Tags: BKN | NBA | Labor

NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

Monday, 10 Oct 2011 11:01 PM

NEW YORK — NBA Commissioner David Stern has canceled the first two weeks of the season after owners and players were unable to reach a new labor deal and end the lockout.

Top negotiators for both sides met for more than seven hours Monday, returning to bargaining about 14 hours after ending talks Sunday night.

Stern says both sides are "very far apart on virtually all issues. ... We just have a gulf that separates us."

Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, owners Peter Holt of San Antonio, Glen Taylor of Minnesota and James Dolan of New York, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube met with union executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and vice president Maurice Evans of the Wizards, and attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner.

Owners locked out the players July 1 when they couldn't reach a deal before the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1.

Facing a deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, the NBA owners and players resumed talks earlier in the day with negotiators for both sides back about 14 hours after ending talks Sunday night.

Owners locked out the players July 1 when they couldn't reach a deal before the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement.

The revenue split has been such a headache that the sides didn't even discuss it Sunday night. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous deal and have proposed going as low as 53 percent, a reduction they say would transfer more than $1 billion to owners over the course of six years.

The league has asked for a 50-50 split, which the union rejected last Tuesday. After that meeting, Stern canceled the remainder of the preseason schedule and set the deadline for losing regular-season games.

The NBA hasn't lost games to a work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.

The cost of cancellations will be staggering. Silver said the league would lose hundreds of millions of dollars, while Hunter estimated players' losses at $350 million for each month they were locked out.

The league and union would probably need close to a month between the time of an agreement and the moment games could be played, leaving time to draft the new labor document and vote on it, have a free agency period, then open training camps and schedule perhaps a couple of preseason game per team.

Neither side would say if there was any progress Sunday, when they focused on cap issues. But the union postponed a regional meeting in Los Angeles so Hunter and Fisher could remain in New York and meet with NBA officials again. They had planned to fly early Monday morning.


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