The NBA may become the third league halted by a work stoppage. Owners have scheduled a lockout vote Monday if an agreement with the union isn't reached by then.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday the owners will meet in Chicago to decide whether to trigger the first work stoppage in NBA history. The season is scheduled to begin Nov. 4.
Commissioner David Stern and union head Charles Grantham were unavailable for comment. The sides, however, have been talking in recent days, the AP said.
As with the baseball strike and the NHL lockout, the sticking point is the salary cap, which the NBA adopted in 1983. The league wants to close loopholes in cap rules, while the players are trying to abolish the cap.
Grantham denied one agent's report that a lockout was threatened as early as Monday unless the union agreed to a no-strike, no-lockout pledge and dropped its lawsuits against the NBA.
Another agent, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the sides are nearing an agreement on the pledge and a one-year extension of the agreement that expired last summer.
Heat: The team's official mascot has been charged with misdemeanor battery. Burnie _ played by Wes Lockard _ tried to pull a woman onto the court to dance with him during a game last weekend in San Juan. Yvonne Gil de Rebollo said she was dragged across the floor, bruising her right arm and breaking her purse. Lockard was released on his own recognizance, but must attend a preliminary hearing Nov. 16.
Bullets: The team is still far apart with Juwan Howard, the fifth overall pick in June's draft. The rookie from Michigan is seeking $24-million over six years and Washington is offering $30-million over 10 years. Another stumbling block is first-year money. Howard wants $2.1-million and the Bullets are offering $1.3-million.