The two sides have only a few weeks to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement before training camps are set to open.
If you want a positive sign that negotiators for the NBA players and owners are getting serious about producing a new collective bargaining agreement, look no further than the back-to-back bargaining sessions the two sides are holding.
They met for 5½ hours Wednesday and, according to the Associated Press, returned to negotiations Thursday. And there's word that there might even be more sessions scheduled Friday.
That’s real progress for the players and owners, who have only met twice since the NBA lockout began July 1 prior to Wednesday's meeting.
Neither side is willing to discuss how much or how little progress is being made during these sessions, but the fact that they are actively holding sessions and meeting on consecutive days is a sign that progress is being made.
Throughout much of the summer, the main concern was that not only would games be missed this upcoming season, but that the entire 2011-12 campaign could be wiped out because of the insurmountable divide between players and owners.
The owners want the players to accept a significantly less take in the revenue-sharing, perhaps as little as 42 percent. They would also like to see a more restrictive salary cap put in place, as the NFL looks to rescue as many as 22 franchises that are "in the red."
The players, meanwhile, seem willing to make concessions, but to pay reductions not nearly as drastic as those that the owners are requesting.
Both sides may be softening, however, as the start of training camps looms three weeks from now. In the past, the owners and commissioner David Stern have seemed to be willing to scrap the 2011-12 season if it would help ease the NFL's financial issues.
(Photo: AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)