Ever since the lockout became official on July 1, fans have been grasping for any sort of positive news. There's been so much posturing and double-talk that it's been difficult to pretend that things are going to get better soon. By all indications so far, the loss of a full season seems like a real possibility.
On Wednesday, fans got a glimmer of hope when David Stern and the Players Association met for collective bargaining talks. No specific details have emerged from the sixth-hour meeting. However, that lack of post-meeting media spin can be considered a positive in itself. Here's what Howard Beck of The New York Times reported on Twitter from the scene:
Fisher also said parties agreed to dispense with the rhetoric and public shots at each other. All positive signs, IMHO.
More meetings are scheduled, but parties will not specify when and where.�
Stern and Silver just spoke. Just as cautious as Fisher in assessing progress. But Stern said there is definitely time to make a deal.
Again, there's not much to report here other than that the sides met for six hours and plan on scheduling more sessions. There's no reason to jump for joy. On the other hand, that's a massive improvement over a situation where both sides followed up previous meetings with posturing that the other wasn't arguing in good faith. People seem to be acting like adults now, which is almost a prerequisite for getting a good deal done.
We don't know how far apart the players and owners are on a deal. In all likelihood, some games will be lost this season. Still, they had to start treating each other like worthwhile business partners at some point, and Wednesday may very well have been that moment. The long process has to start at some point, and this meeting seems like as good a time as any.