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Zgoda: Lockout could get 'long and very ugly'

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • October 11, 2011 - 12:53 AM

The NBA has canceled the season's first two weeks after a six-hour negotiating session in New York City failed to close the gulf between players and owners on a new labor agreement.

Saying he was "sad" and "sorry," NBA commissioner David Stern specifically used the word "canceled" -- and not postponed -- and yes, he says that means there won't be an 82-game season this time around.

The NBA Players Association's Billy Hunter, though, said those canceled games could be made up if a deal is reached in the next two weeks.

By announcing the cancelation of two weeks and not just one, the league picked a time frame that means players will miss their first paycheck of the season.

Stern told reporters in New York City that the two sides "remain very, very far apart on virtually all issues."

This could get long and very ugly, sports fans.

Here's the story I wrote for Tuesday's paper and the web site with reaction from Wolves player rep Anthony Tolliver and via Twitter rookie Derrick Williams.

Now we'll see if the players union borrows a page from the NFL players union handbook, decertify and take this thing into the courts.

Stern suggested the gap is the players want 53 percent of all basketball related income and owners are offering 47 percent, although the NBA's Adam Silver said the system (contract lengths, raises, luxury tax, mid-level exception, etc.) and not economic issues is what separated the two sides during the last two days of negotiations that included Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

Players union officials disputed the notion that little or no progress had been made the last two days on such system issues.

Players received 57 percent of those revenues in the last labor agreement.

Those cancelations of games through Nov. 14 mean the Wolves will lose home games against Atlanta, Toronto, Phoenix and Sacramento and games at Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Stern also suggested that the league's offer will get worse and not better to compensate for the losses the league will incur by cancelling games.

After Stern announced those cancelations, Wolves rookie Derrick Williams tweeted, "Smh .. First 2 weeks done .. Overseas looking like the option."

The question is: At this point, what options are left overseas?

Right now, there are no new negotiating sessions scheduled.

The league said it will issue refunds with interest to season-ticket holders for all canceled games.

If no more games are canceled -- a BIG if -- the Wolves' season opener will be Nov. 16 against Milwaukee at Target Center.

 

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