NBA owners and players will meet Friday and perhaps through the weekend, with Commissioner David Stern warning there are "enormous consequences at play" as the sides try to preserve an on-time start to the season.
Talks ended after two days Wednesday so negotiators could return home before summoning their respective bargaining committees to New York for the most important stretch of the lockout. They are prepared to meet through the weekend if progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement is being made.
"I think it points more toward the calendar than actually being able to measure progress," said players' association president Derek Fisher of the Lakers.
"It points to the realities that we face with our calendar and that if we can't find a way to get some common ground really, really soon, then the time of starting the regular season at its scheduled date is going to be in jeopardy big-time."
With the Nov. 1 season opener a little more than a month away, Stern said there would be "a lot of risk" to not having an agreement by the end of this week. But both sides said there hasn't been enough progress to put them on the verge of a deal.
Training camps have already been postponed and 43 games scheduled for the first week of the preseason have been cancelled.
The league has said it will make decisions about the remainder of exhibition play as warranted, but the real games are what's at stake this weekend.
And maybe not just the ones at the start of the season.
"All I'd say to that is that there are enormous consequences at play here on the basis of the weekend," Stern said. "Either we'll make very good progress, and we know what that would mean — we know how good that would be, without putting dates to it — or we won't make any progress and then it won't be a question of just starting the season on time, there will be a lot at risk because of the absence of progress."
Fisher said the players' executive committee could be joined by other star players who would be invited if their schedules allowed. The owners' labour relations committee consists of 11 members, but Fisher said there could be about 15 owners present.
"I can't say that common ground is evident, but our desire to try to get there I think is there," Fisher said. "We still have a great deal of issues to work through, so there won't be any magic that will happen this weekend to just make those things go away, but we have to put the time in."