Another marathon session of negotiations Wednesday between the NBA and the players union rendered yet another day without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
But unlike previous bargaining sessions, this may very well have been the most promising that the lockout will soon be over.
Both sides agreed that progress was made - not significant progress, but progress nonetheless.
"Obviously enough progress was made for us to come back at 2 p.m. Thursday for another bargaining session," said NBAPA president Derek Fisher, who like all those involved in WednesdayThursday morning's 15-plus hour bargaining session, was visibly worn down.
Said NBA commissioner David Stern: "We hope to use WednesdayThursday morning's session to continue making and building upon the progress that was made."
Enough progress was made to where both sides have left open the possibility of there still being an 82-game regular season despite the first two weeks of the season having already been canceled.
Stern said whatever decision that's made regarding the schedule, it'll be "in the best interest of our fans as well as the best interest of our players."
He added, "whether that is 82 games or not, is really dependent on so many things. Hockey issues, building issues, we've got travel schedules and the sheer volume of games that might have to be compressed and the amounts of back-to-backs that players could be asked to play."
Fisher said the chances of having an 82-game schedule now is "slim," but added it's possible if a deal can be reached within the next four or five days.
Failure to reach a deal within the next few days will leave Stern little choice but to cancel more games in November.
He has said in the past that it takes about a month from the time a deal is agreed upon between the union and the NBA, for actual games to be played.
"I'm not making any plans this moment," Stern said, in regards to additional cancellations. "But you're as good a judge of the calendar as we are."
While the progress made on system issues gives a glimmer of hope that a deal will be reached, that has to be balanced with the reality that at some point very soon, they'll have to figure out how to divide up the basketball-related income - a major hurdle that was the reason behind the talks breaking off between the two sides last week.
"There's no deal on anything, unless there's a deal on everything," Stern said.