BOSTON, JUNE 9 -- The negotiating committees for the National Basketball Association's owners and players association announced tonight that no player contracts would be signed between June 17 and Oct. 1, unless agreement on a new labor contract is reached sooner.

As part of the agreement, which was announced by NBA Commissioner David Stern and players association counsel Larry Fleisher, neither party will begin litigation against the other during the moratorium and negotiations will proceed on an accelerated basis.

"The idea of doing this is that we all dedicate ourselves to getting it {a new contract} done," Fleisher said before tonight's championship series Game 4 in Boston Garden.

Stern, who answered questions along with Fleisher, said, "By Oct. 1, either we'll have a good agreement or we won't have any excuse for not having one."

Conditions of the moratorium state that a team may sign its own veteran free agents until June 17, but after that it may not sign any free agents, including its own veterans, or players selected in the June 22 college draft.

"Nobody can sign with anybody," Fleisher said. "There can be trades, but no offer sheets or signings." Both parties said teams can have "discussions" with their own free agents during the moratorium.

Stern said that at least three-fourths of the owners were in favor of the moratorium. And Fleisher said that the players association was overwhelmingly in favor of the measure.

Fleisher said there would be "stringent penalties," which the sides have agreed on, that could include large fines or the loss of draft picks.

"If we didn't intend, hope and even expect an agreement to be reached before Oct. 1, then we'd be causing a fair amount of inconvenience to a lot of people," Stern said. "I expect there will be some unhappy general managers, some unhappy agents and some unhappy players . . .

"We're the only league that hasn't suffered a strike or lockout," Stern continued. "{But} this time, it seems that we are bogged down a bit in saying the same things to each other. We sat down and said, 'What's the best thing we can do to clean the decks . . . freeze things . . . put the pressure on ourselves to come up with an agreement."

The two sides said it is "very unlikely" an arbitrator would have to step in, and they already have scheduled one meeting, for June 18. The players are scheduled to hold their annual meeting beginning June 23 in Monte Carlo, Fleisher said.

Hearing that, Stern laughed and said, "The owners are meeting in Chicago and the players are meeting in Monte Carlo; what does that tell you about the balance of power in this league?"

The NBA's current collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect in April 1983, expires on the day after the final game of the championship series. The salary cap is expected to be the major point of contention in negotiations.

"We recognize that this is a dramatic agreement, but it is the most constructive step we can take at this time to enhance the prospect of reaching an agreement prior to the start of next season," Stern said.