Slowly moving forward

By The Associated Press
Updated: September 23, 2010

NEW YORK — The NBA and the Players Association concluded their second negotiating session of the offseason Wednesday in New York, calling the three-hour meeting “constructive” while also alluding to future discussions.

The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after this season.

The league and union issued the following joint statement:

“Today the NBPA and the NBA held another bargaining meeting that was both cordial and constructive. We all agreed to continue the dialogue, and during the three-hour meeting, a number of issues were identified that will be addressed in smaller groups leading up to the next bargaining meeting.”

It wasn’t immediately clear when the next session would take place. The two sides also met in August, at which time they agreed to continue talks before the start of training camp. They held to that timetable with the latest sit-down.

The increased frequency of meetings can be interpreted as a positive step as both parties work to avoid the second work stoppage in league history. The threat of a lockout next summer will loom over negotiations throughout the season.

The key issue is the players’ percentage of league revenues, currently at 57 percent. NBA owners are pushing for a drastic reduction in that percentage in an attempt to overhaul the current economic system. NBA commissioner David Stern has said teams lost approximately $370 million last season. The union has flatly rejected that claim.

Contact lengths, guaranteed salaries, Bird rights and the salary caps are among the other topics on the table. Both the owners and players have submitted CBA proposals this year, though each has been rejected by the other side during previous meetings.

But unlike the contentious February meeting during All-Star weekend in Dallas, the last two negotiations have gone relatively smoothly. The August session was also deemed “constructive.”