NBA, Players Union Inch Closer on Labor Talks

If we use the length of a basketball court as an analogy for the NBA labor talks, the NBA owners and Players Association just inbounded the ball.

And with eight days until the June 30 deadline, both the NBA and NBAPA need to move quickly to avoid sending the league into its first lockout since the 1998-99 season.

However, after a three-hour meeting Tuesday in New York, the two sides have gained a little momentum.

According to ESPN.com, the two sides emerged from the meeting "cautiously optimistic" that ground was being gained.

According to the report, the Union issued their financial proposal first, which featured a half-billion dollar reduction in salary spread over the next five years.

While labeling the $500 million reduction "modest," NBA commisioner David Stern stated that the latest offer from the league was "virtually the best shot we think we have" to avoid a work stoppage.

The owners' offer revolves around a flex cap, with $2 billion earmarked for players' salaries each season. While eliminating the idea of non-guaranteed contracts, the league's offer says the Bird rights and mid-level exception would remain in tact.

"We're prepared to take less in the early years of a 10-year deal because we would come out in the latter years with something we are satisfied with," deputy NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

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