NBA talks break off, ending 82-game season
The optimistic tone of the latest round NBA negotiations came to an abrupt halt Friday when talks broke off between the league and players union, prompting NBA commissioner David Stern to declare there is no chance of playing a full season.”It’s not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now,” Stern said. “In light of the breakdown of talks, there will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances.”Stern announced Friday the cancellation of regular-season games through the end of November, wiping out the first month of the season.The main sticking point continues to be the division of basketball-related income, with the owners demanding a 50-50 split and the players holding firm at 52 percent.
As expected, both sides pointed a finger at the other for the collapse of the negotations following nearly 30 hours of talks over the past three days.Union chief Billy Hunter said he was under the impression that the owners were set to move off their 50 percent demand on BRI – and added, to his dismay, he was right.
“(Stern) snookered me. … He made a move. He went to 47 (percent),” Hunter said.Stern said there had been progress on a number of issues, but said the sides were unable to bridge the BRI divide.”I said owners were willing to go to 50 percent.,” Stern said. “Billy Hunter said he was not willing to go a penny below 52. … He closed up his book and walked out of the room.”Hunter said Friday there was no change from last week’s proposal, when the owners offered up a “take it or leave it” ultimatum on a 50-50 split.
“We told them we’re leaving it, just like we left it before,” Hunter said.
Derek Fisher, president of the players association, said no further talks have been scheduled, although he characterized the standoff as a “day-to-day process.”After owners and players met for 15 hours Wednesday and 7 1/2 hours Thursday, both sides suggested an agreement was within reach, but six hours of talks Friday – the 120th day of the lockout – appeared to leave them back at square one.Stern said Friday’s talks centered around revenue-sharing and used it as an example on why the owners are holding steady at the 50 percent mark.:In order to have revenue-sharing, you have to have a profit,” he said.Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, players received 57 percent of basketball-related income. Stern said a 50-50 split would put the league in the profit range.