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NBA, union can't agree on Monday labor meeting


Representatives of the NBA and the players' association will not meet before Monday, a source briefed on the talks confirmed to

With NBA commissioner David Stern setting Monday as a deadline to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement before the league cancels the first two weeks of the regular season, the decision effectively ensures that the NBA will cancel regular-season games for the first time since 1998.

According to the source, talks broke down when the NBA informed union representatives that they would not meet unless the players agreed to a 50-50 split of all basketball-related income.

"We told the union today that we were willing to meet as early as Sunday," said NBA spokesman Tim Frank. "We also advised them that we were unwilling to move above the 50-50 split of revenues that was discussed between the parties on Tuesday but that we wanted to meet with them to discuss the many remaining open issues. The union declined." first reported the news of Monday's meeting.

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Players were guaranteed 57 percent of BRI under the old agreement and they proposed dropping it to 53 percent in a new deal. The league informally proposed a 50-50 split with players during Tuesday's meeting in New York, but talks ended soon after the NBPA rejected it.

In a letter to all players Wednesday morning, union president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter wrote that the league's 50-50 proposal was simply unreasonable.

"Reducing our share of BRI by seven points to 50 percent -- a level we have not received since the early 1990s -- is simply not a fair split," they wrote. "We refused to back down. As we have done since the beginning, we again indicated a willingness to compromise, and asked the owners to do the same. They refused."

Players have received at least a 53 percent cut for the last 28 years, and with each BRI percentage point worth nearly $40 million, the sides stand roughly $120 million apart on the issue.

Though Monday's negotiating session with league officials is in dispute, players plan to meet Saturday in Miami, where many of the league's biggest names will compete in a charity game at FIU, as well as Monday in Los Angeles.

Said one NBA veteran: "This just became an absolute mess."