The three-and-one-half-hour bargaining session between the players and league on Thursday surprisingly included the direct participation of the NBA's biggest stars.
"I think it’s important for all of us, as the faces of the NBA, to be involved in the negotiations and what’s going on," said Carmelo Anthony, one of the All-Stars who could most immediately be affected by a new collective bargaining agreement. Anthony can become a free agent next summer.
"Our future’s in jeopardy if we can’t come to a mutual agreement," Anthony said.
According to sources in attendance, the tone of the discussions was not as rancorous as in the previous meeting. The owners did not threaten a lockout as frequently.
At one point, David Stern proclaimed that "there’s a gulf, not a gap" between the players' and owners' respective positions.
The two sides vowed to meet again before training camp opens.