Owners and players will meet Sunday

You don't need to be Vegas' sharpest sharp to understand the odds of saving an on-time start to the 2011-12 campaign are lean. Players and owners have an enormous amount of ground to cover even beyond debates over revenue splits to hammer out a new CBA. Plenty of stuff hasn't even been touched. From there, the deal would have to be read and ratified by the players before an abbreviated free agency period and training camp would be held. Meanwhile, Monday (otherwise known as tomorrow) looms as the NBA-imposed deadline to get a deal and avoid canceling the first two weeks of the regular season.

Still, one thing is certain: While the odds may be long, they're a lot longer if the two sides don't actually meet. Heading into the weekend, that looked to be the case. Perhaps realizing they were staring into one of the most absurd public-relations debacles in sports history, both sides are back in a room today. Sources have told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that owners relaxed a demand players agree to a 50/50 split in Basketball Related Income (BRI) as a condition of further talks.

Again, I'd be pretty shocked if something came together fast enough to allow the Lakers and Thunder to take the floor on Nov. 1 as scheduled, but before the bad news at the end of the week, it seemed like there was daylight available to preserve most of the season, or at the very least avoid something catastrophic.

Had Monday come and gone without a meeting, though, envisioning an ugly turn would have been very easy.