by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

There’s a rather crucial labor meeting taking place on Friday in New York City. Most of the NBA big shots from both sides of the argument will be there, and according to David Stern, it could be a make-or-break moment for the 2011-’12 season.

Now, of course, this might just be a scare tactic on Stern’s end to make the players cave and quickly agree to a less than favorable deal, but who knows?

Despite increased talks and a greater (inevitable) sense of urgency, neither party sounds like they’re ready to reach an agreement.

From the NY Times :

About two dozen owners and players are expected in Manhattan on Friday for a bargaining meeting that will set the course for the next several months. If they make progress, there will be more talks on Saturday and Sunday. If the weekend ends without at least the framework of a deal, regular-season games will almost certainly be lost. “There are enormous consequences at play here on the basis of the weekend,” Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday after a four-hour meeting among the lead negotiators for both sides.

For the first time, Stern also hinted publicly at a threat that he has, until now, only made privately to the players union: that owners will cancel the season rather than continue under the current system. Referring to this weekend’s talks, Stern said: “It won’t be a question of just starting the season on time; it will be a lot at risk from the absence of progress.” He said the parties would be working to determine “whether they can either have a season or not have a season.”

We’ll have to wait and see what — if anything — the weekend’s meetings will produce.

Should both sides fail to make progress, the time for idle threats may come to an abrupt, painful end for all concerned.