In an effort to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the NBA owners and players' union resumed labor talks Wednesday -- sidestepping commissioner David Stern's 4 p.m. CT deadline for players to accept the league's latest offer or have it be replaced by a reset offer, which includes a 47 percent share of basketball-related income for the players and a hard salary cap -- and will reconvene on Thursday at 11 p.m. CT.
Following the 12-hour meeting, neither side delved into details when asked about whether progress was made.
"We've agreed to stop the clock and continue to negotiate," Stern told reporters in New York. "I would not read into this optimism or pessimism We're not failing and we're not succeeding. We're just there."
Added union president and Lakers guard Derek Fisher: "We can't say there was significant progress today. There's a lot of work to be done on the system. We'll be back tomorrow ... and we'll see if we can continue to make the efforts at least to finish this out."
Both sides have made no secret of the fact they have plenty of work to do before reaching the framework of a deal. For the players, the message is simple: Provide a fair system and a compromise can be made on the BRI split.
On Tuesday, the union and 43 players -- including player representatives of 29 of the NBA's 30 teams -- met in order to get on the same page and discuss their strategy moving forward. In the process, union officials sounded willing to accept the league's proposal of a 50-50 split of BRI if the owners make proper concessions on the unresolved system issues.
John Lucas III represented the Bulls at the session and was encouraged by the players' unity. While no further meetings were scheduled as of Tuesday, the players were ready to negotiate.
“As players, we’re standing behind our union," Lucas said Tuesday night during a phone conversation. "Everyone was on the same page and is willing to negotiate some more on the deal."
The players got their wish, and to take it further, union executive director Billy Hunter cautioned "this session could go on for another couple days."
Similar to the case heading into Wednesday's session, there are three possibilities for what can happen on Thursday: either labor talks break off, the two sides meet again the next day (Friday) or a deal is struck. Yet another moment of truth for fans who have been on this roller-coaster ride since July.