NEW YORK -- In-house staff of the NBA and National Basketball Players Association will hold their first meeting Friday since the league imposed a lockout July 1, a person with knowledge of the plans told CBSSports.com.
The session will not include commissioner David Stern, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, owners or players. The purpose of the session is to "get back on track" and address the timetable of future bargaining sessions, the person said.
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Until now, there had been no contact or formal negotiation of any kind since the previous collective bargaining agreement expired July 1 and the league locked out the players.
While the meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon in Manhattan is not overly significant, it could lay the groundwork for the two sides to resume bargaining in an effort to avoid losing regular season games to a work stoppage for the second time in NBA history and the first time since the 1998-99 lockout, which resulted in a shortened, 50-game schedule.
Word of the planning session came as the league laid off 114 employees from its New York, New Jersey and international offices this week in what it described as an ongoing cost-cutting effort aimed at shedding $50 million in expenses. The layoffs represented 11 percent of the league workforce and were felt across multiple divisions. The NBA also closed its offices in Tokyo and Paris.
The job reductions were "not a direct result of the lockout but rather a response to the same underlying issue — that is, the league’s expenses far outpace our revenues,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement released to media outlets inquiring about the layoffs.