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NEW YORK ( – While the NFL may be getting closer to ending its nearly 100-day lockout, the NBA is heading towards a lockout faster than LeBron James on a fast break.

For the NBA, a prolonged lockout is the worst thing that could happen. The league stepped into the huge void left by the NFL and proceeded to put together a phenomenal playoff run that ended with record ratings for the NBA Finals that featured the Miami Heat.

NBA owners and players are set to meet again Tuesday to try and gauge whether both sides feel an agreement can be reached before the current deal expires on June 30. It will be the sixth meeting this month to discuss a new CBA.

Both sides believe a deal can get done, but that there may not be enough time to avoid a temporary lockout by the owners.

Owners have agreed to leave contract guarantees as is, but that’s about the only place they agree. Players don’t want to see the current system changed where they get 57 percent of every dollar made by the teams.

Owners want a hard salary cap and a reduction of contract lengths. The second point is a way for owners to protect themselves from themselves if they give an average player a huge contract and the player doesn’t pan out.

Both NBA commissioner David Stern and player’s union president Derek Fisher believe that once the gap between the two sides is closed at least somewhat, a deal can happen quickly.

The NBA will still hold its annual draft on Thursday and continue to hold on to the spotlight for at least one more night. After that, it all rests in the negotiations between both sides and how fast they can reach a deal.

Once a deal is reached, teams like the Miami Heat can immediately pivot towards free agency to fill in the gaps around the Big Three.

The two positions to watch are point guard and center. Expect Miami to make a pitch to Sacramento Kings center Samuel Dalembert to bring a big body to the center position.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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