Hunter had long said he was nearly certain of the league's first work stoppage since 1998, but now says he sees signs owners are interested in making a deal.
But both sides caution they aren't close to one yet. Asked if they were 100 miles apart going into Tuesday how far they were now, Hunter said, "What, 99?"
Though the league's newest proposal would mean an 8 percent pay cut in the first year, owners have moved from their initial proposal that players rejected in February 2010. Stern said there have now been 10 proposals exchanged between the sides and the players could offer another Friday.
They still must sort through the differences in the cap, with Stern saying the sides have a "different characterization" of what the league proposed.
The players' executive committee was joined by stars such as Tony Parker of the Spurs and Atlanta's Al Horford. Fisher said all the players have expressed their willingness to be flexible but "there are certain parts of it we have no interest in moving on and right now that's where we stand."
RAPTORS HIRE NEW COACH: Dwane Casey is the new coach of the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors introduced the Dallas assistant at a news conference Tuesday, nine days after he helped the Mavericks win the NBA title. Casey succeeds Jay Triano, who was shuffled into the role of a consultant after the season. The Raptors were 22-60 last season, and have the fifth overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Casey was the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from June 2005 to January 2007, compiling a 43-59 record.
WARRIORS PRESIDENT STEPPING DOWN: Golden State Warriors President Robert Rowell is resigning his position as the club's top executive for business operations. Warriors owner Joe Lacob announced Tuesday that Rowell was leaving to pursue other business endeavors. Rowell will assist Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber in the transition. Rowell spent 16 seasons with the Warriors, including the past eight as president. The club has had success filling Oracle Arena during that time but has only made the playoffs once during his tenure.
DIRK MAY PLAY FOR GERMANY: Dirk Nowitzki is considering joining the German national team this summer to help their chances of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Nowitzki told ESPN 103.3 FM on Tuesday that he would decide within a few weeks. Germany must finish among the top six of the 24 teams at the EuroBasket tournament to be eligible to qualify for the next Olympics. Nowitzki hasn't played for Germany since the 2008 Olympics, an experience he's called among the highlights of his career. He said he's told German officials he'd help the next generation get to the Olympics. However, the Mavs' extended run and ensuing celebrations have left the NBA finals MVP in need of some down time.
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