NEW YORK David Stern is ready to start a 72-game season on Dec. 15.
Players, however, aren't prepared to make that happen just yet.
If they choose to reject the league's latest ultimatum, they will get a far harsher offer, one that could put the entire NBA season in jeopardy.
The answer should come early next week -- and Stern made it clear: Yes or no, no more negotiating.
"I would not presume to project or predict what the union would do," the NBA commissioner said. "I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule starting on Dec. 15."
The league presented the players' association with the new offer Thursday after nearly 11 hours of bargaining, hoping it would be enough to end the lockout. Stern had previously said the original proposal needed to be accepted by the close of business Wednesday to avoid the less favorable proposal, but had "stopped the clock" while the sides were bargaining.
The clock starts again once the union has ...