Stern fears loss of entire NBA season

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:39 AM ET

NEW YORK - NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday that if significant progress towards a labor agreement isn't reached early next week -- when owners and players are scheduled to meet with a federal mediator -- the entire 2011-12 NBA season could be lost.

"Each side is going to meet with the mediator on Monday and if there is a breakthrough it is going to come on Tuesday," Stern said in an interview with NBA TV. "If not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us."

The two sides met this past Monday, but no progress was made and Stern canceled the first two weeks of the regular season, the first time the NBA has canceled games since the 1998-99 stoppage that saw just a 50-game regular season.

"How many times does it pay to keep meeting and have the same things thrown back at you?" Stern said Thursday. "We're ready to sit down and make a deal. I don't believe that the union is. Hopefully by Tuesday, aided by the mediator, they'll be ready to make a deal and certainly I'll bring my owners ready to make a deal."

One of the major issues in the lockout has been the split of basketball- related income. The owners want players to agree to a 47 percent share, while the players apparently aren't willing to go below 53 percent.

The structure of the league's economic system, though, is apparently what's largely to blame for the labor strife; such as a hard salary cap, which the owners have apparently softened their stance on.

The NBA lockout began July 1 after the most recent labor deal between the sides expired.

Unlike the labor issues that caused the NFL lockout -- which long appeared to be solvable -- the problems facing the NBA have led observers to warn about a prolonged dispute similar to the one that led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season.


Videos

Photos