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NBA will cancel first games next week after talks see little progress

Oct 4, 2011, 6:21 PM EDT

Padlock Arena AP AP

Tuesday was billed as they most crucial day of NBA labor talks, but the results after four hours looked exactly like every other meeting over the past several weeks:

There was incremental progress, but the two sides remain an ocean apart. And in that ocean could be a sinking NBA season that will see regular season games cancelled next week.

After Tuesday there are no more meetings scheduled both NBA league officials and union leaders said. No more meetings this week when the calendar demands it, and union executive director Billy Hunter said it could be a month before the two sides do sit down.

Both sides said the rest of the preseason has been cancelled. Commissioner David Stern said that come next Monday the league will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. As the two sides are not meeting before then, the first two weeks are toast.

Usually once regular season games are missed, both sides tend to harden their positions for a while before coming back to the table. David Stern said, “We have a reset here.”

Folks, settle in and make yourselves comfortable. We’re going to be at this a while.

Here is what NBA union president Derek Fisher said, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski on twitter:

Fisher: “today was not the day to get this done. Not able to get close enough to close the gap.”

Fisher: “we find ourselves where we expected to be: a lockout that may jeopardize a part, or our whole season…”

The big issue remains the split of “basketball related income” (BRI), which is basically all the money that comes into the league through tickets, television and other sources (like a percentage of arena sponsorship).

In the last labor deal the players got 57 percent and Fisher said the union offered to go down to 53 percent, which works out to more than $1 billion reduction over six years, but were told that is not enough. Fisher said the owners’ latest offer was 47 percent, something Stern confirmed. Each percentage point works out to about $40 million a year, which leaves the two sides $240 million apart in the first year of the deal alone.

Stern said that he asked if a 50/50 split of BRI (under the old definition of BRI) would be acceptable to the players, but while he was polling his owners the players said no. That’s some spin by Stern there — we don’t know that the owners would have been okay with it, and a 50/50 split means the players give up 7 percent from their starting point and the owners just 4 percent.

Stern said that the cancellation of the preseason means a $200 million loss for owners and they would have to factor that in. (The reason the NFL labor deal got done in time for the preseason is those owners lost $200 million a week without preseason games, it’s a cash cow for them and they didn’t want to miss out, while NBA owners still take a hard line.) Stern said that is an economic hit for the owners.

Fisher stood at the podium flanked by stars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Once again, the union was trying to look unified. If it really is or not remains to be seen.

Hunter also said union leadership would have to take another look at decertification of the union (the breaking up of the union, a tactic used by the NFL union). For the NBA players association, that has always been the plan of last resort. That they are discussing it shows where things stand.

There was no serious hope for NBA fans out of today’s meetings. In the middle of the day there was some buzz of hope after Metta World Peace — the artist formerly known as Ron Artesttweeted that the lockout was over. Even though he was not in New York. He then said he was joking and he was filming a shoe commercial and getting to put that jersey on. It was all very Artest. And not that funny. Not to fans, not to the thousands of arena employees and others around the nation about to start missing paychecks that mean more to them feeding their families than the massive ones NBA players get.

  1. danielcp0303 - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    The 50/50 talk is misleading. What he’s really talking about is taking a lot of money off the top, then splitting the rest. So essentially the players would still only be getting about 47 percent.

  2. namriverrat69 - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    The longer they out there will be more NHL hockey game broadcasts to watch. It beats watching a bunch of men rubbing up against each other for the whole game.

  3. braddavery - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    This is what happens when stupid people become greedy. Let the season burn. The owners and the players don’t deserve our money.

  4. denverdude7 - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Thank You David Stern and the NBA Players Association !!!!

    Please keep up the good work. You have no idea how nice it is that we don’t have to watch NBA highlights while waiting for baseball and football highlights. With any luck, maybe you nimrods will be stupid enough to not only cancel this season but the next four or five as well.

  5. jimeejohnson - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    There’s quality basketball worldwide nowadays, but there is nothing like the NBA.

  6. jbraxton3rd - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Poor little rich boys. Hope they’re not looking for some sympathy..

  7. jollyjoker2 - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    There must be a lot of tv money because 36 home games at assuming $100 dollars per fan per game on a 10 000 per game fan base average —-doesn’t exactly add up to a ton of money (50-50 basis) if they are gonna give some guy 18Million per year. 1 player like lebron or kobe could eat that whole pie up leaving the rest of the team to be paid …..

  8. 2stepsaway - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    So as the owners lose $ on the preseason games, the players will be expected to take even less than the 50/50 split to help cover cost? Be ready for higher prices for that not reallu made for comsumption pizza at the consessiom stands…. $240M worth…

  9. velascochad - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    how about 45/45 for the owners and players and 10 you give em back to us fans? there is no nba without owners, players and fans. LOL haha

  10. silverdeer - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    I hope they blow off the season. Then they can feel the wrath of the fans when they try to come back or should I say the lack of fans. I say start now. I have already cancelled my season tickets and will guarantee that I will not be buying any NBA apparel this year.

  11. florida727 - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    I don’t think Stern and the owners realize that the real fans, you know, NOT the ones mugging for pictures sitting in their thousand dollar seats courtside, but the REAL fans, the ones sitting in the rafters wearing their team gear are getting a little p*ssed off that in today’s economy all the millionaire crybabies can’t figure out how to split BILLIONS of dollars, while they’re struggling to be able to afford to go to games and support their favorite team/players.

    Professional sports is being ruined by the almighty dollar… and that won’t change anytime soon until enough fans say enough-is-enough and quit supporting the outrageous cost we incur for simply being a “fan”. Pro basketball is nothing more than a one-on-one exhibition most of the time. If I want to watch a true team sport, I’d rather watch the college game. Less predictable. 99 times out of 100 for an NBA game just put 100 point up for each team and 2 minutes on the clock. That’s what most games come down to anyway.

  12. fouldwimmerlaik - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Please, please, please, cancel the season. Let the over-entitled, arrogant players go without their ridiculous paychecks and get a dose of reality. See how long their possees stick around if they aren’t getting paid. Cancel the whole season…..NOW!

  13. kscogg - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    please please please please cancel the season. better yet, cancel the following season too! basketball blows. always gets in the of real sports highlights.

  14. neeciekay - Oct 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    WoW! Are you people as jealous and hateful as you sound on here?? “Men rubbing up against each other”, what’s the damned diff in the men in the NFL slapping and rubbing on each others butts week to week? If you all didn’t care about the lockout being over, you wouldn’t even be on here. I agree that both sides need to come to a mutual agreement, and fast. But, to call them “crybaby millionaires” is wrong! Just because they cultivated their God given talents and make waaay more money than the average joe, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to be treated fairly by their employers. Come on people, if you don’t like basketball, don’t watch it, and mos definitely don’t post on basketball related articles. Your jealousy is really obvious. GO BULLS!! Yeah, I said it!

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