Sources: Players meeting set for Friday

Union president Billy Hunter will meet with NBA players Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

After more than 12 hours of negotiations with the NBA Sunday and Monday proved fruitless, Hunter wants to begin meeting face-to-face with groups of players to explain the details of where the league and the union stand.

Hunter had planned to meet with players in Los Angeles on Monday, but postponed that trip in a last-ditch effort to find compromise with commissioner David Stern.

Hunter's last regional meeting for players was held in Las Vegas, where roughly 40 players turned out.

Despite attempts by prominent agents to promote decertification of the union and the hardships that lost games could create for some players, Hunter has been successful thus far in keeping the league's 400-plus players unified.

Stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have supported the union by attending recent meetings with the owners. The union's executive committee is made up mostly of mid-level players.

Not one player has yet to go public with criticisms of Hunter or the union.

The union's disagreements over system issues with the league stem largely from its commitment to the middle-class players, sources say. Believing that any system resembling a hard cap would virtually eliminate the middle-class, Hunter and the union have fought hard against the owners' proposals for a punitive luxury tax, which they believe is akin to a hard cap.

Chris Broussard is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine.