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Wait for it, wait for it…

Yep, it’s another riveting NBA lockout update, brought to you by… really, at this point, who cares.

What we do care about is a deal getting completed (sooner rather than later) and the belated start of the ’11-12 NBA season.

In predictable fashion, the NBA and NBPA followed up Stern’s ultimatum (and Wednesday at 5pm deadline) with a flurry of meetings that ultimately produced much of the same rhetoric:

Blah, blah, blah.

That about covers it.

When the dust settled, the players had a revised proposal in their hands from the NBA, along with an assurance from Stern that this would be their “best and final” offer (not that we haven’t heard that before).

“There’s really nothing left to negotiate about. This is best attempt by NBA to address concerns the players expressed. ”

Derek Fisher and the NBPA chose to end negotiations last night (Thursday) in favor of taking a closer look at the NBA’s proposal, something he is scheduled to do with the 30 player reps early next week. While this may appear to be an optimistic step, Fisher expressed quite the opposite:

“It [the NBA’s latest offer] does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out.”

To summarize the obstacles still remaining…

The players have conditionally conceded a 50/50 split in BRI (basketball related income), but only if the NBA is willing to relax their proposed restrictions on system-related issues. While there are close to 30 such issues that still exist, the major sticking points are surrounding the limits placed on high-spending teams (like the Lakers) and the mid-level exception.

Despite the players’ compromise on the BRI, the NBA has been unwilling to make similar agreements on those very system issues, as boldly stated by NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver:

“We recognize that in order to have the kind of competitive balance we want, it restricts player movement to a certain degree. I understand from the union’s standpoint, it’s a difficult pill to swallow right now but once again, we will be proven right and this will be a better league for the players, the teams and the fans.”

Derek Fisher and the NBPA are scheduled to make an official statement regarding the NBA’s latest proposal on Tuesday. If the proposal is accepted (the unlikely outcome), a 72-game NBA season would begin on December 15th. If the proposal is rejected (the likely outcome), well…

I guess this won’t be the last time I copy and paste this column.