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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.