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After yet another futile attempt by both the owners and players unions to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, the remainder of the NBA Preseason has been canceled, and, barring any miraculous agreement on Monday, the first two weeks of the regular season are next in line.
Following a four-hour meeting between the players and owners on Tuesday, commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver took the stand to announce the bad news to the press.
“The formal position of the parties was the players at 53 [percent], us at 47,” said commissioner Stern in a televised press conference. “We asked the question of the players, ‘would each side entertain the notion of a 50-50 deal?’… While we were in the process of doing that [discussing] with our owners, we were asked to step out and we were advised by the players that that would not be acceptable to them; that they were at a higher number.”
“Today we’ll be announcing the cancellation of the rest of the exhibition season, and by Monday, we will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the season.”
For those of you who don’t know the formalities of the ongoing NBA Lockout, the owners and players are waging war over who receives more of all basketball related income, as well as other minor issues. The players, who were once at a whopping 57 percent, came down to 53 percent, but refused to split the pot in half with the owners.
“We’re continuing to be open-minded about what a final deal will look like, but today was not the day to try and continue to close that type of gap,” said Derek Fisher, the president of the NBA player’s union. “It’s just not a place we feel we can go, but that doesn’t mean we’re not willing to negotiate. We’re not saying that negotiations are over, but in the forseeable future, obviously until another meeting is possibly canceled, we’re just not sure at this point.”
With the 2011-2012 NBA season looking more indefinite than ever, players are in a frenzy to head overseas and make money while staying in shape by playing basketball for foreign teams.
“The biggest thing is that I didn’t know how the lockout was going to turn out,” said Nuggets’ Forward Wilson Chandler, who recently signed a contract to play in China. “I just wanted to play so I can get a better game shape, a better game rhythm.”
And the list goes on and on, with players like Deron Williams, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Andrei Kirilenko, to name a few, heading overseas as well. There are even talks of the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant, possibly entertaining a 10-game/$3 million contract from an unspecified Italian team.
The NBA is quickly losing its talent—the one thing that puts it a single notch over the increasingly convalescent international teams. With many players signing contracts without opt-out clauses, returning to the NBA won’t even be an option until they play their agreed amount of games overseas.
Commissioner Stern alluded to the fact that the owners had already lost $200 million in revenue by canceling preseason games. Unless the owners want to continue losing egregious amounts of money, an agreement in the very near future is imminent.