Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NBA cancels first two weeks of regular season

NEW YORK – The NBA canceled the first two weeks of its 2011-12 season after failing to reach a new labor agreement with its players. “We remain very, very apart on all issues,” Stern said after league representatives met with Players Association officials for... about seven hours on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to save the Nov. 1 scheduled start of the season. Stern said the cancellations guarantee the league will have a shortened season for the first time since the 1998-99 season when another owner-imposed lockout limited NBA teams to playing just 50 games. The cancellations include all games scheduled through Nov. 14.“With every day that goes by, there will be further reductions on what’s left of the season,” Stern said.

Despite the negotiating focus on system issues over the past 48 hours, resolving the BRI split between the owners and players remains at the heart of that gulf. The players continue to hold out for a 53 percent share of BRI, down from 57 percent in the previous labor agreement. The owners last week unexpectedly proposed a 50-50 split, but Stern said after Monday's breakdown in talks that the league has reverted to its previous position of offering the players just 47 percent of BRI in a new deal. Union officials, though, contend that they have been preparing for this dour day for a long time, convinced for months that a lockout that shortened the season similar to 1998-99's work stoppage was inevitable. "I think it goes back to a comment that David made to me several years ago when he said, 'Look, this is what my owners have to have,' " Hunter recounted. "And I said, 'The only way you're going to get that is if you're prepared to lock us out for a year or two,' and (this) indicated to me that they're willing to do it.

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