NEW YORK — NBA owners and players ended negotiations Wednesday after more than eight hours.
Federal mediator George Cohen said the two sides would resume bargaining Thursday afternoon. Owners had to leave to attend board of governors meetings Wednesday evening through midday Thursday.
"The discussions have been direct and constructive, and as far as we are concerned, we are here to continue to help assist the parties to endeavor to reach an agreement," Cohen said.
The two sides met for more than 24 hours in a 32-hour span.
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Without a deal this week, Commissioner David Stern might have to decide when a next round of cancellations would be necessary. The season was supposed to begin Nov. 1, but all games through Nov. 14, about 100 games, have been scrapped, costing players about $170 million in salaries.
Cohen said players and owners met in a variety of settings during mediation, sometimes in subcommittees, other times in groups as large as 40 people.
Stern left after talks surpassed the seven-hour mark to attend an owners' planning committee meeting at another hotel. He left with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, the chairman of the planning committee, and NBA president of league and basketball operations Joel Litvin. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the league's lead negotiator, and Spurs owner Peter Holt, who heads the labor-relations committee, remained to lead the talks with players.
Stern hoped to bring a deal to his owners during their two days of board meetings; otherwise, he warned more games might be canceled.
It was unclear whether the two sides were closing the divide between them on two main issues, the division of revenues and the structure of the salary-cap system.
Players believe owners' attempts to make the luxury tax more punitive and limit the use of spending exceptions will effectively create a hard salary cap, which they say they will refuse to accept. Also, each side has formally proposed receiving 53 percent of basketball-related income after players were guaranteed 57 percent under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
Talks originally weren't planned Wednesday, the 111th day of the lockout, because owners had previously scheduled meetings. But the labor-relations committee returned about 10 a.m. to resume negotiations with the players' executive committee, just eight hours after the sides wrapped up a marathon 16-hour session with Cohen on Tuesday night.
Owners then postponed the planning committee meeting that was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday so they could keep talking with players.
Unable to make any real headway in recent weeks on the division of revenue and the cap structure, both sides welcomed the presence of Cohen, who also spent 16 days trying to resolve the NFL's labor dispute in February and March.
Their first day together produced a bargaining session that was more than twice as long as any previous one since owners locked out players when the old collective bargaining agreement expired June 30.
At Cohen's request, neither side commented on Tuesday's and Wednesday's talks.