Milwaukee Bucks guard Kenyon Dooling, vice president of the NBA Players Association, arrives for talks. (Bebeto Matthews / AP)

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics were among the players expected to meet with the owners’ labor relations committee in New York, with the fate of the Nov. 1 regular-season opener and perhaps the 82-game season at stake.

On Monday, Commissioner David Stern did not rule out simply starting the season later and playing a full 82 games. (Anybody for the Finals over the Fourth of July weekend?)

“As we said to the players, everything is negotiable,” Stern said, via ESPN. But he also said that “we haven't ever discussed this; it would be really great if we could start the season on time.”


Mark Cuban, too. (Bebeto Matthews / AP)

“We’re apart on the split, but we know that the answer lies between where they were are, where we are,” Stern said. “And without defining ours or defining theirs, I think if there’s a will, we’ll be able to deal with both the splits and the system issues.”

Forty-three preseason games, scheduled for Oct. 9-15, and training camps are already casualties of the lockout. Both sides say that, after an agreement is reached, about a month would be needed to prepare for the season.