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Wow, actual talks — union, league staff to meet

Jul 14, 2011, 10:01 PM EST

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA Getty Images

It’s not much. At best it’s a meeting to set up a meeting. But it’s something. And right now we’ll take just about anything as a glimmer of hope.

Staff from the league and the players union will meet Friday, according to Sports Illustrated.

Mid-level staff members from the players’ association and league office are meeting Friday to discuss various housekeeping issues, and to possibly set a date for the next official labor negotiating session between the two sides, sources close to the discussions told SI.com.

This would appear to be the first formal contact between the two sides since the league locked out the players two weeks ago when the last collective bargaining agreement expired…. Sources said the two sides will likely try to pinpoint a future date for the next negotiating session, with an eye on late July or early August.

The main part of the meeting is to confirm the league revenues from last season, which should be high enough that all of the $160 million kept out of players paychecks last season should be returned to them. (It is an escrow account that is part of the old CBA to keep the players at 57 percent of the gross Basketball Related Income. Money was set aside then returned as needed to be at 57 percent.)

Again, a meeting to set up a meeting isn’t thrilling, but it beats nothing. At some point the two sides need to start talking again. But like we said before, until the real pressure builds at the end of August and into September, don’t expect big breakthroughs.

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