negotiated into the night. All told, the owners and players met for 11 hours and made enough progress to get back at it again on Thursday.
After the marathon session, Stern pointed out that while the owners did not reduce the players share of basketball related income (BRI) to 47 percent, that's where things will head if this negotiation period does not produce a new deal. He also was quick to say that more meetings shouldn't be read into one way or another.
"We're not failing. We're not succeeding. We're just there."
Union president Derek Fisher echoed the commissioner's thoughts that there is plenty that needs to be done.
"The fact that we don't have a deal lets you know that there's still a lot of work to be done on the system," the Lakers guard said.
Despite both sides downplaying the idea of too much progress being made, Yahoo Sports reports a deal is within striking distance.
"We can get there in the next day or two," one high-ranking league official briefed on the talks said. "But it’s still a volatile process, and egos can still get in the way. …But there’s a lot of reason to be hopeful."
The stage is set perfectly to finally end the lockout and allow both sides to claim victory. The players can pound their chest about not being pushed around since they refused to take Stern's ultimatum. Meanwhile, the owners are able to point to a 50/50 BRI split (down from 57 percent for the players in the old deal) as well as system changes that will help with "competitive balance".