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NBA scraps rest of preseason, first two weeks of season in danger

October 4, 2011 |  3:36 pm

Fabforum 

NBA Commissioner David Stern, after a four-plus-hour labor meeting with the players' union Tuesday closed with no deal, cancelled the last two weeks of the preseason and said he could scrap the first two weeks of the regular season if a deal doesn't get done by Monday.

"We're disappointed," Stern said.

Stern said the league will suffer a $200-million loss without exhibition games, and his deputy Adam Silver said "the damage is enormous," as Stern said, "We're looking down the barrel of an extraordinary hit to the owners and players" by missing the first two weeks of the season.

Stern said Tuesday's meeting stalled after NBA players failed to express interest a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. The players, calling the offer "unacceptable," according to Silver, earned 57% of BRI in the 2010-11 season. 

Union President Derek Fisher, the Lakers point guard, told reporters after the bargaining session in New York that he anticipated the exhibition games would be cancelled, and that the scheduled Nov. 1 regular season opener is "in jeopardy."

"Today was not the day for us to get this done," Fisher said. "As of this moment, we've broken off negotiations." Fisher was uncertain when either side would initiate contact again.

With players willing to agree to decrease their share of basketball-related income from 57% (approximately $2.15-plus billion in 2010-11) to 53%, Fisher told reporters that owners would move from their prior 46% request to only 47% Tuesday. He didn't disclose the 50% offer.

Hearing the 47% ended the meeting, Fisher told reporters.

Experts following the lockout have speculated owners believe the players will be more willing to bargain once they start missing paychecks, which will start in mid-November.

Union Executive Director Billy Hunter was grim with how long that silence may last: "Maybe a month," he told reporters, adding the union will establish "workout centers" for the players as the owners-imposed lockout of players extends toward its 100th day this week.

Standing alongside Fisher after sitting in on the meeting, Lakers star Kobe Bryant told reporters, "The development here is that I have time to play overseas."

Bryant is mulling an offer to play pro basketball in Italy.

MORE:

Sides far apart after lengthy negotiations

Arenas and their workers can afford lengthy lockout

Kobe Bryant to play in Italy? Not so fast

-- Lance Pugmire 

Photo: NBA Commissioner David Stern. Credit: Michael Cohen / Getty Images.

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