NBA lockout is on for tonight
What could be a long, indefinite stoppage in NBA play is reportedly about to begin.
NBA Commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Assn. head Billy Hunter held a three-hour meeting Thursday in a last-ditch effort to avoid a lockout, but the session halted with the sides failing to reach a deal on a new collective-bargaining agreement for the 2011-12 season.
The union said the NBA plans to lock out its players, Hunter said. All league business, including free agency, is on hold.
Union executive committee member and San Antonio Spur Matt Bonner told the Associated Press: "We tried to avoid the lockout; unfortunately we couldn't reach a deal."
As a result, free agent signings, summer league play and all league business will be on hold as of 9:01 p.m. PDT, when the current labor agreement expires.
"I've been waiting for a lockout for two, three years," Hunter told reporters in New York. "Now it's here ... 12:01 tonight, it will go into effect."
[For the Record, 12:52 p.m. June 30: An earlier version of this post said the lockout was underway. It will not begin until 9:01 p.m. tonight.]
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: National Basketball Players Assn. executive director Billy Hunter in New York on Thursday. Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters