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LABOR TALKS DELAY ASSURES LATE NBA START

The first delay ever to the start of the NBA season was virtually assured today when the league announced labor talks will not resume until Oct. 8.

NBA spokesman Chris Brienza confirmed the decision today, two days after commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Russ Granik, union director Billy Hunter and union president Patrick Ewing met for one hour.

The league wanted to meet for a formal bargaining session as soon as Thursday, but the union said nothing could be scheduled until Oct. 8 because of previous commitments, Granik said.

"I was bowled over to hear that we can't meet for nine days while Rome is burning," Granik told the Philadelphia Daily News.

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