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NBA and players meet for first time since lockout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - National Basketball Association (NBA) officials and players' representatives met on Monday for the first time since the league declared a lockout but there was no sign of any major progress in their labor dispute.

The nearly three-hour meeting in New York came precisely one month after the lockout began July 1, with owners calling for an overhaul in pay structure, saying that 22 of the 30 NBA teams lost money last season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern looked grim when he left the meeting.

Asked if he believed the union was negotiating in good faith, the commissioner told reporters, "I would say not."

Asked about his outlook on being able to resolve the dispute over how to split some $4.3 billion in total revenues, Stern said: "I'm not optimistic."

Before Stern spoke, union president Derek Fisher, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters there were no new proposals but he believed there could be future sessions between the sides in August.

"We still realize we're very far apart," Fisher said. "But without meeting ... there wouldn't be any progress at all."

The National Football League (NFL) recently ended its lockout after reaching an agreement with the Players Association on a new collective bargaining pact.

In the NFL's case, hardship was not the case as the most popular U.S. professional team sport was generating more than $9 billion in annual revenues.

A more drastic restructuring is sought by NBA owners, leading to concerns that an entire season could be lost such as happened with the National Hockey League in 2004-5.

The NBA season was scheduled to begin on Nov 1.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Julian Linden)

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