NEW YORK (AP) — NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled all NBA games through Nov. 30 on Friday after NBA labor negotiations broke down for the second time in a week.
“It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now,” Stern said.
After two days of making some progress on salary cap issues, the owners and the players brought the revenue split back into the discussion and got stuck on both.
Owners are insisting on a 50-50 split of revenues, while players last formally proposed they get 52.5 percent, leaving the two sides about $100 million apart annually. Players were guaranteed 57 percent in the previous collective bargaining agreement.
“We made a lot of concessions but, unfortunately, at this time it's not enough and we're not prepared or able at this time to move any further,” union executive director Billy Hunter said.
Stern said the NBA owners were “willing” to go to 50 percent. But he said Hunter was unwilling to “go a penny below 52,” that he had been getting many calls from agents and then closed up his book and walked out of the room.
Hunter said the league initially moved its target down to 47 percent during Friday's six-hour session then returned to its previous proposal of 50 percent of revenues.
“Derek (Fisher) and I made it clear that we could not take the 50-50 deal to our membership, not with all the concessions that we granted,” Hunter said. “We said we got to have some dollars.”
But with more games canceled, the losses will begin to mount.
“We're going to have to recalculate how bad the damage is,” Stern said. “The next offer will reflect the extraordinary losses that are piling up now.”
No further talks were scheduled.
Fisher, the union president, said there were still too many system restrictions in the owners' proposal. Players want to keep a system similar to the old one and fear owners' ideas would limit player movement.
And though they might be inclined to give up one if they received more concessions on the other, players make it sound as if they are the ones doing all the giving back.
When players offered to reduce their guarantee from 57 percent to 53 percent, Hunter said that would have transferred about $1.1 billion to owners over six years. Now, at 52.5, he said that would grow to more than $1.5 billion.
But even a 50-50 split would be too high for some hardline owners, because it would reduce only $280 million of the $300 million they said they lost last season. Owners initially proposed a split that players said would have had them around 40 percent.
Photo: Billy Hunter, players union executive director