by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

NBA players are holding regional meetings with the union to discuss the lockout, and will maybe even meet with owners in a rare bargaining session next week.

But none of that should fool you into believing that any sort of progress is being made in this labor battle.

If anything, the divide between both parties is only growing wider and nastier.

Players union vice president Maurice Evans accuses NBA commissioner David Stern of lying about the facts — including his salary — in a recent podcast, and claims that offers being made by the owners are “pathetic.”

Evans, much like LaMarcus Aldridge, says that players are willing to sit out for as long as it takes to get a fair deal.

From SI:

The owners’ proposal, Evans made clear, will simply never be accepted even if its means losing “this season and more.” … “The deal we’ve been offered would so drastically alter the game as we know it today. The offers have been so pathetic that it’s hard to even talk about it when we’re informing the guys. We’re $7.6 billion apart [over the life of the proposed deal]. Again, when you realize all the components that they’re trying to take away, and trying to take out of the [collective bargaining agreement] that’s already in effect — the guaranteed contracts, grandfathering in [contracts], the [salary-cap] exceptions, Larry Bird [rights]. You and I have already talked about this many times, but [players] are really starting to get it and they’re willing to sit out for as long as necessary to get us a fair deal.”

“The last [players'] offer was [a giveback of] $630 million over a six-year period. That’s over a $100 million a year and they told us that it was pathetic. …If they think that’s what this negotiation is about, then they’re miscalculating. Again, even with the 57 percent of BRI — when you total out the total revenue, we receive 50 percent [in the old system]. We allow them to deduct expenses and deduct things, so when they overpay coaches and fire them and then they have three coaches on payroll that, in effect, goes into BRI. We’ve never told them that they could take that out, even though it’s one of the highest expenses. We don’t want anyone to take a loss, not even the owners. But they seem to be hellbent on contracting [teams] and, as David Stern said, have a huge reset [of the entire system]. If we’re going to reset … then they’re going to have to reset the entire league. And even they’re going to have to take a reset. We’re unified with the agents. We’re getting them back on track, getting the players back on track, so now we just need to get the owners back on track.”

I strongly encourage you to read the entire Q&A with Mo Evans. It’s a detailed, fascinating look at the players’ side of the argument.

Just don’t get your hopes up about a resolution to the impasse anytime soon.