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NBA Lockout Update: David Stern Anticipates 'Important and Additional Progress' On Friday ... 'Or Not'

Sounds like NBA Commissioner David Stern, who commented after the players and owners met for seven and a half hours on Thursday, is optimistic about ending the 2011 Lockout when talks resume on Friday.

Or not.

Stern’s comments stand in contrast to those made by Union Executive Director Billy Hunter, who said a potential deal that could put players back on the courts was “within striking distance.”

ESPN has more:

“There’s an element of continuity, familiarity and I would hope trust that would enable us to look forward to (Friday) where we anticipate there will be some important and additional progress,” Stern said. “Or not.”

“There are no guarantees that we’ll get it done, but we’re going to give it one heck of a shot tomorrow,” Stern said a few minutes later in his press conference. “I think that Billy and the union’s negotiators feel the same way. I know that ours do.”

Stern’s cautious approach likely stems from the fact that neither side has begun discussing the split of basketball-related income, the sticking point that has continued to doom negotiations from the beginning.

Players remain steadfast in their desire to earn a 52-48 split, and Hunter has not given any indication that his side would waver on that number.

With two weeks of the regular season already canceled, something’s got to give — and soon — or the only thing these two will be splitting is cab fare.

Stay tuned.