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Sports: First two weeks of NBA season likely to be cancelled if lockout is not lifted by Monday by Wil Longbottom

The NBA has today cancelled the remainder of the preseason and could axe the first two weeks of the regular season if a labor dispute is not resolved by next week.

Players and NBA team owners have failed to make progress after four hours of negotiations and no further meetings have been set up.

If an agreement is not reached by Monday, both sides stand to to lose millions of dollars and potentially countless fans if the start of the regular season is interrupted.
Shut out: Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki shoots during the NBA finals against the Miami Heat. The first two weeks of this season could be canceled because of a labor disputeShut out: Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki shoots during the NBA finals against the Miami Heat. The first two weeks of this season could be canceled because of a labor dispute

Commissioner David Stern said: ‘We’re ready to meet and discuss any subject anyone wants to talk about.

‘We’d like not to lose the first two weeks of the season, but it doesn’t look good.’

At issue is the amount money players make from the basketball-relative income through a collective bargaining agreement.

Owners offered the players a 50-50 revenue split, but the players’ association rejected that deal.

That is still well below the 57 per cent that players were guaranteed under the previous agreement, but more than the 47 per cent union officials said was formally proposed.

Players had offered to lower their demands to 53 per cent, which they said would give owners back more than $1billion over six years, but won’t cut it further at the moment.

No deal: Los Angeles Lakers player Derek Fisher speaks alongside fellow players after the NBA labor meetings collapsed yesterdayNo deal: Los Angeles Lakers player Derek Fisher speaks alongside fellow players after the NBA labor meetings collapsed yesterday

Derek Fisher, president of the players’ association, said: ‘We were not able to get close enough to close the gap.’

With superstars like Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the players’ proposal would have made up around $200 million per season – a sizeable chunk of the $300million owners said they lost last season.

Both sides are also still divided on the salary-cap structure.

Training camps were postponed and 43 preseason games scheduled for October 9 – 15 were canceled last month.

The NBA regular season is due to start on November 1.

Owners have insisted on the ability to turn a profit after the league said 22 of its 30 teams lost money last season.

Mr Fisher added: ‘We want to and have been willing to negotiate, but we find ourselves at a point today where we in some ways anticipated or expected to be, faced with a lockout that may jeopardize portions if not all of our season.’
Star: NBA's Kobe Bryant makes a sponsor's appearance in Milan, Italy. He has said it is 'very possible' he could play in Italy while the lockout continuesStar: NBA’s Kobe Bryant makes a sponsor’s appearance in Milan, Italy. He has said it is ‘very possible’ he could play in Italy while the lockout continues

Without a deal, the battle could go to the courts.

The players have been ‘locked out’ of teams since July 1 when talks first collapsed.

Several high-profile players have said they will play overseas if the 82-game season is cancelled or delayed.

The only time the NBA has cancelled regular season games was when a work stoppage reduced the 1998-1999 season to 50.

It comes after a similar dispute threatened to delay the start of the NFL season.

The collective bargaining agreement was unanimously discontinued by NFL owners in March, sparking a lock out until the end of July.

Eventually a new agreement was reached on July 21, and the only game that was canceled was the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on August 7.
SOURCE:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045505/NBA-Lockout-2011-First-2-weeks-season-likely-cancelled.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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