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NBA lockout continues, league will cancel at least two more weeks

The NBA will be cancelling at least two more weeks of its season, according to a person familiar with the league's plans. The source told the Daily News that the announcement will be made by the league on Tuesday. With talks broken off between the owners and players, and the two sides far apart on major "system" issues, the cancellations are expected to total at least 102 more games, through Nov. 28. No further talks are in the works. The league made its first cancellations, totalling 100 games and running from the Nov. 1 season opener through Nov. 14, on Oct. 10. Commissioner David Stern had said last week on WFAN that he thought that the league’s showcase Christmas Day games would be cancelled if a deal had not been reached by last Tuesday. But even with the impasse at the bargaining table, the feeling is that the league still thinks it can get a deal and save its traditional Christmas games. Included in that is the Knicks-Boston game at the Garden. Locked-out NBA players say they want to return to the bargaining table, but that they are not going to accept the owners’ precondition of accepting a 50-50 split to be able to resume talks. "I will call them to see if they want to get back together," Billy Hunter said on Bill Simmons' ESPN podcast Monday. "But if they still say they'll only meet if I accept their 50-50 (proposal), to me that's a non-starter. I can't agree to meet if I don’t know what is going to happen on the other issues. That is intolerable." Owners and players have not talked since they left their last round of negotiations dug in on various "system" issues dealing with a new harder salary cap favored by owners and the preservation of the soft cap favored by players. During the last session, owners rejected the players’ demands on the critical issue of "give-backs." For taking less of the split of $4 billion, and lowering their demands to 52.5% of the revenue, players wanted to use that to trade for more favorable features in the system. "What we told the players is that we could not trade one for the other," said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, after owners raised their offer on the split to 50-50. According to commissioner David Stern, it will take a month to put the new collective bargaining agreement in writing, conduct free agency for upwards of 150 players, and run a short training camp and an abbreviated preseason schedule. In the best-case scenario, Stern has said, it might be able to cut the start-up period to 28 days. Stern received a lot of publicity last week for saying that Christmas Day games would be lost if the two sides didn’t reach a deal as they met under the guidance of federal mediator George Cohen. Stern missed the final session with Cohen due to the flu and has not commented since on the lack of progress or how many more games will be lost.

10/25/2011 1:20AM
NBA lockout continues, league will cancel at least two more weeks
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