2011 NBA Lockout: Full Coverage Of League's Labor Dispute

This StoryStream provides SBNation.com's comprehensive coverage of the 2011 NBA Lockout.

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NBA Lockout Ends As Players, Owners Ratify

The NBA Board of Governors on Thursday ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, clearing the way for the official end of the 2011 lockout. Commissioner David Stern told reporters that the owners voted 25-5 to approve the deal.

Earlier on Thursday, players had ratified the deal by a wide margin, though fewer than half of the union membership elected to vote.

The ratification clears the way for free agency to officially begin at 2 p.m. ET on Friday. Chortles are encouraged, given that half the league has been reported to have handshake deals with specific dollar amounts attached with free agents already, and trades -- including one for a certain Chris Paul -- have already been agreed to.

Training camps will also open on Friday. Preseason games begin in a little over a week. Basketball is back, everybody. Embrace a fan near you and enjoy. (Enjoy it a little more if you're a fan of the L.A. Lakers.)


NBA Lockout: Players Vote To Approve New CBA, Owners Expected To Do Same

We are just baby steps away from the NBA lockout officially ending and a new collective bargaining agreement being approved by both sides. The NBA players have reformed as a union and have voted to approve the new CBA, according to a report by CBS Sports' Ken Berger.

NBA players on Thursday approved a new collective bargaining agreement in electronic voting, paving the way for owners to formally ratify the deal and open training camps and the free-agency period, two people familiar with the results told CBSSports.com.

The owners are also expected to finalize a new revenue-sharing plan shortly, according to Berger. The major parts of the new CBA had been approved a while ago, with only a few procedural and B-list items left to resolve this week. Evidently, they have been resolved.

NBA training camps will open on Friday, and the official date for the start of free agency is Friday as well, though teams have been making offers to players already.


NBA Lockout Deal Keeps Age Minimum Static, Increasing D-League Assignment Flexibility

The minimum age for players seeking to enter the NBA Draft will not rise as a result of the NBA lockout deal crafted by negotiators from the players' union and league over the last two weeks, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. The age minimum will remain at 19 years old and one year removed from high school, as it has been since 2006.

Berger also reports that teams can now assign their own players with three or fewer years in the NBA to their D-League affiliate; assignment had been to players in the first two seasons previously. In addition, veterans will have the opportunity to be assigned to the D-League for injury rehab, though it must be a mutual decision between the team and player.

The age minimum decision is good news for fans of bad teams, as the 2012 draft could be absolutely loaded if a few top freshmen and the best sophomores declare.


NBA Free Agents, Teams Can Talk Beginning Wednesday

In a surprise move, the NBA announced on Tuesday that while free agency won't begin until December 9, teams can begin talks with agents about free agent players beginning on Wednesday. The league that no deals can be offered or accepted -- even verbally -- until December 9, but that communication can begin.

It's unorthodox by NBA standards. In a normal NBA offseason, teams cannot have conversations with agents of free agent players from other teams until the stroke of midnight on July 1, the traditional start of free agency. By the time that the sun rises on July 1, there are usually a couple of verbal deals wrapped up.

How strictly the NBA will monitor its "no verbal offer or deal" rule remains to be seen. In practice, it might really just end up as a gag order on team execs and agents who reach quiet deals that will surely leak out, as all deals do.

The NBA also announced that team facilities will be opened on Thursday for voluntary camps.


NBA Lockout: Billy Hunter Sends Memo To Players Outlining Good Points Of Deal

Billy Hunter sent a memo to players on Monday outlining the good points of the NBA lockout deal reached Saturday, reports SI.com's Sam Amick. (The memo was, in fact, longer than two paragraphs.) In the memo, which Amick made available online, Hunter outlines the path toward ratification of the deal, which includes finalization of the lawsuit settlement agreement, re-authorization for the union to represent players in collective bargaining and negotiation of the smaller CBA issues like the age minimum and drug testing. Hunter said that ratification could come next week.

With free agency and the start of training camps scheduled for December 9, time is of the essence.

Hunter notes that players' aggregate salary will grow by $100 million per season beginning next year, and says that projections have the luxury tax threshold rising to $90 million by 2016-17. (I'm sure the Milwaukee Bucks are thrilled to hear it.) Hunter also says that the league's revenue sharing plan will be memorialized in an agreement with players for the first time.


NBA Schedule Details Released By League

The NBA schedule will be released within days, and it's unlikely it will at all resemble the version that the league presented in August. Cutting 18 games from every team will tend to do that.

In the interim, the league has announced what form that schedule will take, confirming reports from the New York Times Sunday that indicated the NBA would shrink the interconference slate in favor of more games against in-conference opponents.

The NBA says that teams will play out-of-conference opponents at least once each, with three teams getting a second meeting. Of the other 12 out-of-conference opponents, six will be faced at home and six on the road. Given the NBA's strong home-court advantage, this could be a real impact in the standings.

The other 48 games will be played within the conference. There are six teams who will share four meetings with any given team, and the other eight with play three-game sets.

The NBA also says that the playoffs will begin on April 28, and that there could be one back-to-back per series in the second round.


NBA Amnesty Clause Includes Auction For Waived Players

The NBA's amnesty clause includes a mechanism under which teams with cap space can bid on waived players' contracts.


2011-12 NBA Schedule To Be Light On Interconference Play, Says Report

The NBA schedule for the 2011-12 season will feature a few back-to-back-to-backs and fewer interconference games.


NBA Lockout: Higher Luxury Tax, Sign-And-Trade Restrictions Delayed Until 2013 In Deal

The most punitive measures created by the NBA lockout to tamp down high team payrolls won't come into effect until 2013, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger.

The scribe reports that the deal approved by players and league officials Saturday morning delays the onset of the more punitive luxury tax schedule, the repeater tax and the restriction on sign-and-trade deals for teams over the tax threshold until after the next two seasons. That means that teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics won't face bills any larger than they've taken in the past in 2012 or 2013.

The one major change that will restrict those teams' ability to spend in the immediate is a restriction on the use of the full mid-level exception. Those teams will be forced to use a smaller mid-level exception tailored for luxury tax teams unless they drop to within $1 million of the threshold.

Berger's story has additional details on the deal, and is well worth a read.


NBA Lockout Deal Increases Potential Maximum Salary For Young Players

Under the NBA lockout deal reached Saturday morning, players with six or fewer years of service in the league can sign contracts with a maximum first-year salary equal to 25 percent of the salary cap, or roughly $14.5 million for the 2011-12 season. But if that player has already made the All-Star or All-NBA team, he can sign a deal that pays him 30 percent in the first year of his second contract, which is also the max for players with more than six seasons of service.

This will affect young players signing their second contracts, usually following their third seasons. (This contracts go into effect after the players' fourth season.) In the immediate, it will come into play for Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, each of whom have finished three seasons and have All-Star appearances on their resumes.

Under the old rules and assuming the salary cap, as reported, remains static at $58 million, those players should be able to sign extensions starting at $17.4 million. By contrast, Kevin Durant last year signed a deal that this year will pay him $14.5 million. Westbrook (a year behind Durant in service) making more than the two-time reigning scoring champ should go over well in Oklahoma City.

UPDATE: Westbrook might actually not be affected by this, as the deal apparently restricts the so-called bonus pool to players who have achieved two All-NBA bids, two All-Star starting nods or an MVP award. Of players up for rookie extensions this summer, only Rose would be affected.


NBA Lockout Deal Shrinks Restricted Free Agency Matching Window

Teams will now have three days to match offer sheets signed by their restricted free agents under the NBA lockout deal tentatively reached early Saturday, reports Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.

In the old collective bargaining agreement, teams had one week to match offer sheets. In the meantime, the team with which the player signed an offer sheet had the cap space used in the offer locked up in a cap hold. This created a bit of a hostage situation where the players' original team could string out the process for seven days, disallowing the offering team from making other major moves in the interim.

With the shorter window, more frequent and lucrative offer sheets are expected as teams won't be afraid of losing precious time with cap holds. That will mean even more this season, as free agency will begin on December 9 with the season slated to begin on December 25.


NBA Lockout: Salary Cap To Remain Flat At $58 Million, But Will Be Pro-Rated

As a result of Saturday's NBA lockout deal, the salary cap for the 2011-12 season will remain flat instead of decreasing substantially. That compromise was present in the NBA's last public proposal on November 10. In the new deal, the players' aggregate salary -- which determines the salary cap level -- will drop to 49-51 percent from 57 percent of the league's revenue. That would have dropped the salary cap 12 percent, to roughly $51 million. But the compromise keeps the $58 million cap for the 2011-12 season and possibly the 2012-13 season.

Salaries will, of course, be pro-rated to adjust for the shortened season. The NBA will play a 66-game season, dropping 20 percent of the regular season schedule. As such, actual salary paid out will be about 20 percent less than the cap figures would amount to. 

Expect the pro-rated figures to be highly confusing once free agency begins on December 9 as reporters sort out just how rich new contracts are given the shortened season.


NBA Lockout Deal: Restrictions On Mid-Level Exception Explained

One of the biggest issues holding up an NBA lockout deal over the past few weeks was whether teams over the luxury tax threshold would be able to use the full mid-level exception to sign free agents and round out their rosters. Zach Lowe of SI.com reports that a compromise was reached, leading to the deal agreed to early Saturday morning.

Under the compromise, teams over the salary cap can use the full mid-level exception -- worth a starting salary of $5 million and a maximum term of four years -- so long as it does not take the team more than $4 million above the luxury tax threshold (which is roughly 20 percent higher than the salary cap). If the mid-level would take the team over the tax line,, the team will not be allowed to re-sign its own free agents using Bird rights.

That will force high-payroll teams knocking on the tax threshold's door to make tough decisions when in the past they could just sign everybody and sort it out later. The team this will most obviously effect immediate is the Dallas Mavericks, who have to sign Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea, but in doing so will have to use the mini mid-level (starting salary of $3 million, maximum length of three years) instead of the full version.


NBA Lockout Is Over: What Happens Next?

The NBA lockout ended early Saturday morning with a tentative deal. We have a rundown of what's to come in the weeks and months ahead.


NBA Lockout: Dwight Howard, Chris Paul Will Officially Be Subjects Of Unending Trade Chatter

The so-called Carmelo Anthony Rule did not survive in the NBA lockout deal. That means that teams over the salary cap can trade for 2012 free agents like Dwight Howard and Chris Paul and maintain the ability to re-sign them next year.


NBA Lockout: Owners Reportedly Conceded On Key Points

In the deal that ended the 2011 NBA Lockout, it was the league who conceded on several sticking points to get a handshake, reports Chris Sheridan.

Sheridan, who is the editor of SheridanHoops.com and was a longtime scribe for the Associated Press and ESPN.com, reports that owners softened their positions on the maximum length of the mid-level exception (which will now be four years), the use of sign-and-trade deals by luxury tax teams and the ban on trade-and-extend deals for players approaching their final season on a contract (also known as the Carmelo Anthony rule).

We still don't know exactly what happened to the dispute over use of the full mid-level exception for teams over the luxury tax line, which seemed to be one of the bigger sticking points in the final negotiations. The way the escrow mechanism will work is also still unknown.


NBA Lockout Deal Remains Mysterious Aside From Revenue Split

Wondering why there are no details yet from the deal that eventually ended the NBA lockout after 149 days? That'd be because the league and players are purposefully keeping them under wraps while lawyers from each side work out a settlement to the players' anti-trust lawsuit against owners. At that point, the National Basketball Players Association will be reformed and the collective bargaining agreement will be ratified.

Somewhere in there, the details will spring out. We already know that players agreed to a revenue split centered on 50 percent -- that means that players' aggregate salaries will be 50 percent of the league's basketball-related income. In the old deal, that figure was 57 percent. The actual mechanics of how the split will be determined remains unknown; a 49-51 band has been discussed in the past, which would allow players to earn a bigger aggregate figure if the league's revenue exceeds projections.

The last days of the lockout have been spent fighting over specific salary cap system issues. It remains unclear how those were resolved, though players' union VP Roger Mason told SI.com's Sam Amick that the "owners rectified" the players' specific issues. Those issues included use of the full mid-level exception for teams over the luxury tax threshold and the amount of salary to be withheld in escrow to assure that the aggregate players' salary level is not exceeded.


NBA Lockout Is Over, But Length Of New Labor Deal Unknown

The NBA lockout is over, and no one is eager to do this again. The next labor stoppage could be determined by the length of the new collective bargaining agreement. As of now, that remains under wraps. We do, however, have some indications based on the previous set of negotiations as to where the endpoint will land.

The league had been pushing for a 10-year deal taking the league up to 2022. The belief is that with growing revenue and the expected windfall from a new national TV deal in 2016, the concessions won in this deal will allow the league to reach profitability soon and carry it through.

But the players are also looking lustily at that new TV deal, and suspect that if the league were currently getting full market value for its ad inventory, owners wouldn't have been able to claim losses in 2011. So the players want the opportunity to reset the revenue split in 2016, when a new TV deal comes in. The chances of the owners ever moving back toward players from the 50-50 revenue split that is apparently a part of this deal are remarkably small, in my opinion. But nevertheless, the players had pushed for an opt-out after six years, or in 2018. The league would be expected to want a mutual opt-out there, just in case the TV deal disappoints.

So the next NBA lockout could be as soon as 2018, 2022 or never. I'll bet on the first date.


NBA Lockout Ends: Free Agency Could Begin December 9

With the NBA lockout over as the players and owners reached a tentative agreement early Saturday morning, the focus shifts to the actual season. The first step of that: free agency, with a crunched period expected to start December 9.

It'll take until then to wrap up the myriad legal issues and get ratification of the deal from both sides. At that point, with new league salary rules in place, the long-suffering free agents of 2011 can hit the market. The class is led by David West, Nene, Marc Gasol ands Tyson Chandler. Wings including Marcus Thornton, Thaddeus Young and Jamal Crawford will also be up for grabs.

Back in June, Mike Prada put together our 2011 Free Agent preview. It remains totally relevant, except that players who signed in China during the lockout -- including J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin -- will not be allowed to leave their teams until the season ends. Most expect Smith at the very least will find a way out of his deal and back onto the NBA market.

Also, don't forget that there will likely be an amnesty clause in this deal, one which allows teams to clear cap space by cutting players. Those players will become free agents; some, like Brandon Roy (if he's cut), will become very popular free agents and much lower price points.


NBA Lockout Is Over: Schedule To Be Reworked In Advance Of Christmas Openers

Assuming everything goes according to plan from here, the end of the NBA lockout will mean that a 66-game season will begin on December 25, Christmas Day. The old 2011-12 schedule had three games scheduled for Christmas: Celtics vs. Knicks, Heat vs. Mavericks in an NBA Finals rematch and Bulls vs. Lakers. NBA commissioner David Stern indicated that the triple-header would survive in a new schedule, though no one would be surprised to see the league add another game or two to make it a full day (and night) affair.

How the rest of the 66-game slate will play out remains a mystery. One can assume the league prefers to have every team play every other team twice -- those bumps in Indianapolis from a Lakers' visit are worthy quite a bit. So a home-and-home with every team accounts for 58 games, leaving eight on the table.

That would allow for two additional games against division foes, or one more against division foes and one against teams from another division in the same conference.

The post has been corrected.


NBA Lockout: Players Looking For Ownership Concessions, According To Report

The NBA lockout negotiations are continuing through the weekend, with Players Association president Derek Fisher back in the fold, and many are once again predicting that the end of the work stoppage is near. The players have decided, though, that they want to see more changes before agreeing to a deal that would allow them to play basketball on Christmas.

Along with Fisher, the players will bring attorney Jeffrey Kessler -- either by phone or in-person, according to Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe -- and a handful of proposals that would allow them to feel more comfortable about accepting any sort of deal, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Broussard tweeted on Thursday evening that the players want full four-year mid-level exceptions available to them each season, an increase in the "mini-midlevel contract" for teams above the salary cap, sign and trade deals available to all teams, higher qualifying offers for restricted free agents and the ability for maximum contracts to be worth 30 percent of the salary cap -- not 25 percent, and currently planned.

In addition to that, the players would also prefer a 10 percent cap on the escrow system and fewer penalties for teams that continue to operate in the luxury tax, an ask that basically further eliminates the idea of the "hard cap" that has been intermittently discussed.

It seems like the players are expecting quite a bit to change on Friday, according to Broussard's tweets, but the majority of these concessions have been sticking points through the last few negotiating sessions.


NBA Lockout Deal To Save Christmas Would Create 66-Game Season, Says Report

If an NBA lockout deal can be reached this week to preserve the league's traditional Christmas slate, the 2011-12 will include 66 games per team, reports the New York Times' Howard Beck.

NBA commissioner David Stern pitched a 72-game season starting on December 15 if players would accept the owners' proposal a week ago. Instead, players held out over salary cap system issues, dissolved their union and filed anti-trust litigation.

But secret talks were rekindled on Tuesday, according to reports, with the hopes that a deal could save pro basketball in 2011 and also leave the league's ratings bonanza that is Christmas Day in tact. Having a five-game slate on Christmas that doubles as opening day for the league could inject some momentum into the season after the PR disaster that has been the lockout.

