By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
With the NBA lockout now moving on to month No. 4, there's clearly a greater sense of urgency by both players and the league owners to get a deal done -- soon.
That's why on Friday, after several hours of meetings among themselves, with one another and later, among themselves, both sides plan to go at again Saturday morning.
For both players and owners, the true impact of having a lockout won't be felt until regular-season games are missed.
With training camp being pushed back indefinitely (it was supposed to start next week) and the first week of preseason games having already been eliminated (more, if not all, are sure to be canceled in the coming days), the time to get a deal done and avoid missing some or all of the regular season, is drawing near.
But balancing that sense of urgency with getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement completed, is a dicey proposition right now.
The major issues when the owners first locked out the players on July 1 are very much alive and well.
Owners still want a hard salary cap, but have shown some willingness to look at alternatives that, on the surface at least, appear to be more like a "flex" salary cap which the players union has been reluctant to embrace.
The divvying up of the Basketball-Related Income is another major issue. Under the old CBA, players took home 57 percent. The owners are looking to drop that amount by at least 10 percent.
Also, the NBA's luxury tax has become a hot topic of discussion in recent days, with a proposal that would significantly increase the amount teams would pay to exceed the luxury tax. This would to some degree, allow smaller market teams a better chance at competing for some of the game's top free agents.
In other words, there's plenty of work to be done and not a lot of time if they are to avoid missing regular season games which at this point, seems inevitable.
NBA commissioner David Stern warned that there would be "enormous consequences" if there wasn't significant progress made towards a new CBA this weekend.
Well, based on comments made by Stern and union president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, it's clear that minimal - if that much - progress was made.
Fisher told reporters afterward that there were no new proposals exchanged during what became a somewhat contentious but as Fisher put it, "engaging" session with the NBA owners.
According to ESPN.com, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade yelled at Stern while making "pointed remarks" to the Commissioner.
Still, the fact that both sides are seemingly engaged to keep talking, to keep working towards a solution, is encouraging.
"There's no bad news," Stern told reporters following Friday's meetings. "Both sides expressed a willingness to make a deal."