NEW YORK (AP) _ Another day of talks Wednesday between the NBA and the Minnesota Timberwolves failed to produce a settlement on the penalties Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale will pay for signing Joe Smith to an illegal secret contract.

The Timberwolves and the league have been discussing a settlement that would include the return of at least one of the five first-round draft picks that were taken away in October by commissioner David Stern in one of the harshest penalties he has ever assessed.

Taylor said Tuesday night that a settlement was near and he would accept a suspension that would last until September. But by the close of business Wednesday evening, the sides had not finalized it.

As part of the settlement, McHale would take a leave of absence until August, while coach and general manager Flip Saunders would not be penalized, Taylor said.

Stern levied the initial punishment, which includes a $3.5 million fine, for the team's violating the salary cap in 1999 by signing Smith to a series of secret contracts that beginning with next season would pay him $86 million over seven years.

The commissioner also voided Smith's existing contract with the Timberwolves. He then signed a one-year contract with Detroit, where he is averaging 10.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Taylor, McHale and other team officials could face suspensions of up to one year if an arbitartor finds they had knowledge of the secret agreement.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Dec. 12-13 before arbitrator Kenneth Dam.