First Two Weeks of NBA Season Canceled, Lockout Looms

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Author: Sant Kumar

Many National Basketball Association (NBA) fans look forward to the beginning of the regular season every November, as every fan’s favorite team renews their dream of winning an NBA championship. However, the chaos of labor negotiations has put the prospect of the upcoming season in limbo. On Oct. 10, the NBA announced that the first two weeks of the 2011 season were canceled and that the remaining games may be threatened as well.

The labor dispute between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has been slow, with both sides seemingly far apart in negotiations. Revenue sharing between the owners and players and contract length and value are the critical issues needing resolution. Players are demanding longer contracts with more guaranteed money, while owners are looking to retain more team revenue than the NBPA. Both sides met earlier this week in hopes of progressing labor talks, so that they could start the regular season as planned.

According to Yahoo! Sports, both sides met for two hours on Sept. 27. The two parties, however, left without having made any progress. They met again on Sept. 28 with similar results. After the meeting, NBA Commissioner David Stern reportedly claimed that multiple games could be canceled, and not only the regular season opener. Yahoo! Sports also reported that the president of the NBPA, Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers, shared Stern’s prognosis, though he was not as pessimistic.  

The NBA and the NBPA then planned to meet on Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 2 to discuss the fate of the NBA season. Both sides hoped to save the regular season opener, when the Chicago Bulls play the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 1.

“We have to see whether they can either have a season or not have a season, and that’s what’s at risk this weekend,” said Stern before the negotiations, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The week of Oct. 1-7 marked the beginning of some progress in the NBA lockout negotiations. According to Forbes magazine, the owners left the meeting on Sunday, Oct. 1 with an effective revenue sharing system. Though the specifics have not been set out, the owners may turn to the NBPA’s concern of a new collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, the owners and players both showed compromise as the owners proposed a stricter luxury tax. With the tax in place, bankrupt franchises could not continue to spend as exorbitantly as they have in previous years.

The players’ association is showing a more united front, as well, as stars of the NBA, like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Chris Paul, have joined the labor talks. Though there is still a long way to go before a settlement, the growing number of meetings and the willingness to compromise shows the talks are making progress.

NBA fans are eager to see the results of this weekend. Everyone involved in these negotiations and fans are waiting hopefully for the talks to end. If the two sides come to an agreement, then not only will there be no regular season opener, there will be no regular season altogether.

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