This is all still predicated on the two sides being reasonable and making a pact, items that have thus far eluded those involved.


NBA Lockout: David Stern Reportedly Gauges Owners' Willingness To Concede On Mid-Level Exception

David Stern is quietly surveying a number of owners to see whether there's an appetite to concede limitations on the use of the full mid-level exception by luxury tax teams in a potential NBA lockout deal, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. The league's proposal to make a smaller mid-level exception available to taxpayers is one of the sticking points holding up a new collective bargaining agreement with players.

Multiple outlets, led by Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times, reported on Wednesday that the two sides are again talking about a potential deal. Reaching a handshake agreement by Friday would seem to allow enough time to handle the formalities, a free agency period and an abbreviated training camp before games slated for Christmas Day, December 25.

The NBA's multi-game slate on Christmas typically draws some of the highest ratings of the regular season for the league's network partners TNT, ABC and ESPN.

The latest publicly known NBA proposal included a mini mid-level for teams over the tax threshold starting at $3 million per season with a maximum term of three years. The sides have negotiated the full mid-level, available to all teams over the cap but under the tax line, to a starting salary of $5 million and alternating maximum terms of 3-4 years. (You could not give full four-year mid-level exception contracts in consecutive years, in other words.)


NBA Lockout: Rekindled Talks Moving Forward As Litigation Settlement Negotiations

NBA lockout talks have indeed quietly restarted, confirms the New York Times' Howard Beck. The scribe reports that lawyers from the two sides began negotiations on a settlement to an anti-trust lawsuit on Tuesday; that suit was filed a week ago and updated this week as players consolidated two separate filings in the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Beck reports that the lawsuit must be settled before the players' union can reform to approve any deal to end the lockout. Time is of the essence given that additional hurdle and the ticking clock toward a dropdead date to get a deal in time to preserve the league's precious Christmas schedule.

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report on the rekindled talks. He also reported that Derek Fisher, who led the National Basketball Players Association before it disclaimed interest in representing players last week, is not involved in the talks.


NBA Lockout Talks Quietly Restarted On Tuesday, Says Report

NBA lockout talks picked back up on Tuesday after an idle 10 days, reports Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. Representatives from the players' side and league got together outside the view of the media on Tuesday and were expected to meet again Wednesday with hopes of reaching a deal before NBA commissioner David Stern was forced to kill the traditional Christmas Day slate of games.

Stern has said the league needs 30 days from handshake to tip-off, making Friday the apparent deadline to get a deal and preserve the Christmas schedule. The league has already cancelled games through December 15; there is little chance (if any) that there will be even 70 games per team on the schedule if a deal is reached this week.

On November 14, the players' union's leadership rejected the league's latest offer and, instead of seeking further negotiations before escalating the fight, disclaimed interest in representing players, clearing the way for anti-trust litigation against the league.


NBA Lockout: Former Union Lawyer Who Helped Craft 1999 Deal Has Spoken To Both Sides, Is Willing To Help

Jim Quinn, a former general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association who helped craft the deal to end the 1999 NBA lockout, has talked to both commissioner David Stern and players' lead Billy Hunter in recent days, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. Quinn is seen as a dealmaker whose deep relationships with just about everyone involved could help grease the wheels for an agreement.

But Quinn isn't helping yet; negotiations remain idle, which they have been since players rejected the NBA's latest offer a week ago, disbanded its union and filed anti-trust litigation. Neither side has seemed willing to call the other party to restart negotiations with an eye on saving the Christmas Day slate of games, which will be impossible without a deal by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

Quinn's relationship with Stern goes as far back as Oscar Robertson's anti-trust suit against the NBA, settled in 1976. Quinn worked for the union during Hunter's first few years as its director.


NBA Lockout: League, Players Could Resume Negotiations In Hopes Of Saving Christmas Schedule

Officials with the league and players' camp are eager to resume NBA lockout negotiations in hopes of saving the Christmas slate of games, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. There are financial incentives to start the season no later than the NBA's big holiday, and Berger reports that the NBA believes it to be not viable to start the season after Christmas, as it did in 1999.

On paper, the two sides are not far apart. The players have gone as far as a 50-50 revenue split, but only with the condition that the NBA concedes on a few key salary cap system issues. The league wouldn't do so in the last set of talks, instead presenting the union with a take-it-or-leave-it offer and a deadline. In response, the union dissolved and players served two separate anti-trust lawsuits.

NBA commissioner David Stern has said that the league needs 30 days from handshake to tip-off, which means that to save the Christmas games, we need a deal by two days after Thanksgiving, or in the next week.


NBA Lockout: Players File Antitrust Complaint Against League

The NBA players have filed an antitrust complaint against the NBA in Minnesota and have plans to file another complaint in Northern California Tuesday evening.

The first antitrust suit was filed in Minneapolis, a place where NFL players had some measure of success in similar court proceedings this summer during their lockout.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver, Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, free agent forward Caron Butler and Minnesota draft pick Derrick Williams are listed as plaintiffs in the Minnesota case.

Plaintiffs in the Northern California case are expected to include Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Leon Powe.

According to attorney David Boies, the players will not seek a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout but instead will use the complaints as an attempt to restore competitive free-market conditions.

The plaintiffs argue that the lockout "constitutes an illegal group boycott, price-fixing agreement, and/or restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act" and that the owners' final offer for a new CBA would have "wiped out the competitive market for most NBA players."

Says Boies, "We hope it's not necessary to go to trial."

Update: You can download a PDF of the antitrust suit filed in Minnesota here


NBA Lockout: David Stern Issues Statement, Says 2011-12 Season 'Is In Jeopardy'

NBA commissioner David Stern has issued a statement on the NBA Players' Association's decision to file for a "disclaimer of interest" in order to challenge the legality of the NBA lockout in court. Stern expressed disappointment that the NBPA did not accept the league's last proposal and warned that the entire season could be in peril.

"The NBA has negotiated in good faith throughout the collective bargaining process, but -- because our revised bargaining proposal was not to its liking -- the union has decided to make good on [union counsel] Mr. [Jeffrey] Kessler's threat.

"There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy."

The remarks are far less pointed than the ones he made on SportsCenter earlier Monday, but they have a similar effect. Either way, the lockout is in the hands of the courts, and very few people can reasonably guess how long that process will take.


NBA's Collective Bargaining Proposal To Players, As Leaked To USA Today

The NBA lockout is facing a big week, starting Monday when a collection of NBA players meet in New York to ultimately decide whether they should vote on the latest proposal or vote to decertify the union and all but end any hope for a 2011-12 NBA season. The deal they will be looking at is now available for public consumption, too, as USA Today obtained a copy on Sunday evening.

The agreement came with a cover letter, signed by NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, that said "We stand ready to engage with you on all of the remaining bargaining issues at your earliest convenience."

There wasn't anything terribly exciting in the leaked deal as most of it had already been divulged by numerous sources reporting on the lockout, but it did eliminate a few rumors -- such as the already debunked D-League clause -- that had everyone up in arms over the weekend.

Among the major topics in the leaked deal were the split of Basketball Related Income (either a straight 50-50 split or a 51-49 "band" agreement), numerous salary cap exceptions and details, a decrease in minimum and rookie salaries by approximately 12 percent and the much-talked about amnesty clause. The NBA attempted to answer questions about the proposal Sunday evening on Twitter as well, but that didn't go as well as planned.

The players are expected to reply to the proposal, in some form or fashion, early in the week. The NBA has earmarked December 15 as a possible new start to what would end up being a 72-game season if the deal is ratified in time.


NBA Lockout: Players' Union Reps Will Vote On Modified League Proposal, Says Report

When 30 player representatives gather with top union officials on Monday, they will be asked to vote on an amended version of the league's NBA lockout deal, reports Sam Amick of SI.com. The league presented the union with its newest proposal on Thursday; if the union does not accept it on Monday, the NBA said it will pull that proposal off of the table and replace it with a harsher version that includes a hard salary cap.

By presenting an amended version of the NBA's proposal, the union could very well be negotiating internally to come up with a deal it can present to the owners as acceptable. If the team reps do approve such a deal, that would put the burden on saving the season back on David Stern, who would have to convince his owners to take the deal.

If a handshake deal is reached this week, Stern has said a 72-game schedule will begin on December 15.


NBA Lockout: David Stern Again Threatens To Void All Contracts If Players' Union Decertifies

The NBA lockout is headed toward what looks to be either a compromise in the next couple of days or a worst-case scenario, at least as far as this season is concerned, as the players continue to mull decertification. Decertification would likely end any hope of a 2011-12 season as the players and owners enter the court room, but it also could have other serious consequences.

The biggest consequence of decertifying the union, if NBA Commissioner isn't bluffing, would be all current NBA contracts then be voided. Stern, who brought this up very early in the talks, mentioned this again in his latest press conference.

"If the union is not in existence, then neither are 4 billion dollars worth of guaranteed contracts that are entered into under condition that there's a union, Stern said. "So if the agents insist on playing with fire, my guess is that they would get themselves burned."

If decertification does happen -- and it could as soon as Monday -- things are bound to get ugly. Unfortunately it might also be the only way for the players to get a fairer deal.


NBA Lockout: Decertification Petition Could Be Delivered Monday With Signatures From Half The Players' Union

Players could deliver a petition for a vote to decertify the National Basketball Players Assocation as soon as Monday with the signatures of half the league, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. The union needs signatures from a third of its membership to order a vote, which would then be decided on a majority ballot. Delivering a petition with half of the union's Hancock could send chills through the NBA and signify the end of the 2011-12 season.

David Stern and the owners have delivered an offer few players seem to like. Stern said Thursday night that if the union doesn't accept the offer on Monday or Tuesday after meeting with team representatives, the league will revert to an offer with a 47-percent revenue split for players and what is essentially a hard cap.

Berger also reports that a number of moderate agents who were not supporting decertification in the past have joined the movement, owing the league's lack of flexibility in negotiations.


NBA Lockout: How Jammed Would 72-Game Season Starting December 15 Be?

During Thursday's press conference discussing the current state of the NBA lockout, commissioner David Stern said that if the players' union accepts the league's current offer after meeting with player representatives early next week, a 72-game regular season could begin on December 15. With that, the playoff and Finals would each be pushed back one week, giving the regular season a bit more space to breathe.

But such a schedule would still be more jam-packed than the suffocating 1998-99 50-game season.

A normal 82-game season starts around the beginning of November and ends in mid-April, encompassing 5-1/2 months. That gives us just about 15 games per month per team. The lockout-shortened '98-99 season crammed 50 regular season games into almost exactly three months, for 16.7 games per month per team.

A 72-game schedule starting December 15 and ending after the third week in April would give us 72 games in 4.25 months, or 17 games per month per team.

If the players take the deal, expect plenty of back-to-backs, a few back-to-back-to-backs and little time for television that is not basketball.


NBA Lockout: Agents, Players Ready To File Decertification Petition If Union Rejects Owners' Offer

The decertification movement pushed by a number of players and agents is prepared to move forward next week it the union rejects the league's latest NBA lockout offer, reports Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. The decertification camp needs roughly 130 signatures to file to the National Labor Relations Board to force a vote of the union within 45 days. If a majority approved decertification, the union would no longer represent the players at the bargaining table, and players would be able to file anti-trust litigation against the owners.

Several agents told Y! Sports they have more than 200 player signatures on a decertification petition to force a vote to dissolve the union. The paperwork could be filed before Monday, even though it doesn't preclude the players from accepting the league's offer.

Reports have also suggested that Billy Hunter, the union's director and someone who didn't seem satisfied with the league's offer in a Thursday press conference, could opt to file a disclaimer of interest, which would open the door for anti-trust litigation without a union vote.

The Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce has led the decertification option push behind the scenes, organizing a set of calls on the subject last week. The Celtics were also oddly the only team without representation at this week's player representatives gathering in New York, despite the fact that Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo have attended other union meetings.


NBA Lockout Offer On Table Represents Last Proposal Before Reversion To Hard Cap, Says David Stern

David Stern said Thursday that if the players' union does not accept the league's NBA lockout proposal after a meeting with team representatives early next week, the owners will follow up on the commissioner's threat to drop their offer to 47 percent of revenue for players and a hard salary cap.

If the union does take the deal by Monday or Tuesday, a 72-game season would begin December 15.

Stern wouldn't quite say that this proposal was the league's last, best offer, but that was a heavy indication through his address to the media following Thursday's talks. He said he is strongly confident that the owners will approve the deal if the union does, but wouldn't characterize his sense of the players' current feeling about it. He also wouldn't give any details on the offer itself, though it's not expected to be much different from the one outlined in a letter to union director Billy Hunter last week.


NBA Lockout Talks Break Off As Union Takes League's Offer Back To Player Representatives

The players' union will take the league's latest NBA lockout offer back to its player representatives early next week before talks with owners resume, union director Billy Hunter said late Thursday. That means there's no deal over the weekend, and whether there will be one even next week remains in question. Union president Derek Fisher said that the executive board wasn't able to accept the deal on Thursday night despite several concessions from the league.

Hunter also revealed that there remain 30 or more "B issues" like the age minimum and player discipline that must be resolved, though no one has considered those make-or-break conflicts. It remains to be seen exactly what "A issues" remain on the table.

Hunter nor Fisher seemed terribly confident or pessimistic that player reps would authorize acceptance of the NBA's deal or push for additional negotiation. It also remains to be seen what David Stern will say about the half-life of the league's offer.


NBA Lockout Talks Continue As Varying Levels Of Optimism Slip Out

NBA lockout talks continue on Thursday with reporters offering varying levels of optimism about the state of negotiations. Veteran league executive Dave Checketts -- a close friend of commissioner David Stern -- sparked a minor conflagration late Thursday afternoon by implying in an ESPN radio interview in Salt Lake City that a deal was done.

Reporters at the scene of talks offered debunking. From Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

Person in the room assures me that no agreement has been reached. They're about to hit the five-hour mark here in New York.

SI.com's Sam Amick shared that the owners made an important but unrevealed concession late Wednesday, but said no deal has yet been forged:

Players' side source in the room says of alleged agreement, "Not at all (true). We have yet to discuss our positions at all."

The New York Times' Howard Beck offered a flat denial of Checketts' talk:

Person involved in NBA talks: "Nothing has changed between last night and today."


NBA Lockout: Without Deal, Players' Union Prepared To Dissolve, Take League To Court, Says Report

If NBA lockout talks this week ultimately prove fruitless, players' union director Billy Hunter is prepared to disclaim interest, opening the door for an anti-trust lawsuit by players against the league, reports NBA.com's David Aldridge.

A disclaimer of interest is different than decertification in that no player petition or vote is required. (The union did poll players on whether it would support a disclaimer during the season; players consented to the move, but union leadership has yet to use it.) To disclaim interest, Hunter would simply inform the NBA by letter that the players' union is dissolved and will operate only as a trade association. A group of players would then file an anti-trust lawsuit, accusing the league of collusion and abuse of monopoly powers.

The two sides could continue to negotiate, but whether they would is a legitimate question: the league pushed back forcefully against any union attempt to sue on anti-trust grounds in a pre-emptive August lawsuit of its own.


NBA Lockout: Mid-Level Exception Remains Sticking Point, Say Reports

The use of the full mid-level exception by teams above the luxury tax threshold remains a sticking point in NBA lockout talks, reports SI.com's Zach Lowe. The owners had offered a mini mid-level exception in its weekend proposal, but the players' union isn't satisfied with the idea and continues to push for open use of the leaguewide mid-level, which will reportedly be set at a starting salary of $5 million with terms up to four years.

The league's mini mid-level proposal is limited to a two-year contract starting at $2.5 million, and tax teams can only use it every other year. This comes in addition to other special penalties the league has cooked up to deter teams from spending well over the salary cap. Lowe reports that progress is being made, though an agreement on the mid-level exception isn't necessarily close.

The league has softened its proposal to take the full mid-level exception from teams that pay the luxury tax and replace it with a miniature mid-level worth half as much, according to one source familiar with the matter.

The two sides will meet again at noon E.T. on Thursday.


NBA Lockout: Derek Fisher, Adam Silver Have Divergent Views Of Link Between Economic, System Issues

Once NBA lockout talks wrapped up early Thursday morning, each side gave brief reports to the press on what had actually occurred during the 12-hour session. Adam Silver, the NBA's deputy commissioner and lead negotiator, continued a thread he's tugged for quite a while now by saying that the economic and salary cap system issues remain separate, essentially that concessions on one part of the equation do not equal progress on the other.

Derek Fisher, the president of the players' union, indicated the exact opposite, saying that because the union has been flexible on the economic issue -- reportedly offering to move down to a 50-50 revenue split, which is the owners' sweet spot -- it has expected compromise from the league on the remaining system issues.

Neither side would claim any progress was made in Wednesday's long session, and in fact commissioner David Stern advised the media not to read into it that the sides would meet again on Thursday. At some point, though, compromise or total and complete caving will have to enter the picture. If this lockout is going to end any time soon, it'll be compromise.


