(Reuters) - Marathon talks between NBA players and owners to resolve a long-running labor dispute that has put the entire season on hold broke off on Thursday with little sign of progress toward a deal, raising the likelihood of more games being canceled.
The two sides met for five hours on the third straight day of talks with federal mediator George Cohen but emerged without a breakthrough, nor any schedule to re-convene.
"Ultimately, we were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver told NBA TV. "We understand the ramifications of where we are. We're saddened on behalf of the game."
NBA Commissioner David Stern was unable to attend Thursday's meeting with the flu, but the outstanding differences between the parties will likely see him scrap more games.
The pre-season and the first two weeks of the regular season had already been canceled due to the protracted lockout that began on July 1 after the players and owners failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
The delayed season's start was re-set for November 1 but that now appears optimistic as the dispute drags on.
NBA owners contend the league lost $300 million last season with 22 of 30 teams in the red and initially demanded players cut their share of basketball-related income from 57 to 47 percent from the previous collective bargaining agreement, along with a firm salary cap and shorter contracts.
The players offered to reduce their share from 57 to 53 percent, and lowered that to 52.5 percent on Thursday.
The owners have formally proposed a 50-50 split but the players union rejected the offer and both sides remain divided on the core issues.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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