NEW YORK – Labor talks between NBA owners and players broke down Friday, likely assuring the league will have a shortened season for the second time in 14 years.
NBA commissioner David Stern canceled games through Nov. 30, though it was unlikely those games would have been played anyway. The impasse came just one day after both sides expressed optimism they were close to an agreement that could save the league's 2011-12 season.
"It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now," Stern said.
The impasse on the system issues still centered on the NBA not wanting teams over the salary cap and paying luxury tax to be able to use the midlevel and bi-annual exceptions. The players want it allowed.
Owners believed the players were prepared to take a 50-50 split on BRI if the system issues were agreed upon. Privately, league sources said most of the luxury tax and exception issues were resolved and the players were still seeking 52 percent of revenue. There were still issues with tax-paying teams being allowed to use the midlevel exception, but owners thought there was still a compromise to make. Nevertheless, league negotiators privately said they went back to the bargaining table with the union, only because they believed that to be true.
Meanwhile, Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said Stern “snookered me” when the commissioner said he would make an economic move on Friday. Hunter insisted nothing had changed on the league’s take-it-or-leave-it 50-50 offer from a week ago. "We told them we were leaving it, just like we left it before," Hunter said.
Stern said Hunter told him the union wouldn't go below 52 percent on BRI, that he had many calls from agents and he closed his book and left.
"I would say both sides are very badly damaged," Stern said. "There will be two severe sets of losses, but that's what happens in a labor dispute."
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