NEW YORK - The NBA will join the NFL and enter a lockout after another round of meetings with players failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.
Talks between the league and players broke up on Thursday afternoon, hours before the current labor deal was set to expire at midnight.
The NBA said the work stoppage will begin at 12:01 a.m. (et) on Friday and will last "until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached with the National Basketball Players Association."
Hours earlier, players association president Derek Fisher spoke to reporters and delivered the grim message everyone expected: that the NBA was planning to begin its first lockout since the 1998-99 season was shortened to 50 games because of labor strife.
Issues the league and its players are having include disagreements over the salary cap, revenue sharing and guaranteed contracts.
Deputy NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that the expiring CBA "created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams" and that the league was seeking a sustainable business model that would allow all 30 teams to compete while still remaining profitable.
Union head Billy Hunter said it was hard to get past the NBA's first proposal when negotiating sessions began, while commissioner David Stern said the league has made "several and significant" moves since then.
Hunter said he's been anticipating the lockout for 2-3 years.
"It's here. I'm glad that it's happened. I said to them, now we can maybe begin to negotiate. We can begin to discuss all those issues," Hunter said. "I don't know why I feel that way, but I just do. I just feel like, OK, we've been waiting for the lockout, now ... let's get down to business."
Hunter said he was "hoping that over the next month or so, there will be sort of a softening on their side, and maybe we'll have to soften our position as well."
Stern expects to hear from the players and begin talking to them again next week. He said it was too early in the process to begin talking about furloughs and layoffs, but that it was something the league would have to start looking at.
Among the proposals offered by the NBA, Silver said, was a deal targeting a $2 billion annual share for the players, or approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth.
"Elements of our proposal would also better align players' pay with performance," Silver said.
Much like fans of the NFL, which has been locked out since March, Stern said he expects NBA fans to have a negative view of both sides, wondering why they can't hash out a deal and just play basketball.
The lockout means, among other things, that:
- Players will not receive salary payments and are not permitted to use team facilities for any reason
- Teams cannot negotiate, sign or trade player contracts
- Teams will not conduct or facilitate summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions or team meetings
"I don't expect anything good to come out of this. This is just what happens in labor disputes when there are lockouts and strikes," said Stern.
Silver said it was clear during meetings Thursday that there would be no last- minute deal. Indeed, some observers think the league could be in more dire straits than the NFL, with less hope that a deal can be made to avert losing games.
What's clear is that the NBA is risking a blow to its image just weeks after a thrilling playoffs that culminated with Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks knocking off the LeBron James-led Heat in a highly-watched Finals series.
"I have no basis on which to project or expect any particular outcome," said Stern. "These things take on a life, and I just don't know where that life will lead."