It was announced Tuesday that NBA Commissioner David Stern has officially cancelled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA regular season. The cancellation is a result of continued difficulties in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and NBA Players Association.
A total of 100 games have been cancelled. For each team, that means around to six games each, with some, like the Miami Heat, missing as many eight key match-ups.
Sources close to the situation say there are still major differences between the two negotiating parties, so much so, that there is little optimism that even more games won’t be missed.
Among the major disagreements is the possible introduction of a ‘hard’ salary cap system, as opposed to the current ‘soft’ cap (which teams can exceed with the use of certain exceptions).
The players are aggressively opposed to a new cap system, saying that it will see the end of guaranteed contracts for the majority of players.
Additionally, discussed are the length of contracts, rookie salaries, annual raises and most of all, the total guaranteed split of Basketball Related Income (B.R.I). Under the last deal players would receive a total 57% annual share. The owners have pushed for a figure as low as 45% but have recently informally proposed a 50-50 split of B.R.I.
The players have dropped to a 53% offer but have said that that figure will not go any lower.
Despite losing games, the majority of players will not lose any pay as a result of cancellations. The majority of players only get their first pay check on November 15, a single day after the revised season opener.
The hardest hit will be the operators and workers at arenas around the U.S., who will miss pay for games that aren’t payed.
It is the first time since 1998-99 that regular season games have been missed due to collective bargaining.
Commissioner Stern has publically stated that if no deal is signed by January 7 that the entire season, including post-season games, will be called off.
For more information on the details of the bargaining, refer to my earlier breakdown and analysis.