NBA Lockout Talks Paused, Will Resume Thursday

NBA lockout talks will continue as the two sides attempt to work out a deal, commissioner David Stern announced just after 1 a.m. ET on Thursday morning. The league and players' union will reconvene at noon on Thursday. Stern said the "clock is stopped," referring to his weekend ultimatum that insisted without a deal by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the league's proposal would revert to much more punitive version.

Stern said that no progress had been made on the system issues that remain at stake, but that they would continue to press forward Thursday.

"We're not failing and we're not succeeding," Stern said.

Stern has said in the past that the league would need 30 days from handshake to tip-off for the regular season. The entire November slate has already been cancelled, but it's believed that the league could play close to a full season if a deal is reached soon.


NBA Lockout Talks: 'Incredible Optimism' Deal Will Get Done

Ten hours into NBA lockout talks on Wednesday comes positive feelings from the reporter corps in NBA lockout, where top officials from the league and players' union try to work out a new collective bargaining agreement. Ken Berger of CBS Sports said that a source briefed on the status of Wednesday's talks is "incredibly optimistic" a deal will get done.

If talks break off without a deal and no further meetings scheduled, everyone believes the worst will come to pass: a complete breakdown of negotiations complete with a dissolution of the players' union, a more painful proposal from the owners and potentially a lost season. But with a deal this week, as many as 78 games per team could conceivably be played.

The two sides have had long meetings before, both with and without federal mediator George Cohen. Cohen is not involved in Wednesday's meeting.

Stay tuned for further news and ramificiations by following our NBA lockout StoryStream.


NBA Lockout Talks Extend Past David Stern's Deadline For 50-50 Deal

No one will complain about NBA lockout talks zipping right by David Stern's 5 p.m. ET deadline for a deal including the league's 50-50 revenue split proposal to be done. Stern had laid out that ultimatum after talks failed to produce a deal over the weekend; the players' union successfully lobbied the owners to meet one more time, on Wednesday, before Stern vows to take 50-50 back off the table in favor of a more painful proposal that would surely send this stoppage into outer space.

Small teams including the top negotiators are meeting in New York. They convened at 1 p.m. ET, and are expected to be in for the long haul. If there's no deal by the end of Wednesday, it's expected that the situation will devolve quickly, potentially landing in the courts with a disclaimer of interest filed by union leaders.

The lockout is now 132 days old. We would be in Week 2 of the season if not for the impasse.


NBA Lockout: No Wiggle Room Left In Owners' Offer, Says David Stern

David Stern does not seem terribly interested in negotiating the NBA lockout deal he left on the table last weekend. The commissioner appeared in an interview with NBA TV's David Aldridge shortly after the players' union indicated its interest in meeting Wednesday to hammer out a deal on the league's economic terms. Aldridge asked if Stern had any more wiggle room on the salary cap system changes that players oppose. Stern's response was careful, but not exactly hope-inspiring.

"As of Sunday morning at 3 in the morning there was none left," Stern said.

Stern went on to say that he would take union director Billy Hunter's call out of respect, but that the league's labor relations committee dictates whether the system changes can be modified. Stern and Hunter negotiated the last two collective bargaining agreements in one-on-one meetings, for what it's worth.

Stern has set a 5 p.m. ET Wednesday for the union to accept the league's offer before it becomes a much tougher version.


NBA Lockout: Billy Hunter Says That Despite David Stern's Warning, He Expects Owners' Deal To Remain On Table

David Stern has warned that if players do not accept the owners' current NBA lockout proposal -- which includes a 50-50 revenue split and a few salary cap system constraints -- that on Thursday, the offer will get much, much worse. In a press conference after three dozen players met in New York on Tuesday, union director Billy Hunter essentially called Stern's bluff, saying that he expects the owners to remain willing to cut a deal with a 50-50 revenue split even if there's no resolution on Wednesday.

Stern's deadline, which Hunter called "arbitrary," is at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Hunter told reporters that he plans to call Stern to request a meeting between the two on Wednesday. Hunter and Stern reached the last two collective bargaining deals in one-on-one meetings in 1999 and 2005. (The 1999 deal come midway into a scheduled season. The 2005 deal came hours before a lockout began.)


NBA Lockout: Players' Union Won't Accept Ultimatum Deal, Open To Negotiations

Derek Fisher, the president of the players' union, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that after meeting with representatives from 29 of the 30 teams, he will reject David Stern's NBA lockout ultimatum. Stern had offered a 50-50 revenue split and some additional salary cap restraints, giving the union until Wednesday to take it before the league's proposal got worse.

Fisher did say the union remains open to negotiating with the league on system issues that could make a 50-50 revenue split more palatable.

"We're open-minded on potential compromises on the number, but there are things in the system that are not up for negotiation for us to have a season," Fisher said.

The last remaining system issues include a smaller mid-level exception for luxury tax teams, an additional penalty for teams that exceed the tax line multiple times in a short span and a ban on sign-and-trade deals for tax teams. The union feels that these mechanisms will drop players' negotiating power and constrict player movement.


NBA Lockout Deal Doesn't Have All Owners' Support, Says Report

A set of owners are not happy with the NBA lockout deal that commissioner David Stern has left on the table, reports ESPN's Chris Broussard.

As many as 11 of them participated in a conference call on Monday to grouse or gameplan -- it's unclear -- ahead of Wednesday's deadline for the players' union to accept the deal or face a dramatically worse offer. Regardless, Stern went on SportsCenter Monday evening to reiterate that his offer, if taken by the players, would be approved by the owners. That's not something he would promise without reasonable assurances it were true.

The deal on the table includes a 50-50 split of revenue and a few more salary cap system restrictions. It doesn't appear the union will take this deal, but the players are pushing for one more meeting ahead of Wednesday to attempt to strike an accord. Union president Derek Fisher has indicated that the players, whose most recent revenue split offer was 51 percent for players, could move again if they receive system concessions.


Kobe Bryant Urges More NBA Lockout Talks, Expresses Fear Of 'Nuclear Winter'

L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant isn't quite publicly telling the world he's ready to take the NBA lockout deal on the table, but in a chat with Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the former MVP does say that the owners need to meet the players' union at the table one more time.

"We need for the two sides to get together again before Wednesday, because we're too close to getting a deal done," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Monday. "We need to iron out the last system items and save this from spiraling into a nuclear winter."

NBA commissioner David Stern on Saturday laid down a proposal for a 50-50 split of revenue and some additional salary cap system restraints to tamp down spending among the least frugal teams. He said that if the players do not accept the proposal by Wednesday, the NBA will change its offer to a more Draconian version last seen in June, complete with a hard salary cap.

The union has apparently been pushing for one last meeting behind the scenes.


NBA Lockout Talks Could Yield One More Session Before Deadline

David Stern has set a Wednesday deadline for the players' union to accept the league's 50-50 revenue split offer that comes with a few more system tweaks in the four-month-old NBA lockout saga. No further talks were scheduled after Saturday's session ended with Stern's ultimatum. But that could change.

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the two sides are working on putting together one more bargaining session before the deadline. It's unclear what, if any, conditions the NBA would put on it, given that Stern has presented what essentially makes up an ultimatum, a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Stern said early Sunday and in a letter to union director Billy Hunter published by the New York Times that if players don't accept the deal on the table, the offer will get demonstrably worse on Thursday.

The two sides are painfully close on the revenue split issue, and the remaining system issues seem relatively minor compared to those that have already been worked out.


NBA Lockout: Players' Union Could Turn To Courts After Ultimatum

During the 2010-11 regular season, players' union director Billy Hunter visited each team to talk to his constituents about the likelihood and ramifications of an NBA lockout. As a part of that tour, Hunter had players vote on whether to authorize the union's leadership to disclaim interest if the lockout got sticky, which would remove the organization's collective bargaining powers and open up the NBA to anti-trust litigation.

At the time of the votes, it was reported that players were voting to authorize decertification. It turns out that those were instead votes for a disclaimer, which is the faster but less frightening (for the league) version of decertification. Law professor Gabe Feldman tells CBS Sports' Ken Berger that by disclaiming interest in the union, Hunter would be forging a dangerous path.

The biggest legal benefit to dissolving the union through a disclaimer would be that, once the union was transformed into a trade association, the players could almost immediately file an anti-trust lawsuit against the league -- which in theory would open the owners to not only the financial losses of a canceled season, but also anti-trust damages. In all likelihood, the players would file their action in the 9th Circuit in California, where more employee-favorable law exists. Since the league already has pre-emptively sued in the employer-friendly 2nd Circuit in New York, a messy and potentially lengthy jurisdictional battle would then unfold.


NBA Lockout: David Stern Threatens To Roll Back Existing Player Salaries Without Deal By Wednesday

David Stern has sent a letter to players' union director Billy Hunter outlining what the owners' new NBA lockout proposal will entail if players don't accept the league's current deal, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times. The letter includes a threat to include rollbacks on existing player salaries in a new "reset" proposal. The owners had previously pushed that concept, one that was quite obviously rejected without prejudice by players.

The rollback threat doesn't peg a certain number, though.

In addition, the N.B.A. would roll back existing contracts "in proportion to system changes in order to ensure sufficient market for free agents."

That could mean adjusting the same amount that the revenue split is moving -- from 57 to 47 percent. Previous incarnations of the rollback push called for decreases in committed salary that started at 7.5 percent for 2011-12.

Of course, this push by the league would simply be another proposal, one that the union would surely negotiate back in their direction. It is, for all practical purposes, toothless outside of its existence as a fear-mongering threat.


Players Want More NBA Lockout Talks Before David Stern's Deadline

Top officials from the players' union want to meet with the league before Wednesday's deadline from David Stern to reach a deal on the owners' current proposal before the offer gets worse, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. But it's not clear whether that meeting will happen. Berger reports that hardline owners would prefer the doomsday scenario -- which comes with a threatened drop in the players' share of revenue to 47 percent and the reintroduction of the hard salary cap -- and as such may resist negotiatons that could lead to a deal around the current proposal.

While that's an amazingly dark reading, nothing the owners have done since June has rendered it impossible. Stern made the ultimatum late Saturday, after an eight-hour session mediated by George Cohen in which players dropped their proposed revenue split to 51 percent, provided that the owners offered up concessions on salary cap system issues.


NBA Lockout: League Won't Reveal Projections That Would Bump Players' Salary Under Proposal

The latest NBA lockout proposal presented by owners would allow players to earn an aggregate salary of 49-51 percent of the league's revenue, as described by David Stern after Saturday's negotiations blew up. As Stern explained it, if revenue outpaces projections, any overage would be split 57-43 in players' favor. If revenue did not hit projections, players would take a smaller percentage of revenue. But at no point could the players' share drop below 49 percent or rise above 51 percent.

But there's a critical piece of information missing: where those projections would land.

The league refuses to disclose what projections its using in this proposal, and whether those would change on an annual basis or remain static. That's a huge piece of the puzzle here, especially considering how large a new national TV deal in 2016 looms. Will the NBA's projections account for that, or would we expect 2016-17 revenues to outpace something like a static 4-percent growth projection?

As the public determines its own opinion on the owners' proposal, this sort of information is vital. The players know what's in the deal, but fans and writers are left in the dark. Until we learn otherwise, it might be wise to just assume this is pretty straight 50-50 deal with the outside chance players at some point could get something like 50.3 percent or so.


NBA Lockout Offer Won't Be Presented To Players By Union Leaders

David Stern left the owners' NBA lockout offer -- what amounts to a 50-50 revenue split, the creation of a second, smaller mid-level exception for teams over the luxury tax and a restriction for sign-and-trades for teams over the tax line -- on the table until Wednesday. If it is not accepted by the players' union, the league will drop its offer to 47 percent of revenue for players and what amounts to a hard cap.

Reports from Saturday suggested that a majority of players may be willing to accept a 50-50 deal. But union president Derek Fisher told reporters after talks broke down Saturday that he would not be presenting the NBA's offer for a vote. Why? TrueHoop's Henry Abbott explains, with help from union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler:

Kessler explains the reasoning for the mechanism is because no union wants to let employers address workers directly. You don't want your opponents to have direct access to your constituents. The fully informed committee has an obligation to keep bad deals from the rank and file, who have entrusted the process to them. This protects players from accepting an offer that might sound good to them, but would, in the judgment of those who have analyzed it most thoroughly, actually be bad news.

Despite this, expect fans and some players to agitate for a vote before Wednesday. Whether they'll get it is another matter entirely.


NBA Lockout: Decertification Push Revived By David Stern's Ultimatum

Expect to hear more about the drive by some players and agents to decertify the union after David Stern's 50-50 ultimatum ended NBA lockout talks on Saturday. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that agents are already canvassing their players to determine whether there are enough votes for decertification.

Stern's ultimatum comes with the backdrop of player agents actively canvassing their clients to determine if there were enough votes to move forward with a decertification vote on the union, agent and player sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Before proceeding, agents and players were waiting on the outcome of the weekend's labor talks. Several agents and players believed support would grow for a vote on dissolving the union without significant progress on a deal.

Some 50 players participated in a call with anti-trust lawyer Len Simon on Thursday, with Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce considered the organizer. Most of the players reportedly to be involved in the call and a smaller one held Tuesday are represented by agents who had previously pushed for decertification.

If the players disclaim interest in or decertify the union, a set of them could file anti-trust litigation against the NBA. That would effectively kill the season, as Stern fiercely fought decertification via a federal lawsuit that seeks to disallow it.


NBA Lockout Talks End With Ultimatum From David Stern

NBA lockout talks ended after eight hours on Saturday with commissioner David Stern announcing that players had until Wednesday to agree to a deal that, in his words, could offer up to 51 percent of revenue. If they do not accept the proposal, the NBA will pull it off the table and offer just a 47 percent share of revenue for players going forward.

The players' union did not respond kindly to the ultimatum. Jeffrey Kessler, the union's outside counsel, told reporters that that league's offer would really offer up to just 50.2 percent of revenue, and forcefully said that the union would not be intimidated by Stern's threat. Derek Fisher, the president of the union, also indicated distaste at Stern's ultimatum.

Players moved down to a 51 percent revenue share from 52.5, but Fisher told reporters that Stern and the owners never responded to that proposal. Players made 57 percent under the last deal.

Stay tuned for more reaction from the latest breakdown.


NBA Lockout: Ray Allen Quells Concerns About Decertification Calls

Ray Allen is the first player to speak on the record about two decertification calls held this week amid the NBA lockout saga. While reports of the calls late Thursday sounded alarms around the league, Allen, who participated in the smaller Tuesday call, tamped those down in a talk with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe

"I don't know what kind of feedback or backlash came from it, but I didn't think there was a need for anybody to panic whatsoever, either on our side as a players' union or as owners," he said. "I thought the call was strictly [to explore options]."

Allen went on to explain that, at least on Tuesday's call, talk about decertification centered around exactly what it would mean for the players and union.

"We have complete faith in our union to get the job done," Allen said. "I don't know what was said [Thursday] on the call, but I do know from the guys that were on the call [last week], nobody was anxious to pull the trigger, like we've got to decertify now. Most of the guys [asked], 'What exactly would we be doing if we decertified?' I don't think anybody was panicking."

Allen also confirmed that his Boston Celtics teammate Paul Pierce was the driving force behind the calls.


Owners Meet Ahead Of NBA Lockout Talks; Bargaining And Revenue Sharing On The Table

Representatives from all 30 teams are meeting Saturday morning ahead of the recommencement of NBA lockout talks later in the day. The exact purpose of Saturday's owners' chat remains unclear, though recent reports of dissension in the ranks -- particularly the hardline push to abandon the 50-50 split for something more punitive to players -- could require a firming up of the league's strategy.

Reports have also suggested that further discussion on revenue sharing -- perhaps to appease those hardline owners -- may be the focus of Saturday's meeting. In fact, a league official says that both bargaining issues and revenue sharing will be discussed at the summit.

Whatever the case, developments on Friday suggest ownership is just as disjointed as the union. While the union fights off action from a splinter group seeking to decertify and send this thing fully into the courts, David Stern has to deal with some owners who want to get back on the court right now (like Micky Arison, fined $500,000 last week) and some, like Michael Jordan, who think 50-50 is too good a deal for players (who made 57 percent in the last deal).


Saturday's NBA Lockout Talks May Be 'Headed Straight For Disaster'

Officials from the league and players' union will rekindle NBA lockout talks on Saturday, just over a week after commissioner David Stern killed the entire November schedule. Good, right? Not so fast. From ESPN.com's team of Chris Broussard and Henry Abbott:

The NBA ownership group's labor committee will reopen talks with the players' side Saturday afternoon, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, a meeting one general manager, who has spoken with a few owners, described as "headed straight for disaster." [...]

Sources told ESPN.com's Henry Abbott that in a Thursday evening conference call among owners, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats was among a vocal group of owners upset at NBA commissioner David Stern for not driving a harder bargain to this point. Should Stern and the labor committee agree to a deal with the union, it would become official with ratification by simple majorities of owners and players. Both are in doubt.

