Buckle your seat belts because the roller coaster is soaring back up. Owners and NBPA representatives have been meeting in New York City since 12 PM EDT today and are still meeting as of 1 AM EDT. Several NBA reporters have tweeted encouraging reports, including this one from Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:

@ChrisMannixSI: One source briefed on the talks Wednesday said agreement by the end of the week "very possible." "Lot of real progress tonight," source said.

Talks today have focused on system issues, including salary cap and luxury tax, with the implication that the basketball-related income split will follow once those are resolved. Union chief Billy Hunter didn't explicitly reject the concept of a 50-50 BRI split when talks broke off last week, as long as some of the other issues were agreeable to the players. And the owners have publicly offered the 50-50 split, so a deal isn't so far away. According to the New York Times' Howard Beck (his full story can be found here):

@HowardBeckNYT: When talks broke last week, union said they needed to know what system was before they'd even entertain 50-50.

All sounds promising, yes? It does, except that we've been here before in the last few weeks. The sides will likely meet again Thursday, after I'd assume they sleep in after what must have been an exhausting day today. And, maybe again Friday. Talks could come crashing down at any point and leave us as frustrated as we were the last time, and the time before that.

Keep the seat belt buckled and try not to let the roller coaster make you nauseous. Hopefully it'll be over soon, and we can get some cotton candy and deep-fried Twinkies.

After an unsuccessful round of bargaining with a mediator last week, the NBA owners and players union are set to return to the bargaining table on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press...

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Last month I discussed Ian Levy’s findings on which coaches are most effective at doling out minutes, in which Alvin Gentry was ranked¬†the sixth-most effective coach¬†of the 45...

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The SB Nation iPhone app v1.1  is now available in the App Store!  SB Nation listened to your feedback and suggestions and heard you loud and clear.  

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It's over. Just accept it. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The parameters of the next CBA are clear. It's a done deal. At some point in the next 12 months, the lockout will end and the NBA will resume play under a new system, the parameters of which are as clear as day.

The next CBA will contain a 90%-pure 50/50 BRI split, a more-punitive luxury tax schedule, and various other restrictions that heavily discourage $100 million spenders from bringing in $10 million more in new players every offseason.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. The sooner the players accept this, the sooner basketball will be back on our schedule.

It doesn't matter that this deal is so much worse than the last one for the players. I repeat: it doesn't matter. As long as the league is still offering a reasonable share to the players (there are anti-trust and fair labor practice laws in place, after all), the feds won't stop it.

Yes, the owners are greedy asshats who want to have their cake and eat it too. Yes, the players are making all the concessions and getting screwed relative to their prior deal. And yes, we're all sick of the blame game.

But ultimately, the players have no leverage. The owners know this. Federal mediator George Cohen knows this. Union guy Billy Hunter knows this. Derek Fisher knows this. They're not happy about it, but the owners are right that they can hold out longer than the players.

The players' best bet now is to limit further damage. Agree to 50/50 and punitive tax, but work to keep the exceptions in place for teams who want to spend anyway.

When the ink is dry on the paper, the players will still be the highest-paid pro athletes in the world. And the team of owners will still be littered with idiots who run their teams into the ground.

And the fans will return. You know it. I know it. The squeak of rubber soles on hardwood, the bounce of the basketball, the outrageous acrimony over of LeBron James and the lovefest with Blake Griffin will all continue. 

The only remaining question is when.

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