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NBA lockout cancels the first two weeks of 2011-2012 NBA season: Fan’s take
For just the second time in NBA history, regular-season games have been lost due to a work stoppage. The first two weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA season are the latest casualty of the NBA lockout.
After approximately 12 hours of negotiations on Sunday, October 9 (five hours), and Monday, October 10 (seven hours), the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) were unable to strike a deal in time to save opening night, which was scheduled for November 1.
At 10:04 p.m. ET on October 10, the NBA issued its official release announcing the cancellations. NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said, "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 cancellations include all games that were scheduled to be played through November 14. In total, 100 regular-season games have been cancelled and more are at risk.
"With every day that goes by, there will be further reductions on what's left of the season," NBA Commissioner David Stern said. "We remain very, very apart on all issues, Stern added. "We have a gulf that separates us."
Until that gulf is bridged, regular-season games will continue to be canceled. The lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season was the last time the NBA lost regular-season games due to a work stoppage. That season did not begin until February 6, 1999 and was reduced to 50 games.
NBA fans everywhere hope that the NBA and NBPA can work together to end this season's lockout before the calendar turns to 2012.
For those hopes to become a reality, the two parties must continue to negotiate. In Monday's meeting the NBPA was represented by President Derek Fisher(notes) of the Los Angeles Lakers, Vice President Maurice Evans(notes) of the Washington Wizards, Executive Director Billy Hunter, union Deputy General Counsel Ron Klempner, and the NBPA's leading outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler. In addition to Stern and Silver, the NBA was represented by San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, who heads the league's labor relations committee, New York Knicks owner James Dolan, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, and NBA Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dan Rube. The sooner these gentlemen sit at the negotiating table again, the better the chance that they can make a deal before the courts get too involved in the lockout.
Each party has brought an unfair labor practice charge against the other with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and both sides are waiting for the NLRB to hand down a ruling. Additionally, oral arguments for the union's motion to dismiss the NBA's federal lawsuit that seeks to establish that the league imposed lockout does not violate antitrust law are scheduled to begin November 2.
Two months ago, in "Legal Maneuvering May Put 2011-2012 NBA Season on Eternal Hold," I suggested that these negotiations may need "a legal ruling or two" before real progress could be made. If the NBA and NBPA fail to talk before those oral arguments begin in the courtroom, we NBA fans "might have to resign ourselves to the possibility that the next NBA game may not be played until sometime in 2012."
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has more than 100 articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings on RandomNBAFan.com.
More on the NBA lockout:
Information from NBA.com's No deal in labor talks, NBA cancels season's first two weeks and NBA cancels first two weeks of 2011-12 regular season; Yahoo! Sports' NBA cancels first two weeks of season; ESPN.com's David Stern: Season hangs in balance; CBSSports.com's NBA lawsuit oral arguments scheduled for Nov. 2 and RandomNBAFan.com's Legal Maneuvering May Put 2011-2012 NBA Season on Eternal Hold was used for this article.
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