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NBA owners, players schedule possible final meeting as lockout looms

Two warring sides will give peace at least one more chance.

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NBA owners and the players association will meet Thursday in New York, according to the Sports Business Journal, holding a last-minute conference during the attempt to avoid a lockout. If a new collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached by 10:01 Mountain Time on Thursday evening, the league could enter an immediate work stoppage.

The sides could also agree to an extension, which NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said last week was a possibility. However, many labor analysts believe that owners and players appear to be too far apart with too many hotly debated issues still on the table for an extended deadline to be a realistic plan of action.

"I think we're headed probably to a similar path that we saw with the NFL, in terms of a lockout and potential litigation," said Gabe Feldman, Tulane law professor and director of the school's sports law program.

Stern and Hunter said last week that sides could meet Wednesday and Thursday as negotiations continued. Both dates were open, with the possibility that discussions could be held during each one. Thursday will be the lone day, though, possibly brining the NBA within hours of a lockout.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz



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