NBA, union staffers set meeting; formal session may follow

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With time running out for the start of the NBA season to be saved, the labor talks will resume on Wednesday in New York.

According to a source close to the situation, staff members from both sides will convene for a meeting that doesn't qualify as a bargaining session but could be followed by a formal negotiating session on Thursday.

Wednesday's session will not include NBA commissioner David Stern, any owners, National Basketball Players' Association executive director Billy Hunter or union president Derek Fisher. NBPA attorney Ron Klempner and attorneys for the NBA are expected to attend, and it remains unclear whether deputy commissioner Adam Silver will also take part.

While the two sides have made significant progress on the economic front in negotiations, the systematic disagreements remain. Hunter deemed the owners' insistence on a hard salary cap a "blood issue" after talks stalled on Sept. 13 in New York, but after the Board of Governors meeting in Dallas last Thursday, Stern said that everything was negotiable.

As such, one source said a follow-up meeting Thursday involving Stern and Hunter could indicate progress, as the union had made it known that future discussions were only warranted if the owners showed some willingness to budge on that key issue.