Owners and players met for 15 hours, 20 minutes -- until 3:20 a.m. New York time early Thursday morning -- but no deal was reached.


The side will reconvene to continue negotiations at 1 p.m. Minneapolis time on Thursday with hope that somehow an 82-game season still can be salvaged if an agreement is reached by Monday.

Thursday might very well tell whether that deal can be reached now or not.

"We were able to work through a number of issues regarding our system, but I can't say major progress was made in any way," NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher said as 4 a.m. approached Eastern time. "But some progress was made, enough to come back tomorrow."

Well, today, actually.

"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves at this point," Fisher said.

The two sides didn't talk about the troublesome split of "basketball-related income" on Wednesday/Thursday, but instead focused on "system" issues that include a more restricitve luxury tax that owners seek.

A logical person would assume that with the owners firm on a 50/50 split and the players vowing not to go below 53 percent, some common ground will be found at, say, 51.5 percent or thereabouts.

The small group of owners, including Wolves' owner Glen Taylor, that participated in the marathon session will talk by converence call with the league's labor relations committee before negotiations resume Thursday afternoon.

"We hope to use tomorrow's session to continue making and building upon the progress that we made today," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "This has been a very arduous and difficult day, and productive. Tomorrow will be just as arduous and difficult, if not more so. We hope it can be as productive.

"There's no deal on anything unless there's a deal on everything."

Wednesday's marathon session followed three lengthy days -- and nights -- of negotiations last week that broke off rather bitterly last Thursday.

Stern already has cancelled the season's first two weeks, but no more cancellations have come so far.

If an agreement can be reached this week, it's possible the season could start on or near Thanksgiving Day. The league would need at least three or four weeks for the agreement to be finalized and voted upon by both sides as well as time for free-agent signings, training camp and perhaps two exhibition games.

Meanwhile on Wednesday...

The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that Wolves forward Michael Beasley has countersued his former agent, who filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Beasley in January claiming that he was wrongly terminated just before Beasley signed an endorsement deal with Adidas in 2008.

Beasley claims agent Joel Bell and Beasley's AAU coach violated NCAA rules and federal laws by fostering a relationship with him since he was 14.

You'll find the Post story here.


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NBA players, owners within 'striking distance' of labor deal and 82-game season