The NBA on Friday announced the cancellation of 43 preseason games and postponed training camps amid a stubborn labor standoff between the players union and the league over salaries.
The first week of preseason games—Oct. 9-15—was scratched, and more could be threatened if the two parties don’t come to an agreement by the end of next week. The regular season is scheduled to start Nov. 1.
Players currently receive 57 percent of league revenues in salaries, and the union has offered to reduce that share to 53 percent, but the cut doesn’t seem to be enough for the league, which wants to reduce it to 50 percent or less. The New York Times reported that each percentage point in the negotiations represents about $40 million, meaning the league is asking players to reduce their almost $2.3 billion share of league income by about $280 million. —BF
The New York Times:
This is the first time since 1998, and only the second time in league history, that the league has lost games to a labor standoff. The next round of preseason cancelations will most likely come at the end of next week. Regular-season games will be jeopardized if no deal is in place by the first week of October. It takes at least four weeks to prepare for the season, which is scheduled to open Nov. 1.
The cancellation of preseason games represents the first true financial hit to the N.B.A. since the lockout began July 1. Under league policy, all season-ticket holders will receive a full refund, in addition to 1 percent interest, on the canceled games.
Although the league and the players plan to meet again next week, their negotiating window will be tight. Several key figures, including Commissioner David Stern, will be observing Rosh Hashanah next Thursday. Billy Hunter, the union’s executive director, will be in Miami on Tuesday for a regional meeting with players. That leaves Wednesday as the most likely day for talks, which could resume Friday or Saturday if progress is being made.