Union Says NBA Lockout Coming at Midnight

1:08 PM PST 06/30/2011 by Mike Barnes
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Dallas Mavericks

Sides are far apart on terms for new collective bargaining agreement.

Following the lead of the NFL, the NBA on Thursday has put its next season in jeopardy with a decision to lock out its players after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

Owners want a huge overhaul of the league’s economic system, including a hard salary cap, shorter contracts and up to a 38 percent reduction in player salaries. The players have agreed to a pay cut, though their proposed $100 million annual recuction falls well short of what the league is after.

The NBA says 22 of its 30 teams are losing money and puts league-wide losses at $300 million a year.

NBA Players Association chief Billy Hunter said the league will impose its lockout at midnight Eastern time, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. The sides have been talking for months and reportedly had an unfruitful three-hour session Thursday.

“We tried to avoid the lockout; unfortunately we couldn't reach a deal,” union executive committee member and San Antonio Spurs player Matt Bonner told the Associated Press.

The last NBA lockout came in 1998, when players and owners took six months to reach a deal. The sides came to an agreement in January 1999, and a shorter 50-game season was played. The next NBA regular season is scheduled to start in October.

The NFL is in its fourth month of a lockout.

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