Right Field

NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

After a long round of negotiations last night failed to produce a deal, Commissioner David Stern confirmed that he would cancel the first two weeks of the NBA season.

Despite the lockout now cutting into regular-season games, hopes of a quick resolution are dim.”We remain very, very apart on all issues. . . . We just have a gulf that separates us,” Stern said yesterday.

SI’s Zach Lowe gives details on what sets the sides so far apart:

In their glum news conferences, both sides stressed the gap in how they want the salary cap, luxury tax and other player-movement rules to work under the next collective bargaining deal. We don’t know precisely what the owners’ proposal looks like… it it involves a very punitive luxury tax that would jack up the financial penalties teams must pay for exceeding the tax level by varying amounts.

Further difficulties are the length of the CBA and the long-disputed nature of the revenue split (under the expired deal, players got 57 percent of league revenue; that number is coming down, possibly as low as 50).

Now that the season has been imperiled, we’ll see if either side was actually playing chicken. It was speculated that Stern jumped to canceling two weeks because that actually would cut into the players’ first paycheck. And if the owners were bluffing about losing money while in operation, they might be eager to force sides back to the table in an effort to salvage a profitable season.

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