Report: If no deal by end of Friday, things could get really ugly

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NBA owners and players are back at it, more than four hours into a Thursday meeting (as of this writing) following a 12-hour session on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the deadline day of David Stern’s “reset” offer — one that would almost certainly kill the season if the owners really stuck with it — but he said after the talks ended Wednesday that due to progress “we’ve stopped the clock

It may start again Friday, reports the USA Today.

Progress must continue to be made Thursday so that the sides can end by saying they are confident of being able to bring an offer to the respective memberships — owners and players — by close of business Friday, said a person familiar with negotiations who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to go public.

If that does not happen, Stern will announce the owners’ offer has dropped to the 53-47 split and a hard salary cap — and that likely would trigger a domino effect that could end any chance for a season.

Some players and agents are sitting on the sideline right now with the signatures to start the process to decertify the union. If Stern goes to his reset offer, the players will start to try to decertify.

Through all that, the players will do their best JFK impression and ignore Stern’s new offer and deadline and keep negotiating. We’ll see then how the owners react to that.

But it comes down to this — if there is not a handshake deal by the end of business Friday things are going to get very ugly. Much worse than they have been. And they haven’t been good.