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No financial compromise is in sight for labor talks

NEW YORK -- Anyone who has been to a car dealership, or bought a home, understands how negotiating works.

One side offers a number, the other counters, and they meet somewhere in the middle and make a deal.

That's not the way it's working in the NBA's labor standoff -- even with potentially $2 billion at stake for each side.

Owners and players keep insisting they are ready and willing to make the necessary financial step for an agreement. Yet talks have broken down each of the last two weeks with little movement and the same type of answer: "We're here, they're there, and that's that."

That won't get players back on the court or fans in the seats.

And with both sides so entrenched, it might be a question of when, not if, another round of cancellations will be necessary.

"I don't know," Commissioner David Stern said Friday when asked about the next deadline. "We just had a difficult day. We'll go back, we'll go to the office Monday and see what to do about this big mess."

They could start with a phone call to the players' association to schedule more talks, and the sides likely will meet again soon. But it will remain pointless if neither side is prepared to offer compromise.

Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. Players have proposed reducing their guarantee from 57 percent down to 52.5, saying that will transfer more than $1.5 billion to owners over six years.

And when neither side would go further Friday, NBA officials said union executive director Billy Hunter ended the session.

"Billy said, 'My phone is ringing off the hook from agents and players telling me I cannot go under 52 percent,' and he said unless you're willing to go there, we have nothing to talk about," Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.

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