NEW YORK (AP) — NBA owners have their priorities — and playing games isn't first on that list.
Instead, the league is looking beyond this month — and maybe beyond this season, if that's what it takes — to implement an extreme financial makeover after years of sizeable losses.
That comes as no surprise to players’ association executive director Billy Hunter. He started to believe two or three years ago that owners intended to lock out the players so they could force through the changes they wanted.
The first two weeks of the season —100 games in all — already have been canceled. The NBA says it lost $300 million last season and that only eight of its 30 clubs made money.
There is no indication owners would be prepared to go beyond a 50-50 split, and with players currently at 52.5 or 53, the sides are about $100 million apart on an annual basis.
Players seem willing to give on one of the issues if they scored concessions on the other — they’ve already offered to reduce their guarantee of revenues from 57 percent — but management has made it clear it must have both. That doesn’t leave much room for compromise.
Or a season.