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Ken Berger: Lockout situation not so dire after Tuesday meetings

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The initial responses from both sides post-talks on Tuesday seemed like bad news, but king of lockout coverage Ken Berger at CBSSports is providing reasons for optimism:

Despite the intransigence of the owners in their goal of achieving profitability and a level playing field ... despite the players' almost religious zeal for guaranteed contracts and other perks achieved over the years ... and despite formidable external forces that threatened to implode the negotiations ... the NBA and the players association are only about $80 million a year apart on the economics of a new collective bargaining agreement, multiple people with knowledge of the deal told CBSSports.com.

So even though all parties left a Times Square hotel looking grim-faced and feeling disappointed, the two sides in theory have moved so close to a deal that it is almost incomprehensible they would choose hundreds of millions in losses -- or billions from a completely lost season -- instead.

There's reasons for pessimism too, especially if you're one to have figured all-along that nothing really will get done until games (and paychecks) are actually missed.

As it stands now, the conventional-wisdom-set doomsday for missed regular-season games is Sunday. The preseason has already been cancelled, but to me that's just a welcome refund of tickets I didn't really want to use anyway. Silver linings!

Related: Chris Sheridan's take.