Some players, of course, are talking about a decertification end-around to ensure that the union doesn't accept a deal worse than what players have already offered. As many as 14 of the 29 NBA owners not employed by Stern -- the New Orleans Hornets are in control of Stern-appointed Jac Sperling -- may be opposed to even a 50-50 deal. This is not a situation conducive to nuanced discourse and deal-making, is it?


NBA Lockout: Federal Mediator George Cohen To Join Saturday Talks

George Cohen, the federal mediator who was unsuccessful in helping the league and players' union end the NBA lockout in October, will oversee Saturday's negotiations, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Cohen left the table on October 20 after owners allegedly presented the union with a take-it-or-leave-it revenue split offer. NBA commissioner David Stern was not at that fateful meeting, as he was recovering from the flu at home.

After Cohen departed, the league and union held another set of talks, but the revenue split still couldn't be settled. The players won't move higher than 52 percent, after receiving 57 percent of league revenue in the last deal. The owners are pushing for a 50-50 revenue split.

Under Cohen's watch, the two sides did make progress on a host of salary cap system issues. It's believed that few system issues remain at stake, and that those can be dictated in concert with the revenue split in a bit of chip trading.


NBA Lockout: Michael Jordan Reportedly Leading Significant Cabal Of Owners Opposed To Moving Past 50-50

Michael Jordan, the most famous basketball player ever and now the proud owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, is leading a group of 10-14 hardline owners who are demanding that the league not negotiate past its current offer of a 50-50 revenue split, reports the New York Times' Howard Beck.

This cabal may not even like 50-50.

According to the person who spoke with the owners, Jordan's faction intends to vote against the 50-50 deal, if negotiations get that far. Saturday's owners meeting was arranged in part to address that concern.

A majority of the 29 owners are believed to support a 50-50 deal, but they are reluctant to move further.

Jordan's team is one of the NBA's toughest markets, and few would disagree that in retrospect it was a mistake for the league to expand back into Charlotte in 2004. Jordan was recently fined $100,000 by commissioner David Stern for comments he made to an Australian newspaper about the need for a hard salary cap.


NBA Lockout: Paul Pierce Leading Decertification Push By Some Players, Says Report

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski and the New York Times' Howard Beck independently reported late Thursday that as many as 50 players participated in two calls this week to discuss usurping the leadership of the players' union and filing for decertification as the NBA lockout drags on. Wojnarowski reports that Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, who has popped in to lockout talks a couple times to express support for union leaders Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter, has played a lead role in the decert push.

Paul Pierce played a prominent role on both calls, leading the charge on decertification, sources said. Participants in Thursday's call included Dwyane Wade, Jason Kidd, Blake Griffin, Al Horford, Tyson Chandler, Spencer Hawes and DeAndre Jordan, sources said.

Pierce, Wade and Kidd are the big names given their influence in the league as respected veterans. Pierce's agent is Jeff Schwartz, who was one of the seven agents pushing for decertification and warning players against quickly ratifying an agreement presented by union leadership. The agents for Wade (Henry Thomas of CAA), Kidd (Schwartz), Griffin (Sam Goldfelder of Schwartz's Excel Sports Management), Horford (Arn Tellem), Chandler (Schwartz), Hawes (Greg Lawrence of Tellem's agency) and Jordan (Lawrence) were all a part of that push. As such, it would appear -- without knowing the full list of the players on the calls -- that this new movement is closely associated with the last decertification drive.


NBA Lockout Talks Between NBA, NBPA To Resume Saturday, Players Confirm

NBA lockout talks between the NBA owners and the NBA Players Association will resume on Saturday after a eight-day absence, NBPA vice president Roger Mason confirmed after a union meeting on Thursday. The news comes on the heels of a Boston Herald report that suggested the same thing earlier Thursday.

The owners and players last met on October 28, when momentum for a deal was derailed by an argument over Basketball-Related Income. However, Mason told reporters that the players continue to want to discuss various system issues that seemingly were resolved last week. Those issues appear to now be back on the table.

It remains unclear which owners and players will be present at the discussions. The union held its own meeting on Thursday to help address reports of discontent among their ranks, especially those that involve union president Derek Fisher and NBPA head Billy Hunter. Mason said the players remain unified on all core issues.


NBA Lockout Battle Shifts To Courtroom On Wednesday

On Wednesday, representatives from the league and players' union will be the same room for apparently the first time since NBA lockout talks ended (again) on Friday. But this time, it'll be in a courtroom as oral arguments begin in the NBA's federal lawsuit against the National Basketball Players Association.

The suit seeks to block decertification as an option for the players' union. Decertification would allow players to file an anti-trust suit against the league and seek an injunction lifting the lockout, as NFL players did in the spring during their own labor battle. The NBA argues that any decertification by the players' union would be a sham, and that decertification threats have represented bad faith tactics.

In an interestingly threatening note, the NBA also seeks the court's approval to void all existing player contracts if the National Labor Relations Board does not deem the union's potential decertification a sham.

The union has not actually pushed for decertification, despite the concerns of the NBA and a push by major agents last month.


Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter Make More Statements, Will Meet With Board To Talk NBA Lockout

The National Basketball Players Association is not having a great week. After FOXSports.com's Jason Whitlock published a piece alleging that players' union president Derek Fisher had made a side deal on a 50-50 revenue split with NBA commissioner David Stern, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that, essentially, NBPA director Billy Hunter is trying to slime Fisher.

Fisher had sent a letter to the union membership on Monday forcefully pushing back against Whitlock's report; Whitlock responded by doubling down. Fisher and Hunter each put out statements late Tuesday, with Hunter pushing back against all of the allegations and commending Fisher for his work. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Fisher later released a statement demanding retractions from Whitlock and FOXSports.com.

ESPN also reports that union leadership -- Fisher, Hunter and the executive board of player representatives -- plans to meet Thursday in New York to talk strategy and, one would assume, address all of this alleged subterfuge.


Are Players' Union Leaders Billy Hunter And Derek Fisher At Odds In NBA Lockout Battle?

FOXSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock has reported that there is unrest in within the players' union as the NBA lockout drags on, but not from where you'd think. Whitlock reports that National Basketball Players Association director Billy Hunter confronted NBPA president Derek Fisher before Friday's fruitless lockout talks over concerns that Fisher had negotiated a side deal with NBA commissioner David Stern to deliver a 50-50 revenue split.

No other reporter who has been covering lockout talks in New York has substantiated the report. Fisher sent one of his famous letters to the union membership discrediting Whitlock's report. SI.com procured the letter. In part, it reads:

[B]efore these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players. Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for. And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close.


Owners Won't Go Below 50 Percent In NBA Lockout Deal, Says Report

David Aldridge of NBA.com has been as hard on owners throughout the NBA lockout as anyone; in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a duo more willing to report criticial on the league's stance than Aldridge and Steve Aschburner, no matter where their byline appears. It is in that context that Aldridge's column on where the lockout negotiations stand is a bit of a heart-stopper.

The players aren't going to get 52, or 51, or 50.5, or 50.000001, and if they hold out for those numbers, they're not going to have a season. You'd have to be crazy not to see that now, so it's this for the players: take the deal this week or next, or lose the season. If they are willing to die on principle, they wouldn't be the first. But they will die, in the metaphorical sense.

Aldridge reports that even last week, when so much of the civilized world believed a deal was in hand, the owners were really only offering 47 percent of league revenue to players if they accepted the negotiated system changes. If the players wanted 50 percent of revenue, they'd need stronger cap restrictions. If they wanted 51 percent or 52.5 percent (the union's best offer), they'd need a genie in a bottle.

This is bad.


NBA Lockout Deal On Luxury Tax Would Boost Penalty For High-Payroll Teams

Before lighting the month of November on fire, officials from the league and players' union did reach an agreement last week on luxury tax reform last week during NBA lockout negotiations. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports that players agreed to boost the penalties for teams with payrolls well over the salary cap. The old system included just a dollar-for-dollar penalty over the luxury tax threshold, which proved to be a deterrent for only about half of the league in any given season.

Beck reports that the new luxury tax -- once the league restarts operations, either soon, in a few months or next year -- will charge teams over the threshold a 150 percent tax up to $5 million over the threshold. From there on, the tax would be 175 percent up to $10 million above the line, 225 percent up to $15 million over the line and 300 percent above that. Beck calculates that the L.A. Lakers, who paid $20 million in luxury tax last season thanks to a $90 million payroll, would have paid $42.5 million in tax under this system.


David Stern Cancels November Schedule, Rules Out 82-Game Season As NBA Lockout Talks Break Down

David Stern announced the cancellation of the remainder of the league's November schedule and ruled out any possibility of an 82-game season after NBA lockouts broke down for the fourth time in four weeks on Friday. Stern alleged that players' union executive director Billy Hunter walked out of the talks as the two sides made no progress on the split of basketball-related income players will earn in the new deal.

Stern's press conference, part of which was carried live on ESPN's SportsCenter, hit familiar points, as the commissioner maintained that the league hasn't been profitable and that owners can go no further than a 50-50 split of revenue. Players earned 57 percent of revenue in the last collective bargaining agreement.

There are no further meeting scheduled. The season was originally scheduled to commence on Tuesday. Instead, representatives from the league and players' union will meet in federal court on Wednesday.


NBA Lockout: Derek Fisher Says Owners Presented 50-50 Split As 'Take It Or Leave It' Proposal Again

Derek Fisher said Friday that NBA lockout talks broke down after the owners, led by commissioner David Stern, essentially presented a "take it or leave it" proposal to split basketball-related income 50-50. Fisher told reporters covering the lockout meetings that he cannot sell a 50-50 split and owner-requested changes to the salary cap system to his players.

The talks have now broken up three times in October over the owners' unwillingness to move beyond a 50-50 revenue split. Fisher said that the players are down to 52.5 percent; the previous collective bargaining agreement allotted 57 percent of basketball-related income, about $3.8 billion last season, to players in the aggregate.

The two sides are about $100 million per season apart. The league has already cancelled 100 regular season games, and reports suggest Stern will cancel an additional 102 games -- all scheduled contests through November 28 -- later Friday.

Stern is scheduled to speak to reporters Friday evening.


Breakdown Of NBA Lockout Talks Will Lead To More Cancelled Games, Says Report

NBA lockout talks broke down on Friday for the fourth time in four weeks. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that, as a result, NBA commissioner David Stern will announce the cancellation of additional games late Friday. It hasn't been reported how many games the league will lose, and whether a quick restart of talks over the weekend could save those games and the ones cancelled by Stern weeks ago.

In early October, Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season, claiming 100 games. But as optimism rose in recent days, Stern indicated that the league would preserve as many games as possible once a deal was reached. Reports that all 82 games could be played in a season starting Dec. 1 crept out.

On the bright side, given Stern's previous statements that the league needs 30 days from handshake to basketball, the league and players' union have until Tuesday to get a deal and, in theory, keep an 82-game schedule.


NBA Lockout Talks Ended As Players' Union Would Drop No Further Than 52 Percent Of Revenue, Says Report

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reports that Friday's breakdown in the NBA lockout talks came as officials from the players' union would not drop below 52 percent of the league's revenue in negotiations. It's not clear whether owners were willing to drop below their proposed 50 percent mark. The union came in having gone as low as 52.5 percent.

Over the past two days, the two sides had been negotiating system issues, such as the luxury tax and salary cap exceptions. The negotiators purposefully took the revenue split off of the table because it lead to the most fiery, destructive breakdown in talks on Oct. 20, as the owners reportedly gave the union an ultimatum, take-it-or-leave-it offer for a 50-50 split. David Stern told the media late Thursday that everything would be negotiable in Friday's talks.

Windhorst also reports that more cancellations of regular season games will come on Friday. Stay tuned.


NBA Lockout Talks Reportedly Break Up Without Deal As Revenue Split Still At Issue

NBA lockout talks have broken up again, reports ESPN's Chris Broussard. The scribe reports that owners and players remain a couple percentage points apart on the split of league revenue. The owners have proposed a 50-50 of the NBA's basketball-related income, which amounted to $3.8 billion last season. The players, who received 57 percent in the last deal, has stuck at 52.5 percent.

The distance between the league and union coming into Friday's talks amounted to roughly $100 million per season.

The two sides met for 22 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, and both NBA commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter expressed optimism late Thursday. Numerous reporters also quoted sources who were hopeful a deal could be closed in on Friday and completed within a few days. The two sides only negotiated so-called "system issues" on Wednesday and Thursday, including luxury tax reform, salary cap exceptions and trade rules.

We'll keep you updated as information becomes available.


NBA Lockout: E-Mails Informing Team Employees To Prepare For End Of Stoppage Aren't New, Source Tells SBNation.com

E-mails directing team employees to prepare for the end of the NBA lockout reported by Deadspin on Friday are not new occurrences, a league source tells SBNation.com. Similar e-mails preparing staff for the commencement of normal league operations have gone out during each major set of talks since August.

Top officials from the NBA and its players' union met for 22 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, with David Stern and union director Billy Hunter expressing optimism that a deal could be completed Friday or soon thereafter. Reports have surfaced indicating that the league has reached out to arena operators in an effort to maintain flexibility on late April 2012 dates, with the idea being that the regular season would be stretched until the end of that month if the lockout ends this weekend and an 82-game schedule is preserved.

Deadspin reported on Friday that employees of the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers were gearing up to return to normal operations as soon as Monday.


NBA Lockout Deal Near, Team Employees Told Be Prepared To Get Back To Work, Says Report

Employees of the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have been told to prepare for the NBA lockout to be lifted soon, with "business as usual" in effect as soon as Monday, reports Barry Petchesky of Deadspin.

The New Jersey Nets ticket sales office, idle for most of the fall, is holding a series of hastily called meetings today under the theme "Be Ready." One staffer tells us that a department-wide email has been circulated, instructing employees that "it's time to get back to work." The short-staffed 76ers' team office has been told that Monday will be "all hands on deck," as per orders from the league.

Top officials from the NBA and players' union are meeting in New York City, ironing out pretty major issues left unresolved through Thursday's talks. Both NBA commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter seemed encouraged that a deal could be reached as early as Friday in a chat with reporters after Thursday's session. The sides met for 15 hours on Wednesday and early Thursday and another seven hours on Thursday.

UPDATE: This type of e-mail to team employees is not new.


NBA Lockout: Amnesty Clause Could Have Two-Year Grace Period, According To Report

An amnesty clause approved in an NBA lockout deal might not be one that teams have to use immediately, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Stein reports that San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt -- the chair of the league's labor committee -- is pushing to allow teams to hang on to their amnesty clause for at least two years. Steins says that the amnesty clause approved in 2005 had a two-week deadline.

That could be huge in terms of player movement, and would add a massive wrinkle to trade talks. If teams could save their amnesty clause, they may be more willing to acquire hefty contracts to land prized assets. As a direct result, teams like the Orlando Magic with multiple disastrous contracts could be able to rebuild more quickly, using their own amnesty clause on one player (like Hedo Turkoglu) and dealing another (like Gilbert Arenas) with an asset (like Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson or [gulp] Dwight Howard).

Of course, the biggest way that the new amnesty clause is different than the Michael Finley rule of 2005 is that cutting a player under the clause won't just give teams luxury tax savings: it will allow teams to shave salary cap space itself. This is going to have a major impact on the league's next four or five seasons.


NBA Lockout: Owners Move Away From Steeply Punitive Luxury Tax, Says Report

Owners have moved away from a steeply punitive luxury tax system in the latest rounds of NBA lockout talks, reports SI.com's Zach Lowe. The league had been pushing for a graduated luxury tax in which the penalty increased as teams' payrolls got further from the salary cap. The old luxury tax system, in place for the past decade, was a simple dollar-for-dollar penalty above a threshold that ended up being roughly 20 percent higher than the league-set salary cap.

A few teams have seen fit to exceed the luxury tax threshold annually under the old rule; the Dallas Mavericks paid the tax in each season during which it was in effect, and the New York Knicks joined them every year until 2010-11, after GM Donnie Walsh cleared the decks for the 2010 free agent class.

Owners wanted a new system to make teams like the Mavericks, Knicks and L.A. Lakers -- who went $20 million over the tax line in each of the past two seasons -- think twice before adding players when they have already crossed the tax threshold. The players' union has reportedly agreed to strengthen the tax penalties somewhat, but wasn't willing to go as far as owners wanted to. We'll see where exactly the negotations end up.

This is separate but parallel to attempts by the league to regulate the types of moves teams over the tax line can make, which would essentially create two different salary caps in the NBA.


NBA Lockout: Salary Cap Exceptions, Not Luxury Tax, The Current Hang-Up

With the NBA lockout "on the cusp" of being solved, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the biggest remaining issues on the salary cap system end of the negotiating spectrum is not with luxury tax reform itself, but with limitations on the use of the popular mid-level and bi-annual salary cap exceptions.

The exceptions were created in 1999 as a way to allow teams to add a couple of players above the minimum salary, even if those teams were over the cap. (In fact, teams could only use those exceptions if they were over the cap or less than the value of the specific exception in question under the cap.) The mid-level, in recent years, grew to as much as $32 million over five years. The bi-annual exception -- available for use by teams every other season -- is worth close to $4 million over two years.

Woj reports that owners still want to place limitations on the use of the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions for teams over the luxury tax line. There may be other issues with new regulations for teams above the tax, such as restrictions on sign-and-trades. But Woj indicates that the nature of the new tax -- which is expected to be more punitive than the dollar-for-dollar system used in the past -- is not a major issue in negotiations at this point.

The sides reconvene at 10:30 a.m. ET.


NBA Lockout: League Reportedly Asks Arenas To Keep Late April Dates Open

If a deal to end the NBA lockout deal is reached within the next few days, as is widely hoped and seen as plausible at this point, commissioner David Stern has said that the league would like to save as many games as possible, leaving open the potential for November games already cancelled to be added back in. To do that completely within the old regular season schedule would produce some nasty road trips. But the league may have another idea.

According to Howard Beck of the New York Times, the NBA has begun to ask arena officials to hold open dates in late April, with the assumption that the league would schedule regular season games beyond the traditional mid-April cutoff and push back the playoffs.

Arenas already keep a certain number of late April, May and early June dates open for postseason play (though there are always quiet battles for dates between the NBA and other major event circuits, like WWE). But every NBA arena would need to keep at least a few dates in late April open to shift the regular season there, and the playoff commitment would likely extend at least a week later, assuming that the league can't condense the first three rounds of the postseason by more than a week.


NBA Lockout Talks: Sign-And-Trades Survive Negotiations, Says Report

The sign-and-trade, that old bastion of salary cap flouting that has allowed nominal stars win fatter contracts and high-spending teams to add stacks on stacks on stacks onto their payroll, has survived the latest round of NBA lockout talks, reports ESPN shark Marc Stein. Owners had sought to kill the sign-and-trade in order to help level out team payrolls, but have apparently conceded that request.

Stein also reports that still up in the air is whether teams over the luxury tax will be allowed to use the sign-and-trade. The players' union has expressed wide concern about the league creating a luxury tax line that effectively acts like a hard salary cap; putting restrictions on the types of moves that can be made at the tax line would fit that concern.

Sign-and-trade contracts are typically used in two situations: when a team near or over the salary cap wants to acquire a free agent and has an asset the free agent's incumbent team is interested in (see: David Lee to the Golden State Warriors) or when a free agent is leaving for a team with cap space but wants to sign a Birds right deal with its longer allowable terms and higher allowable annual raises (see: LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat).

Keeping the sign-and-trade around will help facilitate a high level of player movement. But its cost is payroll parity. The negotiation on the luxury tax clause will be an important one.


NBA Lockout Talks Stretch 15 Hours As League, Union Claims Progress

NBA lockout talks reconvened on Wednesday in New York City, and representatives from the league and players' union had their longest bargaining session yet, stretching 15 hours, into the wee morning on Thursday. Afterward, in comments to the exhausted media, each side agreed that progress had been made on salary cap issues.

"We were able to work through a number of different issues today regarding our system," union president Derek Fisher said. "We can't say that major progress was made in any way, but some progress was made on system issues. Obviously enough for us to come back."

The two small groups will return to the bargaining table on Thursday. NBA commissioner David Stern left open the possibility of getting all 82 games in if a deal is agreed to by this weekend. That would take some real acrobatics, given that everyone projects the earliest regular season game from the day a handshake deal is reached is about 30 days out.


NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Reportedly 'Inching Closer To A Deal'

NBA lockout talks resumed on Wednesday, and CBS Sports' Ken Berger offers the best news we've had in months: a source says that owners and players are "inching closer to a deal."Owners dropped their precondition on the players accepting a 50-50 revenue split before negotiating the league's proposed "system changes," setting up Wednesday's session. But that doesn't mean the league was necessarily willing to move off of 50-50, especially considering that the owners made the same demand two weeks ago. (They came off it of it then, too.)

This could be a mirage, but that willingness to negotiate again could signal a willingness to move on the major issues. Perhaps the quickly approaching practical deadline to reach a deal before all of November is lost can jolt the sides into compromise. Or perhaps thicker heads can continue to prevail. We should know more by the end of this week, as the two sides seem incapable of meeting for more than three days in a row.


NBA Lockout Talks Resume Without 50-50 Precondition, Says Report

When a few top officials from the league and players' union rekindle NBA lockout talks on Wednesday, it will not happen under the precondition that players accept the owners' 50-50 revenue split proposal, reports Chris Sheridan.

Talks broke down last Thursday when owners, led by San Antonio Spurs boss Peter Holt, told representatives from the players' union that no further negotiations on changes to the salary cap system would be held until the players accepted the league's proposed 50-50 split of revenue. Players balked at the ultimatum, talks broke off and federal mediator George Cohen bolted for the exits.

Accepting a 50-50 split would represent a drawdown in total player salary of about $280 million compared to last season. The NBA has claimed its teams lost $300 million last season. The union has contended that half of those losses stem from depreciation and interest payments on debt -- losses that are fine to report to the IRS but that have no place in the discussion when asking for severe employee concessions. 

It's unclear if the two sides will get anywhere, but having them in the same room is better than not.


NBA Lockout: League, Union Representatives Reportedly Spoke On Monday

Representatives from both sides of the NBA lockout spoke on Monday, reports ESPN's Chris Broussard. It's unclear what exactly the discussion entailed and how long it lasted, and no new formal negotiations have been announced. But the league and players' union are in fact communicating.

Billy Hunter, the director of the players' union, said Monday on Bill Simmons' podcast that the union will meet with the league to resume negotiations provided that owners become willing to negotiate without players accepting the proposed 50-50 revenue split as a precondition. That ultimatum reportedly led to the dissolution of talks on Thursday, and has put another two weeks of regular season action in jeopardy.

The NBA and players' union negotiated for three straight days last week, a record high during this lockout. In comparison, the NFL and its players' union negotiated for 16 straight days about a month before its lockout even began.


NBA Lockout To Claim 102 More Regular Season Games on Tuesday, Says Report

The NBA lockout will claim two more weeks of the regular season on Tuesday as commissioner David Stern will cancel an additional 102 games, report Frank Isola and Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. If the report is accurate, Stern will have cancelled 202 games -- or 16 percent of the regular season, plus the entire preseason -- as a result of locking out players while the sides fight over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Talks broke off for the third time in three weeks on Thursday, as federal mediator George Cohen was unable to break a stalemate on the revenue split players would earn under a new deal. Players had earned 57 percent of league revenue over the last decade. The league refused to negotiate the rest of the collective bargaining agreement last Thursday unless the union conceded to a 50-50 split of revenue. The players have gone as low as 52.5 percent.


NBA Lockout: Mediator Says 'No Useful Purpose' To Continue Talks

Federal mediator George Cohen said there was "no useful purpose" to continue NBA lockout talks on Thursday after officials from the league and players' union again reached an impasse on the revenue split issue. In a statement released as NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt explained why owners and players broke off the talks, Cohen said that mediated negotiations held from Tuesday through Thursday were productive, there was no point to keeping the sides in a room.

"As a follow up to the NBA's and NBA Players Association agreeing to my invitation to conduct negotiations under the auspices of the FMCS, three days of mediation have taken place," Cohen wrote. "During this period, a wide variety of issues were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner, consistent with what one would expect to take place in a constructive collective bargaining setting.

"Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held, competing positions that separated them on core issues.

"In these circumstances, after carefully reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered judgment of myself and Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, who has been engaged with me throughout this process, that no useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time. For our part, the Agency has advised the parties that we will be willing and prepared to continue to facilitate any future discussions upon their mutual request."


NBA Lockout: Players' Union Wouldn't Dip Below 52.5% Revenue Split, Says League

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, in announcing that NBA lockout talks had broken off on Thursday, said that once the owners moved their revenue split proposal to 50-50, the players' union moved to a 52.5 percent share and would not go further. Players were mandated 57 percent of NBA revenue over the past decade, and prior to Thursday had offered to drop to 53 percent. The owners themselves were at 53 percent on Wednesday -- though commissioner David Stern had said in the past he could sell his owners on 50 percent.

Silver did not announce further cancellations on Thursday, but those are due to come with the league and union not planning to meet again anytime soon. The regular season was slated to begin on November 1, but Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the season 10 days ago. One hundred games were lost in that round of cancellations.

The 2.5 percent of NBA revenue that separates the owners and union at this point amounts to roughly $100 million per season.


NBA Lockout Talks Break Off As Owners, Players Fail To Reach Agreement On Revenue Split

NBA lockout talks broke off for the third time in three weeks on Thursday as federal mediator George Cohen apparently could not get officials from the league and players' union to make major concessions on the key hurdles holding up the 2010-11 season. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that talks had broken off after 7 p.m. on Thursday with no further meetings scheduled.

Woj also reported that a failure to reach an agreement on a revenue split is what did the latest talks in. Before Cohen got the groups together on Tuesday, each side wanted 53 percent of revenue in a new deal, with the other side taking 47 percent. (Players had received 57 percent of revenue in the recently expired deal.) The league had reportedly moved to a 50-50 offer by the end of Wednesday's session, but apparently the union would not meet them there.

The first two weeks of the regular season -- some 100 games -- had already been cancelled by NBA commissioner David Stern. More cancellations are expected.


NBA Lockout: Revenue Sharing Could Net Small-Market Teams $15 Million Annually, Says Report

The NBA's new revenue sharing plan -- being negotiated by owners on a parallel track to the ongoing NBA lockout talks with the players' union -- could net small-market teams up to $15 million per year, reports the New York Times' Howard Beck, citing a source who has seen the plan. Large-market teams would be funding the program, with the high-revenue L.A. Lakers in for an estimated $50 million per year and the New York Knicks expected to contribute up to $30 million.

The NBA has a modest revenue sharing plan already, with a total of up to $60 million shared between teams. NBA commissioner David Stern had said that he expects owners to approve a plan to triple that level of revenue sharing.

NBA owners discussed the revenue sharing plan at a meeting Thursday morning before league officials and top representatives of the players' union reunited with federal mediator George Cohen for additional lockout talks late Thursday. The first two weeks of the regular season have already been cancelled.


NBA Lockout: Adam Silver Doesn't Dismiss Possibility Of 82-Game Schedule

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver spoke to reporters briefly after meetings between the league's owners wrapped up Thursday and just before NBA lockout talks reconvened in New York. Silver, the league's lead lockout negotiator, took the podium because his boss David Stern is out with the flu. In response to a question about reports of the potential for an 82-game schedule despite Stern's previous cancellation of the first two weeks of the regular season, Silver hedged and said he was unsure if that was possible.

While it was vague and less than noncommittal, that he didn't dismiss the suggestion outright represents a different line than what the league has been offering since Stern announced the cancellations last week.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that a league source indicated that if a deal is reached this week, an 82-game schedule could still be made a reality. However, with the London Olympics beginning on July 28, the NBA would be in a massive time-crunch to get the season tipped off.


NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Reportedly Closer On Revenue Split

Long NBA lockout talks on Tuesday and Wednesday have led to tangible progress on at least one major issue, as Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that owners and the players' union have gotten closer on the revenue split.

As long expected, the two sides have moved closer to a "50-50 split, give or take a point with ranges based on revenue performance," one source said.

The two sides had been stuck on 53-47 offers, with the league and union respectively desiring the bigger share. In the recently expired collective bargaining agreement, players took 57 percent of basketball-related income, some $2.1 billion last season. The 53 percent share the union had been offering in talks represented salary concessions of $140 million for next season, in addition to a virtual concession of escrow funds amounting to 8 percent that teams keep on hand to balance the split at the end of the seaosn.

Woj went on to quote anonymous executives who were hesitant to characterize the revenue split movement as a "breakthrough." Owners will discuss revenue sharing on Thursday before talks reconvene in the afternoon.


NBA Lockout Talks To Continue Thursday As Owners Caucus

Federal mediator George Cohen announced Wednesday evening that NBA lockout talks would continue on Thursday at the conclusion of owners' meetings in New York City. The two sides met with Cohen for 16 hours on Tuesday and early Wednesday, and again for nearly nine hours on Wednesday. Tuesday marked the first negotiating session between the league and players' union since NBA commissioner David Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season on Oct. 10.

Cohen offered no insight on the state of negotiations, and reiterated that he has asked league and union officials to stay mum. Cohen has no authority in his role as mediator, but both sides have heretofore acceded to his wishes.

The NBA has not cancelled additional games as threatened by Stern in comments to the media late last week. Stern had said that without a deal by the end of Tuesday, he could cancel games through Christmas.


NBA Lockout Talks To Continue Wednesday Morning

The band will get back together on Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET to continue NBA lockout talks that stretched for 16 hours on Tuesday and early Wednesday. David Stern, Billy Hunter and the bargaining committees for each side will again meet with federal mediator George Cohen, who began work on the lockout on Monday.

After meeting with each side separately on Monday, Cohen led a bargaining session more than twice as long as any that came before it. The league and players' union have been unable to make progress despite heavy negotiating over the past month, and it appears that Tuesday was no exception, as not one reporter passed on leaked info that pointed to real progress on the major issues that vex the sides.

It seems unlikely that the Wednesday talks will go around the clock; NBA owners are in New York for league meetings, some of which have been rescheduled to allow for lockout talks early Wednesday.


NBA Lockout Talks Stretch 16 Hours, But Reportedly End With Little Progress

NBA lockout talks spanned 16 hours on Tuesday and early Wednesday, with federal mediator George Cohen keeping negotiators from the league and players' union in a conference room from 10 a.m. ET until 2 a.m. But reports out of New York suggest no major progress was made during the session, which has been cast as a "building blocks" meeting for a Wednesday session.

From Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

At one point late into the night, it was decided that the two sides needed to come back later Wednesday -- a session that is expected to decide whether the change of format and removal of emotion will yield movement in each side's position. A person with knowledge of the talks described Tuesday's session as laying the "building blocks" for Wednesday.

NBA owners had been scheduled to meet among themselves to review revenue sharing plans and lockout deal points, but the league's labor committee will instead reconvene with Cohen and players' union reps at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that any progress made Tuesday came only on small items.

Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: "On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going."


NBA Lockout: League, Players' Union Enter Mediation, With Hope Of Progress

Top officials from the league and players' union met with federal mediator George Cohen on Monday, and NBA lockout talks will resume Tuesday with Cohen in the room. Talks broke off a week ago after the two sides failed to reach a deal by NBA commissioner David Stern's deadline to preserve an 82-game season. Stern later went on an extensive media tour to frame the debate as union director Billy Hunter met with players and dig his part to fire up the rhetoric.

Cohen previously served as general counsel for the players' union in the 1990s, and served as a mediator in the 2004 NHL lockout and 2011 NFL lockout. (Cohen's run with the NFL ended when the players' union decertified; federal mediation is not available in those cases.)

Stern indicated on Monday that if a deal is reached soon, the NBA could start its regular season within 30 days. The first two weeks of the regular season -- some 100 games -- have been cancelled, but reports have suggested that an 82-game schedule could kick off December 1 with condensed rest. That remains unconfirmed.


NBA Lockout: League, Players' Union Officials To Meet Separately With Federal Mediator Monday

Officials from the league and players' union will meet separately with federal mediator George Cohen on Monday in the latest attempt to break the NBA lockout stalemate. The top negotiators from each side are slated to meet with Cohen in a bargaining session setting on Tuesday, as well.

National Basketball Players Association head Billy Hunter said in a Friday press conference that the union had wanted to meet with Cohen all week, but that the league refused to cancel or postpone owners' meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. According to report, owners will discuss revenue sharing on Wednesday and negotiating positions with regards to the lockout on Thursday.

Cohen was involved in the 2004 NHL lockout (which lasted more than a year and cost an entire season) and the recent NFL lockout. The NFL and its players' union actually went into mediation before the owners locked out players; the stoppage dragged on for more than four months and resulted in one cancelled preseason game. Before its first meeting with a mediator, the NBA will have cancelled its entire preseason and 100 regular season games.


Billy Hunter Warns That Some Teams May Not Survive NBA Lockout

After a half-dozen broadcast interviews starring commissioner David Stern, players' union director Billy Hunter took to the spotlight, speaking to reporters after 30 players met to discuss NBA lockout strategy in Los Angeles on Friday. Hunter came out as aggressive as you'd imagine, trying to fight back against Stern's push to make players look greedy. In the process, Hunter got a bit silly, suggesting that the league could lose teams like the Sacramento Kings to "forced contraction" if the lockout continues much longer.

From ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin and J.A. Adande:

"If everybody begins to dig into their respective positions, then I think the league will be decimated. It took us five years to recover from the 1998 lockout and there's probability that we may never recover [from this lockout]," Hunter told ESPN before Friday's sit-down with players. "I think there will be some teams that won't survive. Particularly if the season gets shut down, there will be teams that will not be around next year."

Of course, contraction of even one team would mean the loss of 15 union jobs and about $60 million in player salary. That's equivalent to about 1.5 percent of basketball-related income. It's a meaningless statement from Hunter.

The two sides are scheduled to meet with mediator George Cohen on Monday, with a full bargaining session on Tuesday. NBA owners will then meet on Wednesday and Thursday. No one expects a deal to come together next week. Stern has warned he'll kill all games through Christmas if there's no deal by the end of Tuesday.


NBA Lockout: League, Players' Union Officials To Meet With Federal Mediator

Billy Hunter, the director of the National Basketball Players' Association, announced on New York's WFAN on Wednesday afternoon that officials from the league and players' union will meet with a federal mediator to attempt to inject life back into NBA lockout talks. The meeting will go down on Monday, Hunter said.

The talks broke off on Monday as the sides failed to reach a deal on system issues such as luxury tax modifications and salary cap reforms. The sides also remain at odds on the share of league revenue players will be paid each season. The old collective bargaining agreement allotted players 57 percent; the union's best offer has moved to 53 percent, while the owners have proposed a 47 percent share for players.

The NFL and its players' union met with a mediator before Roger Goodell locked out players last winter. Despite several mediation sessions, the NFL lockout ran until July.


Ben Gordon Discouraged By NBA Lockout Talks Experience, Thinks League Could Miss Two Seasons

Some might say that Ben Gordon is in part a portion of the reasoning for the NBA lockout. The Detroit Pistons guard signed a five-year, $58 million contract a couple of years ago, after all, and then followed that up with a couple of sub-par seasons -- at least in proportion to his salary.

The Pistons guard would still like to prove that he's worthy of that contract though. Unfortunately for the fans, however, Gordon doesn't see that being able to happen anytime soon.

"I think there will be more games missed," Gordon told the Detroit Free Press. "I expect it might be a year or two. I realized that when I was listening to both sides during the negotiations. I think there will be a lot of games missed and more money is going to go down the drain. I'm preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best."

The fact that Gordon mentioned a year "or two" is probably the most discouraging part of his quotes to the newspaper -- and  that's discounting his memories of the experience he had as a member of the negotiating meetings last month.

"It just seemed scripted, and they were going through the motions," Gordon told the Free Press. "Sitting there in front of them you could tell they weren't focused on getting a deal. I still don't know the purpose of those meetings."

It's difficult to disagree with Gordon's sentiments considering the meetings apparently didn't accomplish anything, but it's still not fun to read the first-hand account.


NBA Lockout: Details Of League's Luxury Tax Plan Revealed

Zach Lowe of SI.com has the scoop on how the league's luxury tax proposal, presented in the most recent set of NBA lockout talks, would have worked. The players' union rejected the proposal as a de facto hard salary cap, which the owners have previously taken off the table.

Lowe reports that the tax would have come in at 175 percent for payroll in excess of the threshold, which would be set at a place similar to what it was last season ($70 million, or $11 million higher than the soft cap). For every $5 million over the threshold teams went, the penalty for that excess would raise another 50 cents on every dollar. So if the threshold was set at $70 million and a team amassed $80 million in salary, the luxury tax bill would be $20 million ($5 million taxed at 175 percent, $5 million taxed at 225 percent). This would go on as high as it needed to. Lowe calculates that under this system, the L.A. Lakers would have paid $53 million in luxury tax last season as opposed to the $23 million they actually put out.

Under the proposed system, teams like the Lakers would certainly be less willing to use items like the mid-level exception and veteran's minimum on players that get the team into these higher tax brackets. It would certainly serve its purpose to shrink the payroll gap, which may not help competitive balance but can't hurt.


NBA Lockout: David Stern, Billy Hunter Blame Cancelled Games On 'System Issues'

Of all the reasons to cancel part of a season, the NBA lockout features perhaps the most mind-numbing, as league commissioner David Stern and players' union director Billy Hunter cited so-called "system issues" as the major hurdle not cleared by Monday, leading to the deletion of 100 games from the NBA schedule.

The system issues include the luxury tax system and controls on how the Bird rights exception can be used. All are important issues, but don't directly impact the revenue levels of players or teams in the aggregate. A harder cap via a more punitive luxury tax and restrictions on Bird rights usage would even out team payrolls, keeping high-revenue teams from spending much more than their competitors, but also requiring those competitors to share player payroll expenses more evenly.

The length of the deal was another bizarre sticking point, according to Stern. The league wanted a 10-year deal while the union pushed for six years in order to have an opportunity to re-negotiate should new national TV contracts come in as large as expected. There may have been some common ground reached on this issue, but the idea that any serious time was spent on it as the league approached a doomsday scenario is awe-striking.


NBA Lockout: 100 Games Cancelled By David Stern, Including Big Opening Night Doubleheader

David Stern's decision to cancel the first two weeks of the season as the NBA lockout could not be solved by Monday has cost the league a full 100 games, averaging out to about seven per team. That's 8 percent of the regular season; the commissioner said that those games will not be made up if an agreement is reached in the coming weeks, ensuring a shortened season.

Among the games lost is what would have been a thrilling opening night doubleheader on TNT: the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks against MVP Derrick Rose and the Eastern finalist Chicago Bulls, followed by the L.A. Lakers vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two great matchups filled with great players, gone.

ESPN will lose its November 2 doubleheader featuring the ratings-gold Miami Heat and the rebooted New York Knicks, followed by those Lakers and the Golden State Warriors in what would have been Mark Jackson's debut as a head coach. Jackson spent the last several years as an ESPN and ABC commentator.


David Stern Cancels First Two Weeks Of Season As NBA Lockout Rolls On

The NBA lockout has cost the league the first two weeks of the regular season, as commissioner David Stern followed through with his threat to cancel games as a deal couldn't be reached by the end of a seven-hour bargaining session on Monday.

Most teams will lose six to eight games. The NBA had been scheduled to tip off on November 1. Stern emphasized that these games had been cancelled, not postponed, meaning that for the second time in 13 years, the NBA will play a season shortened by an owner lockout.

Even worse, these cancellations will likely beget more cancellations, as the NBA and players' union has shown it can only negotiate when up against a deadline. The NBA lost 32 games in 1998-99, only cutting a deal with the union as Stern threatened to cancel the entire season in January 1999.

Stay tuned to SBNation.com for coverage of the aftermath.


NBA Lockout: Games Could Be Postponed, Not Cancelled, If Additional Talks Are Warranted

NBA lockout talks continue, as officials from the league and players' union rekindled negotiations late Sunday and again Monday in advance of David Stern's deadline to preserve an 82-game season. Stern had warned last Tuesday that without a deal in place by Monday, the first two weeks of the regular season would be lost.

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there's another path.

Stern could call for "postponement" of 1st two weeks of regular season - not a cancellation - if progress warrants more talks, source says.

That would force the NBA, if it finds a deal in "overtime," to squash about eight games per team into the four-month regular season. It's less likely that the league would attempt to make it up on the back-end and delay the playoffs, pushing the NBA Finals in late June.

Whatever the case, progress solid enough to postpone and not cancel games will be welcome respite to fans eager to see the players back on the court.


NBA Lockout: Deal On Smaller Mid-Level Exceptions Near, Says Report

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that, according to sources briefed on ongoing NBA lockout talks, the league and players' union are near a deal ... on changes to the mid-level exception. Needless to say, the mid-level is the cucumber slice in the grand salad of lockout trouble as the two sides work to hammer out a deal on Monday, lest NBA commissioner David Stern cancel the first two weeks of the regular season.

Mid-level exceptions allow teams over the salary cap to sign players to deals with a starting salary of up to $5.7 million. The deal must be three years long and can be as long as five years, with at least two seasons fully guaranteed. In practice, the mid-level is typically used to overpay middling veterans; rare is the mid-level exception player who earns out his deal.

But progress is progress. We'll see how far player concessions on the mid-level get us to a deal.


NBA Lockout Talks: No Agreement On Luxury Tax System, Either

Lest you think the NBA lockout continues solely because the league and players' union can't agree on a revenue split, think again. Zach Lowe of SI.com reports that luxury tax reforms remain a sticking point, as the union has bristled at the league's concept of a graduating super tax that could charge top-spending teams as much as $4 for every dollar they are over the threshold.

Lowe reported last week that the sides were discussing other concepts, including one that would disallow teams over the tax threshold to use their mid-level exception in subsequent seasons. Teams typically find themselves over the tax line by using their salary cap exceptions to add players (the L.A. Lakers do this consistently), executing sign-and-trade deals to add free agents and by trading expiring contracts for players with guaranteed, longer-term contracts.

The two sides apparently did not reach a deal on this matter during a 5-1/2 hour meeting on Sunday during which the revenue split was not discussed.


NBA Lockout Talks Held Sunday Didn't Touch Revenue Split, Says Reports

According to multiple reports, the NBA lockout talks held Sunday in New York City revolved around system issues and didn't broach the controversial and potentially season-killing revenue split between players and teams. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears were among those reporting that the officials who met for 5-1/2 hours late Sunday focused on salary cap structure and other items -- not the all-important split.

The revenue split determines a max aggregate salary level of the league's players. It had been 57 percent over the last nine seasons, meaning that each season, players would be paid exactly 57 percent of the league's basketball-related income. The league currently wants to drop that to 50 percent. The players' union has held steady at 53 percent. This is seen as the make-or-break issue in these talks, though there was a fair amount of consternation over a league-proposed hard team salary cap a few weeks ago.

The two sides will meet Monday at 2 p.m. ET. One assumes that the revenue split will be on the table. NBA commissioner David Stern has said that without a deal in place on Monday, the first two weeks of the regular season will be cancelled.


NBA Lockout Talks To Resume On Monday Afternoon With Season On The Line

Top officials from the league and players' union met for 5-1/2 hours on Sunday night in New York City in last-ditch NBA lockout talks. NBA commissioner David Stern has set a Monday deadline for a deal to be reached before he cancels the first two weeks of the regular season. The result of Sunday's meeting: the two sides will meet again on Monday, at 2 p.m. ET per Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That Monday meeting, now considered a last chance to preserve an 82-game schedule, has caused the postponement of a players' union meeting scheduled for Los Angeles on Monday. Billy Hunter, the director of the National Basketball Players Association, was set to leave for that meeting on Sunday before league officials took a 50-50 revenue split off the table as a condition for meeting. (It's still believed that the owners would like a 50-50 split.)

NBPA president Derek Fisher told reporters staking out Sunday's meeting that the sides were "not necessarily closer" at the end of the meeting vs. when they entered, at which point the union had pushed for a deal allowing players to earn a total of 53 percent of league income. The two sides made great progress in their last meeting on Tuesday, but talks stopped at that point with players bristling over the league's apparent "take or leave it" 50-50 offer.

Stay tuned to SBNation.com for lockout coverage on Monday.


NBA Lockout: League Dropped Insistence On 50-50 Revenue Split, Says Report

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Sunday's last-ditch NBA lockout talks came about because the league dropped its insistence on a 50-50 split of revenues in a new collective bargaining agreement. The players' union had requested a Monday morning late this past week, but the NBA says it replied that while it would be willing to negotiate items other than the split, it would not be moving from its 50-50 offer. That condition has now been removed, which could mean that the league is willing to go to 51-49 or points beyond to salvage the season.

NBA commissioner David Stern had set a Monday deadline to preserve an 82-game schedule. It's unclear whether the top officials from the league and union will meet again Monday, or if Sunday's session -- which will reportedly include Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, union president Derek Fisher, union director Billy Hunter and select staff -- is the last chance to crank out a deal.


Last-Ditch NBA Lockout Talks To Be Held Sunday, According To Report

Top officials from the league and players' union will be in last-minute NBA lockout talks on Sunday, reports the New York Times' Howard Beck. Negotiations came to a screaming halt on Tuesday as players walked out when the league asserted it would not move from its position on a 50 percent split of basketball-related income. (Players had received 57 percent in each of the past nine seasons, and haven't been below 53 percent in decades.)

As late as early Sunday, the sides were determined not to meet, as the union bristled at the league's insistence on holding to a 50-50 split and making it non-negotiable going forward. Beck reports that it's unclear which side softened. But the important thing is that the two sides are meeting.

NBA commissioner David Stern said on Tuesday that without a deal by Monday, the first two weeks of the regular season will be cancelled. That would cost players $200 million, and teams roughly that amount, as well.


NBA Lockout: Still No Movement As Stoppage Reaches 100th Day, With Deadline Looming

Commissioner David Stern said that if there isn't a deal to end the NBA lockout by Monday, the first two weeks of the regular season will be cancelled. You might have expected the sides to be burning the midnight oil to get a deal done, given the sheer amount of money at stake to everyone.

Instead, the sides aren't even meeting.

No reports of plans to talk or meet on Sunday surfaced on Saturday, as the Jewish population celebrated Yom Kippur. Players' union director Billy Hunter is on his way to Los Angeles to meet with players on Monday, while other members of the National Basketball Players Association left New York after talks broke off on Tuesday. The union held a regional meeting in Miami on Saturday without Hunter, gathering the large group of stars who had arrived in south Florida for a major charity exhibition game hosted by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

The math does not support a continued lockout: both sides would be better off accepting the other side's deal than missing games. When this realization hits the league and union remains to be seen.


NBA Lockout Talks: League Claims To Be Open To Negotiate Non-Revenue Split Items

As you'd expect, late Friday NBA lockout flarfnoogle has produced additional whizzamarole. Union sources told numerous reporters late Friday that the league had refused a players' request to meet on or by Monday to get this stoppage done. The reason: the players' union told the media that the NBA had demanded that as a condition for the meeting, players had to accept a 50-50 split. So, no meeting. (Or at least the threat of no meeting.)

But NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver has a different way of telling it, and he did so on the record with the New York Times' Howard Beck:

What we told the union was that we were not prepared to negotiate over the B.R.I. split beyond the 50-50 concept that had already been discussed," Silver said, referring to the N.B.A.'s acronym for basketball-related income.

Silver added, however, that the league was "prepared to continue negotiating over the many other issues that remain open" - such as the salary-cap system, the luxury tax and the length of contracts.

If either side is intractable on the revenue split -- the union is at 53-47 -- then there really is no reason to negotiate. But given the relatively small gap in between the two sides and the stakes, with Monday signifying the last day to get a deal done that will preserve an 82-game schedule, there is really no reason for either side to be intractable.

Stay tuned. I see more whizzamarole on the way.


NBA Lockout Talks Devolve Into Last-Gasp Gun-Waving As League, Union Says There'll Be No Monday Meeting

Monday's deadline to end the NBA lockout before regular season games are lost could not come quietly. Anonymous officials from both the league and the players' union joined to crank the burner back up to "super boil" late Friday, as multiple reporters cited anonymous sources who said that the union refused to agree to a last-ditch Monday meeting that was conditioned on players accepting a 50-50 split of basketball-related income.

The league reportedly offered that 50-50 split toward the end of Tuesday's crucial negotiating session, coming off their previous concept that effectively gave players -- who had 57 percent of league revenue under the last collective bargaining agreement -- 47 percent of future revenue. The union is stuck on a deal that averages out to 53 percent of revenue going to players.

If the reports are true and the league set a negotiating point before agreeing to a meeting, players are right to be angry. But union director Billy Hunter is apparently flying to Los Angeles for a meeting with players, and isn't planning to be in New York on Monday. That can only anger the league further, as it is likely meant to do.

In the end, it's likely the sides will talk before Monday. They are painfully close to a deal, and a churlish end to negotiations at this point seems ridiculous. Will sanity prevail?


No Further NBA Lockout Talks Scheduled

It remains radio silence as far as the NBA lockout goes: since NBA commissioner David Stern set Monday as the deadline to get a deal without the cancellation of regular season games, the two sides have not scheduled additional meetings, reports Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. With Friday gone and Saturday dedicated to Yom Kippur, Sunday and Monday remain the final days of negotiation to get a deal in the hopper by Stern's deadline.

Wojnarowski reports that there are no current plans to talk Sunday, but it'd be expected that someone will bone up and make the call to set a date. Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported on Thursday that officials from the league and players' union had been talking over the past couple days, but apparently not in a negotiating sense. It's unclear whether Stern and union director Billy Hunter have been engaging in secret negotiations behind the scenes, but that isn't believed to be the case.


NBA Lockout Would Cost Players $200 Million If First Two Weeks Of Season Is Cancelled, Says Report

Ken Berger of CBS Sports continued his exceptional NBA lockout coverage on Wednesday by revealing some numbers that, per a front office executive with an unnamed team, purport to show what players would lose if NBA commissioner David Stern goes through with his threat to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if a deal isn't reached by Monday.

The aggregate comes out to about $200 million in lost salary for players.

To figure out how much farther each side will go, you have to quantify how much they would lose by canceling the first two weeks of the regular season. For the players, it's $200 million -- $140.6 million for the 301 players under contract, plus an estimated $53.7 million for the 129 free agents, $4.4 million for the 30 first-round picks and $1.2 million for the 30 second-round picks, based on calculations provided by a front office executive.

Berger uses this plank to launch into his belief of how a deal will eventually come down in the 11th hour with the deal point on players' share of salary coming in between 51 and 52 percent.


NBA Lockout: Entrenched Union Leadership Sends Letter To Players Explaining End Of Negotiations

NBA lockout talks have ended for the foreseeable future, and players' union president Derek Fisher and director Billy Hunter sent a letter to players to explain why. According to tweets from Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the letter asserts that the union will not back down from its current proposal, which reportedly would cap player salaries at 53 percent of the established definition of basketball-related income.

Union letter: "Reducing our share of BRI by 7 points to 50% -- a level we have not received since the early 1990's -- is not a fair split."

Woj also reports that the letter states that negotiations are "far from over," despite the union apparently ending talks on Tuesday after the league offered a "concept" that would cap player salaries at 51 percent.

Basketball-related income, as currently defined, does not include about $500 million of revenue that owners take off the top. The NBA, according to reports, had sought to increase that pool to $850 million in some proposals made on Tuesday, with the remaining revenue being split 50-50. If you include the $500 million not included in basketball-related income, the union has actually proposed a deal that would cap players' salaries at 46.8 percent, based on last season's numbers.


First Two Weeks Of Regular Season Will Be Cancelled Without NBA Lockout Deal By Monday

In the wake of NBA lockout talks that broke off on Tuesday, commissioner David Stern told the media that he is cancelling the remainder of the preseason schedule and that if a deal isn't reached by Monday, he will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. The NBA and players' union have no further meetings scheduled.

Stern claimed that the owners offered players a 50-50 split of revenue, and pulled proposals to roll back existing player contracts and institute a hard cap off of the table, but that the union rejected the offer. Earlier, National Basketball Players Association director Billy Hunter said that the league's proposal actually removed $350 million in revenue from the equation before splitting the kitty down the middle, effectively creating a 53 percent share for owners under the previous definition of basketball-related income.

The NBA had already cancelled preseason games through October 15. It's widely accepted that the league needs about a month to get regular season games going after a handshake deal is reached.


NBA Lockout: Billy Hunter Admits NBPA Decertification Is An Option

The NBA lockout talks on Tuesday resulted in almost no progress, so with the threat of regular-season games being canceled, even NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter admitted it is time for the players to explore all their options. Hunter said Tuesday that the NBPA would have to now "give some thought" to decertification, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Decertification would make the lockout a legal battle. It is something the NFL Players Association did during the NFL lockout, and whether it worked depends on who you ask. Hunter's admission, however, is significant because decertification is the path preferred by many high-profile agents. Those agents reportedly want to push Hunter out because of his previous disinclination for decertifying and because they feel Hunter has given too much back to the owners in negotiations already.

It remains to be seen if Hunter's admission is a sign that he is coming around to the agents' line of thinking or whether it displays he is powerless.


NBA Lockout: Owners' Final Offer In Aborted Talks Called For 53 Percent Of Revenue

According to Billy Hunter, the director of the National Basketball Players Association, the final offer that owners presented at Tuesday's NBA lockout talks essentially called for the league to net 53 percent of total revenue, with players dropping from 57 percent under the last collective bargaining agreement to 47 percent in the new one. The union rejected this offer, talks broke and no further sessions are scheduled.

Hunter and players' union president Derek Fisher said that their side was willing to go down to 53 percent of revenue. How the NBA framed its own offer will be debated going forward, as Hunter revealed that the league's proposal would have removed $350 million currently counted as "basketball-related income" from the equation, and splitting the remainder 50-50 with players. But that effectively gives the players just 47 percent of what has been defined as "basketball-related income" for some 13 years.

David Stern is scheduled to address the media Tuesday evening.


NBA Lockout Talks: 'Today Was Not The Day' For Deal, Says Union's Derek Fisher

NBA lockout talks lasted for four hours on Tuesday in New York City before players' union president Derek Fisher, flanked by a number of NBA stars, told the media that the owners did not present a plan that players could approve. Fisher said further that the union expects the NBA to cancel the rest of the preseason soon and eventually delay the start of the regular season, slated to tip off on November 1.

Perhaps the most important news: the players' union and league are not expecting to meet on Wednesday to continue talks.

Fisher said that the league's offer was not "fair and amenable" to the players, and that the union finds itself where it expected to be all along: facing a shortened or cancelled season. Fisher also revealed that the players' union moved its proposed revenue split to 53-47, while the league moved to 47-53. In other words, each side wants 53 percent of league revenue in a new deal.


NBA Lockout Lawsuit's Oral Arguments Set For Nov. 2

The NBA's lawsuit against the players' union seeking to prevent decertification during lockout negotiations will have its oral arguments at the U.S. Second Circuit court on November 2, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. That is, of course, unless NBA owners end the lockout before then. The regular season is scheduled to begin November 1. Without a deal, that opening night is expected to be pushed out or cancelled.

Sam Amick of SI.com had reported earlier on Tuesday that officials from both the league and players' union had met with the federal judge assigned the NBA's suit as a prelude to crucial lockout talks in New York. Derek Fisher, the union's president, has called Tuesday a "very big day," though most expect talks to continue through the week.

If the stoppage gets to November 2, there could be larger problems for the league: player agents have indicated their interest in getting more involved in the talks, and have threatened to push for decertification against the will of union leadership.


NBA Lockout Talks Follow Meeting With Federal Judge, According To Report

Before crucial NBA lockout talks kicked off on Tuesday afternoon in New York City, Sam Amick of SI.com reports that officials from both the league and players' union met with the federal judge taking up the NBA's lawsuit seeking to remove decertification from the table.

The NBA sued the union in early August as negotiations remained stalled. The thrust of the league's lawsuit was to get the courts to rule that decertification by the union -- long seen as a last resort for players -- would be considered a sham. The lawsuit also requested that if the courts and National Labor Relations Board ruled that an NBPA decertification was legal, the NBA had the legal right to void all existing player contracts.

It's unclear why the judge summoned NBA and players' union officials on Tuesday. The NLRB still has not ruled on either the union's or the league's unfair labor practice complaints. The union alleged that the NBA never negotiated in good faith and planned to drag the lockout into the season to gain leverage as players began to miss paychecks. The NBA's own complaint, filed in August, had the same intention of the federal suit.


NBA Lockout: Decertification Looms In Background As League, Union Prep For Huge Meeting

Just in case you thought that the NBA lockout would get easy as the league and players' union dig in to attempt to negotiate a deal before commissioner David Stern cancels regular season games, agents have thrown some wrenches into the ordeal. After six agencies signed a letter to players warning them to carefully consider any deal that comes out of this week's talks, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted some fear-inducing quotes from an anonymous prominent agent.

"We're not just walking off the cliff with (Billy Hunter). We're ready to take the next step and decertify. We're not going to let the league set up [Tuesday]'s meeting as a way to trap us into a bad deal."

A brief reminder since it's been a while since decertification was a hot topic: those in favor of the move need 30 percent of the union's membership to sign a petition requesting a union vote on whether to decertify, then it comes up for a majority vote. If passed, the union would dissolve, and a group of players would file anti-trust litigation against the NBA. The league has threatened -- in a federal lawsuit, mind you -- to void all existing player contracts if the union successfully decertifies.

The agents who support decertification are the very same agents who wrote the letter to players warning of a potential deal this week. Sam Amick of SI.com clarified ESPN's report on the letter, saying that the language indicates that players should not accept a deal that provides less revenue than the 52 percent that the union has already negotiated down to.


NBA Lockout Talks Set Up For Tuesday Showdown

Top-level negotiators for the league and players' union met on Monday to rekindle NBA lockout talks after taking Sunday off. Based on comments NBA commissioner David Stern made to the media afterward, Tuesday's meeting between each side's full bargaining committee could determine whether we have an 82-game season.

According to Ken Berger, Stern said Monday's session "set the table" for Tuesday, where both sides will be expected to be ready to negotiate all matters. The league and union met Friday and Saturday, the latter a seven-hour affair where the revenue split -- seen as the most important and contentious issue -- wasn't even discussed.

It's widely accepted that without at least a handshake deal this week, the NBA will delay the scheduled November 1 start of the regular season. The league has already cancelled preseason games through October 15, and will soon be forced to cancel or delay the remainder of the exhibition schedule. Training camps were supposed to open on Monday.


NBA Lockout Talks To Resume Monday, No Announcement On Cancellations To Be Made

David Stern, Billy Hunter and the top-level negotiators from the league and players' union will meet again on Monday to work on breaking the NBA lockout, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. The sides met Friday and Saturday, but will not formally get together on Sunday. Berger reports that full bargaining committees will assemble on Tuesday, with hopes of picking up momentum towards a deal.

Berger also reports that Stern will not announce anything further preseason cancellations on Monday, but could do so at any point afterwards. The NBA has already cancelled preseason games through October 15, and delayed the start of training camps, which were supposed to open Monday.

The two sides met for seven hours on Saturday, tackling only salary cap structure issues as there's an impasse on the players' share of revenue. The league's proposal averages 46 percent of total revenue for the players, while the union has gone as low as 53 percent.


NBA Lockout Talks End For Weekend With Sides 'Closer Than They Were Before'

NBA lockout talks ended after seven hours on Saturday, and will pick back up after at least a day off. Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that NBA commissioner David Stern said that the league and players' union are "closer than they were before," but National Basketball Players Association director Billy Hunter cautioned that the two sides are still "miles and miles apart."

The talks centered around the salary cap structure and its associated rules on Saturday, as opposed to the more contentious and impactful revenue split, which dictates how much money the players earn in the aggregate each season. NBPA president Derek Fisher pitched the separation of the matters in an attempt to gain some progress where the two sides could.

Stern told reporters that the sides won't meet on Sunday. The league and players' union met on four of the past six days, with Saturday's session being the longest. It's anticipated that if a deal isn't close by the middle of next week, the league may have to consider cancelling what's left of the preseason and delaying the start of the regular season. Camps were supposed to open on Monday, but a week ago Stern announced a postponement of that and the cancellation of 43 exhibition games.


NBA Lockout Talks Focus On Non-Economic* Issues

NBA lockout talks continued on Saturday in New York City, without the stars (sorry, Baron Davis) and without the alleged heat of Friday's Dwyane Wade-David Stern showdown. The lack of battles might in part be due to the fact that, according to Ken Berger's sources, the league and union representatives focused on Saturday on non-economic issues at play in collective bargaining agreement.

It's unclear if that includes salary cap structure, which with the players' share of revenue remains among the most contentious and important items on the table. Otherwise, there are any number of small items to negotiate, including the age minimum, drug testing and off-court obligations. It's hard to imagine a six-hour (and counting) negotiating session would focus on just those items, so some slice of salary cap structure is likely to be involved.

That said, everything is economic: the cap structure debate informs and interacts with the revenue split issue. If progress is made in one, progress is made in the other ... in theory.


NBA Lockout Talks Progressing On Saturday, According To Baron Davis

The second day of NBA lockout talks are underway with "enormous consequences" looming, according to Commissioner David Stern, if the two sides aren't able to move closer to an agreement. Luckily, according to the first reports out of Saturday's discussions, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Baron Davis makes it seem as if the talks are progressing.

"We're working, we're working," Davis said while leaving Saturday afternoon, according to Newsday's Alan Hahn. "Both sides are willing and able."

In all honesty, those quotes don't mean much, but at least his reason for stepping out in the middle of the negotiating session doesn't sound like it was done because something negative -- say Commissioner Stern poking his finger at him -- had happened inside the bargaining room. In fact, Davis told NBA.com's David Aldridge that Friday's report of the dust-up between Dwyane Wade and Stern was actually "blown a little out of proportion."

Luckily, Davis also addressed his business-super-casual-like-if-casual-meant-what-you-wear-when-chopping-wood attire: "I'm funny looking, so that helps ease the tension."

So see, you guys, there's a reason for his looking out of place. This probably deserves a bump up in the NBA lockout power rankings.


David Stern On NBA Lockout Talks: 'No Bad News'

Once again: in the absence of good news, we'll take the absence of bad news. That's what commissioner David Stern reports after NBA lockout talks broke up on Friday after a five-hour session, telling reporters that there was "no bad news" in the negotiations. Stern's deputy Adam Silver said the sides would continue to negotiate through and beyond the weekend to get a deal done, and the commissioner said that there have been no threats to cancel the season in the absence of immediate progress. He emphatically pushed back against a question as to whether the season would be zero games or 82 games.

Friday marked the third day of negotiations this week, with more promised starting at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. The sides met briefly on Tuesday and Wednesday before breaking for Rosh Hashanah; the players' union brought in a number of star players for Friday's talks, and the league's full labor committee plus Mickey Arison of the Miami Heat represented owners. It's widely considered that this next week will determine whether the season begins on time on November 1.


NBA Lockout Talks Break With Positive Vibes, Will Restart Saturday

NBA lockout talks have ended Friday evening after five hours of negotiations between players and owners. Derek Fisher led a press conference held by the National Basketball Players Association after the conclusion of talks, and said no new proposals were made and the meeting did get contentious at times. (No word on whether the presence of both Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and No. 1 enemy LeBron James had anything to do with that.)

Fisher also said that he couldn't predict whether a deal would get done this weekend, but did say that no threats were made that the lack of a deal would kill the season. ESPN reported on Thursday that NBA commissioner David Stern had threatened to cancel the season completely if a deal wasn't reached by mid-week.

The regular season is scheduled to tip off on November 1. It's generally accepted that the league needs a handshake deal this week to start the season on time.


NBA Lockout Talks Now Featuring More Discussion Than BRI Split

The NBA lockout talks have been going on for 91 days as of Friday morning and, for the most part, it has seemed the only things the owners and NBA Players Association have talked about revolve around the "blood issue" of a hard cap and the split of BRI, short for Basketball Related Income. Fortunately, though, it seems that there have also been other factors being bandied about inside the negotiating room.

The two sides have put numerous other concessions on the table, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, with the proposed "Supertax" being the issue that would essentially replace the current hard cap that the players are so set against. The other issues would limit the length of guaranteed contracts, changes to the current system of Larry Bird Rights and the previously mentioned salary rollbacks and amnesty clause that was included in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Below, a list of issues that Stein has learned should be discussed this weekend as the two sides meet in what seems to be an almost make-or-break negotiating session.

  •  The institution of a sliding "Supertax" that would charge teams $2 in luxury tax for every dollar over $70 million in payroll, $3 for every dollar over $75 million in payroll and $4 for every dollar for teams with payrolls above $80 million
  • A provision to allow each team to release one player via the so-called "amnesty" clause and gain both salary-cap and luxury-tax relief when that player's cap number is removed from the books
  • Shortening guaranteed contracts to a maximum of three or four seasons
  • Limiting Larry Bird rights -- which enable teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents -- to one player per team per season
  • Reducing the annual mid-level exception, which was valued at $5.8 million last season, to roughly $3 million annually and limiting mid-level contracts to a maximum of two or three seasons in length as opposed to the current maximum of five seasons
  • A new "Carmelo Rule" that would prevent teams -- as the New York Knicks did in February with Anthony -- from using a Bird exception to sign or extend a player acquired by trade unless they are acquired before July 1 of the final season of the player's contract
  • The abolition of sign-and-trades and the bi-annual exception worth $2 million
  • Significant reductions in maximum salaries and annual raises and a 5 percent rollbacks on current contracts

It's worth noting that the proposed "Carmelo Rule" wouldn't have actually applied to the Anthony trade this past season between the Knicks and Denver Nuggets (hat tip to SB Nation's Tom Ziller for pointing that out). Anthony was still under contract for an extra season, thanks to his player option, meaning that his three-year extension upon signing in New York would have been allowed under the current rules.

It would be nice if the talks also extend to things not involving money this weekend. Regardless, the sooner the deal is done, the better -- especially if it saves the entirety of the NBA's regular season.


Full-Season NBA Lockout Could Cost League $1 Billion In TV Revenue

As the NBA lockout edges closer to the regular season, the financial advantage of the league's national TV contracts begins to come into play. But Sean Deveney of Sporting News reminds us of his July report that puts David Stern's reported threat to cancel the season if a deal isn't reached soon into context.

Deveney reported in July and again on Thursday that NBA only keeps its revenue from ABC/ESPN and TNT -- some $930 million -- so long as games are actually played in 2011-12. If the entire season is missed, the league would have to pay back that revenue to the networks plus interest. Assuming the reports are accurate, that creates a real incentive for the NBA to save the season, even if it means playing fewer than 82 games.

In fact, to get really cynical, it'd be in the NBA's best financial interest -- ignoring long-term impacts of brand damage and concerns for future media contracts -- to lose as many regular season games as possible to save on expenses like player payroll and game production costs, and then put together enough of a season to keep the media revenue.

We've checked with the media partners and the league for more information. We'll update this StoryStream as we learn more.


NBA Lockout: Reports Suggest David Stern Is Threatening To Cancel Season Next Week If Deal Isn't Reached

In the NBA lockout of 1998, NBA commissioner David Stern didn't draw a line in the sand for the cancellation of the full season of basketball until January, after months of games were missed. But Stern is reportedly starting that train right now, with ESPN's Marc Stein and SI.com's Sam Amick each reporting that sources say the league has threatened to skip a partial cancellation and axe the entire season next week if the parameters of a deal aren't reached soon.

