After roughly 13 hours of negotiations over two days failed to close what he termed a significant gulf “on virtually all issues,” NBA commissioner David Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season Monday night.
Stern also suggested that the cancellations imposed on the 102nd day of the NBA lockout — just the second work stoppage in league history to bleed into the regular season — essentially guarantee that a full 82-game season has also been lost after fruitless talks found NBA owners and players unable to agree on key items such as luxury-tax specifics, contract lengths and annual raises.
Those were not seen as the sort of issues that would derail negotiations as recently as last week, but they became as big over the last 48 hours as the sides’ ongoing inability to agree on a workable split of annual Basketball Related Income.
“We think that we made very fair proposals,” Stern told reporters in New York, describing himself as both sorry and sad about the parties’ inability to get close to the framework of a deal before Monday’s deadline to start the regular season on Nov. 1 as scheduled.
“I’m sure the players think the same thing,” Stern said. “But the gap is so significant that we just can’t bridge it at this time.”
Asked if he was prepared to rule out an 82-game schedule now that all games through Nov. 14 have been formally scrapped and not merely postponed, Stern said: “Yes, I think that’s right. And with every day that goes by, we need to look at further reductions in what’s left in the season.”
Stern and players association executive director Billy Hunter were in similar positions in 1998, when a 204-day lockout only left time for a 50-game regular season.
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article courtesy of ESPN.com
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