- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Commissioner David Stern says NBA owners have proposed a “flex cap” system, but players still insist its a hard cap which they won’t agree to.

Both sides made new proposals Tuesday in what Stern had said was an important day in the league’s labor talks, with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire on June 30.

Calling the league’s offer “virtually the best shot we think we have” to avoid a work stoppage, Stern says the owners’ proposal would ensure players’ total compensation would never fall below $2 billion per year in a 10-year contract, just slightly less than the league paid out this season.

The union made what Stern called a “directionally better” proposal than their previous ones and asked for another meeting Friday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) _ NBA owners and players are meeting again in what Commissioner David Stern has called “a very important day in these negotiations.”

With the league’s collective bargaining agreement to expire at the end of the month, Stern is placing added significance on this session after the sides met Friday. He says time is running out but believes both parties are doing the best they can to make a deal before June 30. Without one, owners are expected to lock out the players.

Owners are anticipating a proposal from the players that would address the economic differences that divide them.

The Spurs’ Tony Parker and the Hawks’ Al Horford are among the stars who joined the union’s executive committee for Tuesday’s talks.

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