The immediate reaction to the reports is that it is a bluff, a negotiating tactic aimed at getting players to soften up on the key issues at stake. Amick implies that it will have the opposite effect as the union calls in its star players, including Dywane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, to attend the weekend meetings in New York.

What's clear is that after the Rosh Hashanah holiday, we're in crescendo mode. The lockout has been real for a minute, but heat is coming on fast.


David Stern Warns of 'Enormous Consequences' If NBA Lockout Talks Don't Produce Progress

After NBA lockout talks broke for Rosh Hashanah on Wednesday, NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters that this weekend -- when sides will resume negotiations -- represents a "key moment" for the league. From CBS Sports' Ken Berger:

"There are enormous consequences at play here on the basis of the weekend," Stern said [...]. "Either we'll make very good progress, and we know what that would mean - we know how good that would be, without putting dates to it - or we won't make any progress. And then it won't be a question of just starting the season on time. There will be a lot at risk because of the absence of progress."

It's unclear if the mere cancellation of games is what Stern is warning players about, or whether he's implying that if the sides don't reach an agreement to preserve the scheduled Nov. 1 start of the regular season, the owners' proposal will become more draconian and painful to players.

More than a dozen of the league's team owners and a group of players including All-Stars are slated to join the talks on Friday. Traditionally in these talks, the larger the group negotiating has been, the less progress has been made. Let's hope that pattern changes.


NBA Lockout Talks Advancing Leads To Larger Group Meetings Ahead

Wednesday is shaping up to be a pretty pivotal day as far as the NBA lockout talks are concerned. The chance that it seems both sides are advancing toward some sort of deal is also seeming more like a reality than hopeful optimism from those hoping to watch professional basketball in the near future, too, as reports indicate larger group meetings are planned for the weekend in New York.

"Word is players are headed to NYC for union meetings this weekend, with NBPA executive board," reports Newsday's Alan Hahn via Twitter. "A few star players expected to attend."

Ken Berger of CBS Sports confirmed the report, adding a few details of his own to what could be a big step if Wednesday's meetings go as well as one can hope.

If warranted, players -- and possibly owners -- could be in NYC to discuss latest bargaining developments, source says. Possibility of larger groups converging underscores importance of (Wednesday's) bargaining session.

Hopefully the two sides have something to agree upon in New York following Wednesday's meetings rather than having to go back to the drawing board.


NBA Lockout: Owners Abandon Hard Salary Cap, According To Reports

The NBA lockout talks held Tuesday in New York City may have lasted only a couple hours, but they were fruitful nonetheless, as Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that in the high-level, the league showed a willingness to abandon its push for a hard team salary cap. ESPN's Ric Bucher and CBS Sports' Ken Berger later reported similar news.

The pullback on the hard cap isn't without conditions, of course. In place of the hard cap, the owners reportedly want to make the luxury tax much more punitive to prevent teams from massively outspending their rivals. The owners also want to restrict use of the Bird salary cap exception to once annually, and shrink the size and length of the mid-level exception. They also want the union to concede on the revenue split players are due.

The two sides went back to their corners after exchanging the ideas on Tuesday, as the players' union representatives felt they needed to discuss the concepts internally. The two sides are scheduled to meet again Wednesday morning.


NBA Lockout Talks Last Just Two Hours, Will Reconvene Wednesday

NBA lockout talks held Tuesday in New York City lasted just two hours before officials from the league and players' union separated to discuss their positions. Derek Fisher, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, told the assembled media that the two sides planned to meet again Wednesday before breaking for Rosh Hashanah.

Fisher also told reporters not to read into the brevity of Tuesday's meeting.

Since the sides last met on Thursday, the NBA cancelled 43 preseason games and indefinitely postponed the start of training camps. The league was scheduled to open camps on Oct. 3, which is next week. Obviously, considering the sides seem to be nowhere near a deal and there has been no free agency period, that became impossible to pull off.

Fisher told reporters that no new proposals were delivered on Tuesday, but that each side needed to discuss internally the ideas and concepts at play.


NBA Lockout Negotiations To Resume Tuesday

NBA lockout negotiations will resume Tuesday in New York City, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger, as players' union director Billy Hunter has postponed a regional meeting in Miami to make himself available. The small, high-level teams that have most frequently met over the past month are expected to be the ones that reconvene.

There were concerns the league and union would not meet this week after talks broke down on Thursday. The union had one of its regular regional meetings scheduled Tuesday in Miami and Thursday and Friday mark Rosh Hoshanah, a major Jewish holiday that would lock a number of participants out of negotiations. But the union's move to postpone the Miami meeting opened up Tuesday and Wednesday for talks in New York.

Whether anything comes from those talks, however, is a tougher nut to crack. The league on Friday cancelled 43 preseason games and delayed the opening of training camps. A week from now, the NBA will consider whether to kill the rest of preseason.


NBA Lockout Refund Policy Directs Teams To Pay Interest To Season Ticket Holders

With Friday's cancellation of 43 preseason games due to the ongoing NBA lockout, season ticket holders are in line for some cash. All 30 NBA teams were affected by the cancellations, and as such, all season ticket holders who pay for preseason games will be due some money back.

According to NBA policy, those fans will get refunds for any games missed due to the lockout plus interest. In an example, season ticket holders for the Sacramento Kings can opt to receive a refund plus 6 percent interest for all games missed once the lockout ends or the season is cancelled, or they can choose a plan that refunds the fan once monthly for any games missed plus 1 percent interest. The first of those refunds would be due in mid-November, according to the Kings' plan. Most season ticket holders have been paying for their tickets since February or March.

Refunds will also be going out to fans in non-NBA cities who have bought tickets for exhibition games off the beaten path. Kansas City's Sprint Center posted a message on its website shortly after Friday's cancellation announcement directing those who had tickets for the scheduled Oct. 15 game between the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets to return tickets for refunds beginning Monday.


NBA Officially Cancels 43 Preseason Games, Delays Start Of Training Camp

The NBA has officially announced it will cancel 43 preseason games and postpone training camps until an as yet to be determined date. This isn't anything that was unexpected, of course, but it makes the situation surrounding the NBA lockout seem just a bit more dire.

The NBA was expected to open training camps on October 3, less than two weeks away, with preseason games beginning not long after that date. The inability to achieve any sort of deal during Wednesday and Thursday's meetings between representatives for the owners and the players meant that at least a delay to the start of the NBA season was inevitable.

"We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release. "We will make further decisions as warranted."

The loss of some preseason games isn't the worst news as it's been long expected barring any sort of miracle, but the next thing set to be cancelled would be regular season games -- though that situation is much more important, and therefore avoidable, provided that David Stern and Derek Fisher can come to some sort of an agreement.

As SB Nation's Tom Ziller wrote earlier Friday morning, the date that the Collective Bargaining Agreement needs to officially be agreed upon is still up in the air.

 This thing is going all the way down to the wire; it's actually fun to see reporters continue to push the "drop-dead" date for the season to be preserved. We'd thought Oct. 1 would mark a real deadline to save the season start, but Berger offers up Oct. 14 as a date that would delay the season start but get us 82 games. So sometime in the next three weeks, we'll actually have a drop-dead date.

That would mean there are about three weeks for the two sides to get something done. It seems possible, right?


Owners Proposed New Revenue Split In Thursday's NBA Lockout Talks, Says Report

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that while no proposals were actually accepted or formally offered during Thursday's set of NBA lockout talks in New York City, the owners did move on their revenue split desires. How far they moved remains unclear, but Berger cites sources who say that the gap between the players' union and league on what share of total NBA revenue players ought to be due is shrinking.

The owners' number, one of the people familiar with the details said, represented a willingness to move off their most recent formal proposal to cap player salaries at $2 billion a year for the bulk of a 10-year proposal. So, do the math: Assuming 4 percent revenue growth next season to $3.95 billion, the owners' $2 billion proposal represented roughly 50.5 percent of BRI for the players. If the players were willing to go down to, say, 53 percent with assurances that a soft cap would remain in place, that would be $2.094 billion -- leaving the two sides only $94 million apart in the first year of the deal.

The sides are due to meet next week, though bad news will come before them, as numerous reports suggest the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the preseason schedule sometime Friday.


NBA Lockout Will Claim First Two Weeks Of Preseason, Says Report

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that when the league announces on Friday that the NBA lockout has impacted the 2011-12 schedule, it will cancel the first two weeks of the preseason calendar, including the start of training camps and the first exhibition games.

Camps were set to open with leaguewide media days on Oct. 2. (In non-lockout seasons, a few teams typically begin the preseason overseas, and as such hold their media days earlier than the rest of the league. The NBA didn't send any teams overseas this year, though.) The NBA released an exhibition schedule over the summer that included six games on Oct. 9. Wojnarowski reports that those games and more will become lockout victims on Friday, after NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to the owners' labor committee.

More important, Woj reports that the bleak visage Stern and union president Derek Fisher presented after Thursday's talks weren't an act: sources told Yahoo! that the two sides "dug in" on points of contenion and found no middle ground on Thursday.


NBA Lockout: Camps, Preseason Games To Be Postponed Friday, According To Report

ESPN's Ric Bucher reports that the league will announce postponements for training camps and some preseason games on Friday due to the ongoing NBA lockout. League and players' union officials met Thursday, but apparently conjured up no progress in ongoing talks. Camps were slated to open Oct. 2 and the first preseason games are scheduled for the following week.

With opening night of the regular season slated for Nov. 1, the doomsday clock is ticking louder than ever. NBA commissioner David Stern did tell reporters on Thursday that league and union officials will meet again next week, though it's unclear where progress will come. The point of highest contention right now, according to reports, is the structure of the team salary cap.

Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reported that Stern will speak to members of the owners' labor committee on Friday. The announcement to postpone training camps and games could follow shortly thereafter.


NBA Lockout Talks End Again Without Indication Of Progress

The NBA lockout talks held in New York City on Thursday between the top officials from the league and players' union have apparently yielded little if any progress, as NBA commissioner David Stern and his deputy Adam Silver left the meeting without anything to report to the assembled media. Silver told the press the sides wouldn't meet again until next week.

The NBA regular season is scheduled to open on Nov. 1. Preseason games are scheduled in early October. Training camps are supposed to open on Oct. 2. All dates seem in imminent danger of delay or worse.

This specific group of officials last week two weeks ago. After what appeared to be progress in those talks, the league and union assembled broader committees to bargain last week, but that Tuesday session crashed and burn when two owners -- the Cavs' Dan Gilbert and Suns' Robert Sarver, reportedly -- refused to concede on a push for a hard team salary cap. After Stern caucused with his owners on Thursday, he told the media the league remained committed to a hard cap, but that he had permission to negotiate all points of a deal.


Will NBA Lockout Talks Produce Enough Progress To See David Stern, Union Bunker Down?

David Stern and leaders from the players' union began their latest round of NBA lockout talks at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to NBA.com's Steve Aschburner. Like recent sessions that had apparently yielded some progress, the invite list was short: just four officials each from the league and union are reportedly in the room, including just one team owner (the San Antonio Spurs' Peter Holt) and one player (the L.A. Lakers' Derek Fisher).

At this point, with training camps supposedly to open in less than two weeks, nothing short of rapid progress will get the complete preseason schedule saved. In another couple of weeks, the start of the NBA regular season -- slated for Nov. 1 -- will be in real jeopardy. That puts these talks on Thursday in a huge place of importance, especially coming off the unified stands each side presented following internal meetings a week ago.

When the NFL lockout was finally solved in July, it took the main characters bunkering down for several days to hammer out the framework of an agreement. One assumes that if the NBA seeks to preserve its schedule, it will end up doing the same. The league and union can't wait much longer to get to that point, and fans would love nothing more than to see the sides make that commitment to hammer it out right now.


NBA Lockout Will Soon Delay Training Camps, Despite Small Planned Meetings

The NBA lockout is nearly three months old, and it's now running up against the calendar as training camps are slated to open on Oct. 2. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports that despite planned meetings between lawyers from the league and players' union in the next couple days, the opening of training camps will soon be delayed.

Postponement of training camps should come soon. It's a foregone conclusion. No way to get a deal done and sign players by Oct. 2.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a Wednesday meeting between lawyers and staff would lead into a bargaining session between the top officials from each side -- David Stern, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher included -- on Thursday. The Wednesday meeting is seen as an attempt to reconcile what concessions or ideas each side plans to bring back to the table after talks stalled early last week and each side met with its constituency.


NBA Lockout: Leon Rose, Agent For LeBron James and Chris Paul, Reportedly Supports Decertification

In the ongoing NBA lockout -- 79 days and counting -- this past week was one of disunity, as owners reportedly quarreled over whether to stick with their demands for a hard salary cap and player agents renewed their push for decertification. The latter battle has apparently picked up a major ally, as SI.com's Sam Amick reports that Leon Rose, who represents LeBron James, Chris Paul and a number of other stars as the top agent with CAA, is in favor of decertification of the players' union.

Five agents, including the high-profile Arn Tellem, reportedly discussed pushing for decertification without cooperation from union leadership this week. National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher sent a letter to players before Thursday's meeting in Las Vegas reinforcing unity and pointing out that the agents so dissatisfied with the strategy employed by Fisher and NBPA director Billy Hunter haven't discussed the issues with the leadership itself.

Rose hasn't gone public with his support of decertification; the issue may be moot if an expected National Labor Relations Board decision comes soon, as that could dictate the legal path forward.


NBA Lockout: NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith To Speak To NBA Players Association Thursday

The NBA lockout is at a rather pivotal point in the negotiations between the owners and players as each side is currently locked in an impasse that will soon alter the upcoming season. The NBA Players' Association will get a closer look at just what a continued lockout might lead to, though, as union president Derek Fisher has invited NFL Players' Association head DeMaurice Smith to speak to the players during a meeting in Vegas on Thursday morning.

Fisher told Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick that the reason Smith has been invited to the talks is to "help buoy the players' spirits after discussions with the owners broke down on Tuesday while also educating them on the complex issues involved in this process."

One of the reasons Smith has been invited is probably to help educate the players on the option of decertification of the union, a possibility that is currently being pushed for by agents after watching the union fail to be able to get anything solved since negotiations began.

"I asked Billy (Hunter, NBPA union president) one time, I said 'What are the negatives of decertification?' If two months from now, four months from now, we had no deal done, would it be a negative to decertify but you still talk to (the owners)?" Phoenix Suns player Jared Dudley told Amick. "It was kind of iffy on the answers. "That's something I'll bring up to him (on Thursday). He's very open to discuss that, and he needs to discuss that. He's our leader."

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the meeting and, ultimately, to see what might happen with the decertification process after the players are able to quiz Smith on the subject.


NBA Lockout: Multiple Reports Suggest Agents Will Attempt To Push Billy Hunter Aside At Top Of Players' Union

If Tuesday's "bad day" of the NBA lockout talks wasn't chilling enough, consider this slice of the aftermath: two reports suggest that a collection of five major agents who collectively represent 30 percent of the league's players are planning a "coup" of the union, looking to push Billy Hunter aside and pursue a more aggressive drive against the owners.

Henry Abbott and Chris Broussard reported on ESPN.com late Tuesday that the agents -- Arn Tellem, Bill Duffy, Mark Bartelstein, Jeff Schwartz and Dan Fegan -- spoke via conference call Monday to discuss a plan to make a push toward decertification of the union. That's what the NFL's players' union did back in April in order to clear the path toward anti-trust litigation against the league. The National Basketball Players Association has to date avoided decertification, instead opting to wait on a decision from the National Labor Relations Board on an unfair business practices complaint against the league.

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reported similar information, but also quoted an anonymous agent who said the agents involved in the overthrow attempt have become "militant against the union." If that doesn't sound good, it's because it shouldn't. The agent also warns that the union's Thursday meeting in Las Vegas -- where several dozen players will be -- will get ugly as Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher try to deflect pressure.

Meanwhile, no one seems to know when the NLRB will produce a decision. It could be any day, and a win for the union there could give Hunter just the boost he needs right now.


NBA Lockout: Preseason Games Won't Yet Be Canceled

Amid the hellfire and despair of the apparent breakdown in NBA lockout talks on Tuesday came one slightly positive, albeit likely irrelevant, nugget of news. Officials from the NBA and National Basketball Players Association met Tuesday in New York City in an attempt to find some progress before reporting back to their bases on Thursday. The NBA's owners are slated to meet in Dallas Thursday, while the players' union will host a large meeting in Las Vegas.

Despite an apparent complete lack of progress on Tuesday, NBA commissioner David Stern said owners will not vote to cancel training camps or preseason games when they meet on Thursday. Training camps typically begin in the waning days of September. The first preseason games are slated for the first week of October.

The dour statements from union officials following Tuesday's meeting, however, make it seem as tough it's only a matter of time before schedule changes are necessary. The calendar can only crawl along so slowly.