x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

First two weeks of NBA season cancelled as lockout talks fail

NBA commissioner David Stern says with everyday that goes by, more reductions could take place as owners and players' union cannot agree on the split of annual revenues.

NEW YORK // David Stern, the NBA commissioner, cancelled the first two weeks of the 2011/12 regular season after several hours of meetings last night failed to result in a new labour deal.

Stern said he is cancelling all scheduled regular season games through to November 14 after the two sides met for seven hours yesterday.

A last-ditch effort to end the lockout of the players and begin the season on time failed because the two sides are miles apart on a number of key issues that need to be resolved.

"We just have a gulf that separates us," Stern said. "With every day that goes by, I think we need to look at further reductions in what's left of the season."

All of the NBA's 114 pre-season games have already been cancelled out by the contract dispute.

"Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players' union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players," the NBA said in a statement.

No new talks have been scheduled but owners and players said they planned to keep in touch.

"This is not where we choose to be," he said. "We're not at a place where a fair deal can be reached with the NBA."

Stern, his deputy commissioner Adam Silver, owners Peter Holt of San Antonio, Glen Taylor of Minnesota and James Dolan of New York, and the senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube represented the owners in talks.

They met with union executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers and vice president Maurice Evans of the Washington Wizards, and lawyers Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner.

The two sides may end up in court as each have accused the other of unfair labour practises which the US National Labour Relations Board is looking into. The owners also filed a lawsuit in US federal court against the players union.

So far, the The players' union have decided not to decertify like their counterparts with the NFL. Although the basketball players say they have not ruled out that option.

The owners locked out the players July 1 when they could not reach a deal before the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement. The NBA's opening night was scheduled for November 1.

The warring sides have met occasionally over the past few weeks as the NBA reportedly continued to insist it would not move beyond the 50-50 split in league revenues that Stern proposed last Tuesday. The union rejected that, saying players would not resume talks with any preconditions.

Team owners and players have been bargaining over how to divide US$3.8 billion (Dh13.9bn) in annual revenues and over salary cap issues.

The gaps in their positions have been so wide it could now jeopardise the entire 2011/2012 campaign.

The only prior NBA season shortened due to money issues was in 1998/99 when the season was cut to 50 games per franchise because it took so long to reach a deal.

Only once in North American sports history has an entire season been lost to players and team owners being unable to agree upon financial terms, that being the NHL's lost 2004/2005 campaign.