First two weeks of NBA season canceled

Posted: October 11, 2011

NEW YORK - The NBA has officially canceled the first two weeks of the regular-season schedule.

Whatever hope remained, and a sliver did exist, was dashed on Monday night when the NBA and the NBA Players Association ended more than seven hours of bargaining with grim faces and bad news.

No further official talks are scheduled and NBAPA president Derek Fisher said the union was not certain how to proceed.

The NBA issued a news release announcing the cancellation of regular-season games through Nov. 14 within minutes of the meeting's conclusion. All season-ticket holders will receive refunds, plus interest, for canceled games, and buildings are now free to fill canceled dates.

Seven 76ers games were affected: Nov. 2 at Toronto; Nov. 4 vs. Minnesota; Nov. 6 at Orlando; Nov. 9 vs. Houston; Nov. 11 vs. Milwaukee; Nov. 13 at the Los Angeles Clippers; and Nov. 14 at Portland.

Although NBA commissioner David Stern said the two sides "will be communicating," there has been no further bargaining sessions scheduled.

"With every day that goes by, there will be further reductions on what's left of the season," Stern told reporters outside the New York hotel hosting the meeting.

Union president Derek Fisher said: "We're not at a fair place where a deal can be made."

"This is not just about dollars and cents," Fisher said, speaking to reporters after Stern. "It's about the system our players are operating under."

Fisher admitted that, at this point, the union is unsure how to proceed.

Although the main topic in recent meetings was the split of basketball-related income, Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that Sunday and Monday's bargaining sessions solely addressed system issues like the salary cap, rollbacks, guaranteed contracts, and taxes. Specifically, Stern said that the two sides are miles apart on the luxury tax system, which the owners want to resemble a hard cap. The players are adamant against a hard salary cap, or any system resembling a hard cap.

The NBA estimated that two weeks of canceled games would result in $200 million in losses.

Stern said that future proposals from the owners would likely reflect, and incorporate, those losses.

With another work stoppage, the NBA risks alienating a fan base that sent the league's revenues and TV ratings soaring during the 2010-11 season. And the loss of the first two weeks of games will hurt workers with jobs dependent on pro basketball's six-month-plus season. A few teams have already trimmed their staffs, and more layoffs could be forthcoming.

The success of last season, on the court, at the box office and in the headlines, convinced many that the sides would never reach this point.

But small-market owners were hardened after watching LeBron James leave Cleveland for Miami, Amar'e Stoudemire bolt Phoenix for New York, and Carmelo Anthony later use his impending free agency as leverage to secure a trade from Denver to the Knicks. They wanted changes that would allow them to hold onto their superstars and compete for titles with the big-spending teams from Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas who have gobbled up the last four championships.

As the lockout drags on, Stern's legacy as one of sports' best commissioners is weakened. He turned 69 last month, and although he hasn't said when he will retire, he did say this will be his last CBA negotiation after nearly 28 years running the league.

He has insisted all along he wouldn't worry about the damage to his reputation and that his only concern would be getting the deal his owners need.

It's uncertain when that will be.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

 


 


 

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