Saturday, September 24, 2011

On This Day, September 24th: NBA Lockout Day 86 & Preseason Games Get Axed


This is hitting home pretty quickly. Ric Bucher said on Thursday that training camp and some preseason games would be lost, and sure enough, yesterday it came true. Well, 13 years ago the same thing occurred. I'm sure David Stern and associates have that '98-'99 calendar close by for reference. It was only 24 exhibition matches lost compared to the current 43 erased from the schedule, but we know more are coming.

This is the more important article to read. Russ Granik and Nick Anderson provide us with their words on the situation. Here you get the revelation that the league needs a full 4 weeks to begin a season, if and when the new CBA gets agreed upon. Wish we'd hear more from Patrick Ewing. Then you see the mentioning of arbitration and if the players would get paid during the lockout:

``My mom always said to put something away for a dark day, and it's a dark day right now,'' said Nick Anderson, the Orlando Magic's leading scorer last season, who is working out with other NBA players in Houston. ``I'm prepared for whatever happens, but it's not looking good. I'm very pessimistic.''

Training camps were scheduled to open Oct. 6. The Magic lost their opening exhibition game Oct. 13 in Detroit against the Pistons and a home exhibition Oct. 16 against the Houston Rockets.

Magic management declined to comment because of orders given by the NBA regarding the issue.

The NBA could announce as early as today that the second week of exhibition games also is being canceled. Magic season-ticket holders will have their money refunded - along with 6 percent interest - on all exhibition and regular-season games that are canceled.

``Unfortunately, it is now clear there will not be enough time for teams to fill their rosters, go through a necessary period of conditioning and be ready to play preseason games by mid-October,'' said Russ Granik, the NBA's deputy commissioner who made the announcement.

The league and its players have struggled to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. They have been without one since July 1, when the owners imposed a lockout against the players.

The league and the union are awaiting arbitrator John Feerick's ruling on whether 200 players with guaranteed contracts will be paid during the lockout.

Feerick isn't likely to make his ruling until the second week of October. His ruling could change the tone of the negotiations, giving a huge edge to one side or the other. An estimated $800 million in salary is at stake.

The most critical issue preventing an agreement is the salary cap. The owners are intent on establishing a hard cap, giving them a ceiling on what each team can spend on players' salaries. The players want a flexible salary cap that will allow teams exceptions to re-sign their own players.
Neither side is budging.

The impasse is jeopardizing the NBA's standing as the only major professional sports league never to have lost a regular-season game to a labor problem.

``I look at baseball and how many fans they lost because of the strike, and I would hate for our league to have to go through something like that,'' said Anderson. ``It would be tough to overcome.''

Both owners and players admit that it will take four weeks from the time an agreement is signed before they could start the regular season.

The Magic, for example, will need time to sign free agents and finalize their roster. They currently have only five players - Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant, Bo Outlaw and Johnny Taylor - under contract. They are expected to add at least one major-impact player.

Wednesday's meeting between the owners and players was the first meeting since Aug. 6. It was described as a ``thawing-out session,'' in negotiations. It was attended by Granik, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Billy Hunter, union executive director, and Patrick Ewing, union president.

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