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Sunday, November 6, 2011

NBA owners and players resuming labor talks this weekend


National Basketball Association (NBA) owners and players will resume negotiations for a new labor agreement on Saturday amid reports a group of frustrated players want to dissolve their union.

The session in New York City, which will be the first in over a week, comes with the sides far apart in a labor dispute that triggered a lockout on July 1 and forced the NBA to cancel the first month of the regular season.

"I don't know whether it's going to accomplish much, but the only way we can get a deal is by meeting, and that's what we're going to do," players union executive director Billy Hunter told reporters.

About 50 players, including several NBA All-Stars, want to dissolve the National Basketball Players Association, paving the way for players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NBA, according to a report in The New York Times.

That could further jeopardize a 2011-12 season.

The players, who comprise about one-ninth of the league's athletes, do not want the union to continue to make concessions to the owners.

The owners, who claim the NBA lost $300 million last season with 22 of its 30 teams in the red, want the players' share of league revenue -- which was 57 percent under the prior deal -- reduced to a 50-50 split. They also want a firm salary cap and shorter contracts.

The players offered to reduce their share to 52.5 percent.

Union officials have spent most of this week denying a reported rift between union president Derek Fisher and Hunter.

Both men denied a report that Fisher had attempted to make a deal with NBA Commissioner David Stern without the union's knowledge.

National Football League players dissolved their union earlier this year during an 18-week labor dispute with owners but eventually reached a new collective bargaining agreement after courts ruled the owners' lockout of players was legal.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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