8:59pm: Both sides remain confident that a deal can be reached, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN. Licensing and the use of player likenesses has become an important issue as the deadline approaches (Twitter link).
5:11pm: With the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement less than a week away, Carmelo Anthony is throwing cold water on the optimism that has been surrounding negotiations, relays ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
“I’m skeptical of something getting done,” Anthony, who serves as vice president of the players association. “Do I think something could happen by the 15th? Yeah I think something could happen. But I think this kind of put a dent in conversations. We had something so close. We were supposed to have a deal done weeks ago, and for this to happen at the 25th hour is tough.”
Anthony refused to explain what happened to derail the agreement, but emphasized that “as players, we want to get a deal done.” He added that it would take “a miracle” to get a new deal finalized before Thursday’s deadline (Twitter link).
Negotiators have been trying to hammer out an agreement in advance of December 15th, which is the final date either side can opt out of the current CBA. Reports on the talks have been universally positive, and some observers had expected an agreement to be announced this week.
Anthony’s pessimism doesn’t mean hopes for a new deal are dead. The owners and players could simply agree to extend the deadline, tweets Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. TNT analyst David Aldridge reports that the sides are still talking, at least through Friday night (Twitter link). A league source on Friday was still optimistic that an agreement would be reached, even if an extension were necessary, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).