Basketball: Search is on for key to end the lock-out

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH THE National Basketball Association season was originally scheduled to begin in north America tonight, the only action taking place this week will be in a law firm boardroom or hotel conference room while owners and players attempt to bring to an end to the lock-out which has lasted 126 days so far and led to the first month of the season being lost.

League and union lawyers were due to meet late last night, with the full negotiating teams due to meet tomorrow.

"This thing is pretty much in David Stern's hands, and I'm not unduly optimistic," said agent Steve Kaufman, a member of the union's agents advisory committee. "To me, there's two windows to get it done. One is right now and you get the season started by 1 December. If it's not done in the next week to 10 days, you're looking at Christmas or New Year for starting the season," Kaufman said.

Among the issues separating owners and players are conduct and discipline issues, salary cap calculations and licensing agreements. The biggest hurdle is an agreement on what percentage of revenues will be devoted to salaries by the time the new system has been in place a few years. The owners want to pay 50 per cent ( backing off from their previous demand for 48) and the players want to receive 60 per cent (a move from 63 per cent).