Thursday, October 13, 2011

Owners and players plan meeting with federal mediator

Oct 12 (Reuters) - National Basketball Association (NBA) owners and locked-out players expect to meet with a federal mediator early next week in an attempt to resolve their labor dispute, a league spokesman said on Wednesday.

The NBA has already canceled its preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season because of the lockout and more games could be in jeopardy if a deal is not reached soon.

“We are working on scheduling a meeting for early next week,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank told Reuters in an email without giving additional details.

Players union executive director Billy Hunter mentioned the meeting during an interview with New York radio station WFAN, according to a report on the NBA’s website. He said the meeting would take place on Monday.

The league locked out players on July 1 after the two sides failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

Players, who are scheduled to meet with Hunter on Friday in Los Angeles to discuss the dispute, last met with NBA officials on Monday in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement.

When no deal was forthcoming, NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season, which was scheduled to begin Nov. 1.

NBA owners contend the league lost $300 million last season with 22 of 30 teams in the red. They had wanted the league’s share of basketball-related income increased from 50 to 57 percent, along with a firm salary cap and shorter contracts.

The players had offered to reduce their share from 57 to 53 percent.

© Copyright (c) Reuters, Photograph by: Eduardo Munoz, REUTERS


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