NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday

NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday
August 31, 2011, 4:47 pm
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By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn With the summer winding down, time is running out for the NBA players union and the owners to pass a new collective bargaining agreement.

Key figures in the labor stalemate were scheduled to meet in New York City Wednesday, which represents just the second meeting between the two sides since the July 1 lockout.

For the union, you'll have Executive Director Billy Hunter joined by union president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher. The owners will be represented by NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt.

While no one anticipates anything resembling a new collective bargaining agreement to come about, some degree of progress needs to be made to avoid the league's first work stoppage since the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season.

For the 30 teams, everyone is operating as if the season will start on time with the usual preseason events. Media Day is still slated to take place on Oct. 3.

But much has to be done before the 2011-2012 season can begin.

Once a new collective bargaining agreement is passed, the free agency period must begin and will surely be shortened due to the late start.

Several NBA players have spent the past couple of weeks working out in anticipation that the season will begin on time.

"You have to take that approach," Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal told CSNNE.com earlier this summer. "Until I'm told differently, I'm not going to change my offseason workouts or anything like that. The last thing you want to happen, is to be out of shape when a deal is done. It'll put you and the team behind even further."

The fact that they're meeting, even if nothing is done, is definitely a step in the right direction.

And as we saw with the NFL and its labor situation, all it takes is agreement on a couple of key components and a new collective bargaining agreement can come together quickly.

"Just as football was committed to the process, the NFL, the NFLPA, you have to take your hat off to them," Mo Evans, Vice President of the NBA players association, told NBA.com. "They did what they were supposed to do. They went in and they both negotiated a deal. Now it's our turn."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn