NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks with reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. (Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
As anticipated, the NBA owners and its players were not able to strike a last-minute deal Thursday and the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight.
Folks, we have a lockout.
That means no free agency this summer, no trades and no Las Vegas summer league. Players are on their own. The business of the NBA has stopped.
Commissioner David Stern recommended the lockout Thursday, giving the NBA its first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season. The 2011-12 season is now up in the air following a banner year for the NBA that ended last month with the Dallas Mavericks winning its first NBA championship.
"We had a great year in terms of the appreciation of our fans for our game. It just wasn't a profitable one for the owners, and it wasn't one that many of the smaller market teams particularly enjoyed or felt included in," Stern said in an ESPN.com story. "The goal here has been to make the league profitable and to have a league where all 30 teams can compete."
The NBA is claiming that the majority of its teams are functioning in the red, which means the league needs the players to make drastic concessions going forward.
The NBA is obviously looking for a reduction in salaries, a better revenue–sharing model and a more strict salary cap than the one in place. If you thought the NFL lockout has been difficult, it will appear simple in comparison to what’s going on in the NBA as it's conceivable the 2011-12 season will not be played.
"We're going to stand up for what we have to do, no matter how long it's going to take," Thunder star Kevin Durant told the Associated Press. "No matter how long the lockout's going to take, we're going to stand up. We're not going to give in."
"I hope it doesn't come down to that," union head Billy Hunter said in response to questions about playing a drastically reduced schedule. "Obviously, the clock is now running with regard to whether or not there will or will be a loss of games, and so I'm hoping that over the next month or so that there will be sort of a softening on their side and maybe we have to soften our position as well."