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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Teams Threatened With $1M Fine For Contact With Players

The NBA has informed its teams that contact with their players is strictly forbidden.

Any contact with a player will result in a $1 million fine.

Via Ric Bucher/ESPN (via Twitter)

Seeking System Where All 30 Teams Can Be Profitable, Owners Vote For Lockout

NBA owners voted on Thursday to impose a lockout of its players as the clock strikes midnight on July 1st.

“Needless to say, we’re disappointed that this is where we find ourselves,” said deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

Despite several meetings over the last few weeks, the two sides remain separated by several billion dollars.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate, we’ve already agreed,” Billy Hunter said. “That was sort of the closing agreement up there, that we would not let the imposition of a lockout stop us from meeting.”

Despite annual revenue of about $3.8 billion, N.B.A. officials say the existing system is broken, with 22 of 30 teams losing money, and league-wide losses exceeding $300 million a year. Silver said the owners wanted a system in which “all 30 teams could compete for a championship” and have “the opportunity to be profitable.”

Stern warned that there is no telling how long a lockout might last.

“I’m not scared,” Stern said. “I’m resigned to the potential damage that it can cause to our league” and to the people who make their living in and around the N.B.A. He added: “As we get deeper into it, these things have a capacity to take on a life of their own. You never can predict what will happen.”

Via New York Times

Hunter: NBA Locking Out Players

Billy Hunter, chief of the players union, says owners are locking out players after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, potentially putting the 2011-12 season in jeopardy.

Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. The CBA was due to expire at midnight.

Union executive committee member Matt Bonner  says "we tried to avoid the lockout; unfortunately we couldn't reach a deal."

All league business will be on hold until a new agreement is reached.

The two sides will meet again in two to three weeks.

The union will not decertify.

Via AP

Teams Receive List Of People They Can't Communicate With During Lockout

Executives from NBA teams have been given a long list of people connected to players that they will not be allowed to communicate with during a lockout.

The list includes agents, family members of players, employees, amongst many others.

"I'm not even sure I can talk to my own cousins," one general manager tells Yahoo! Sports.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter)

Union VP Bonner: Owners Proposing Worst Deal In History Of Sports

Player’s union vice president Matt Bonner said he did not know if the union would offer a counterproposal to the owners’ latest offer. He also would not speculate on whether the players, like their NFL counterparts, would vote to decertify the union in the event of a lockout.

The owners’ latest offer would guarantee players no less than $2 billion per year for the duration of a 10-year deal, at an average salary of $5 million per player. Union officials say that represents a pay cut of $7 billion over the life of the deal, compared with the system in place now.

Owners are also angling for a hard salary cap like the NHL’s, which players view as a nonstarter.

“They’re asking for a deal that is worse than hockey’s, which is considered to be the worst collective bargaining deal in sports history,” Bonner said. “If that’s their best offer, we don’t have much choice but to fight for something better.”

Via Jeff McDonald/San Antonio Express-News

Hunter: Flex Cap Would Reduce NBA's Middle Class

Players Association executive director Billy Hunter warned NBA players on Wednesday that the league’s proposal of a “hard-flex” salary cap would have grave consequences for the future earnings and security of rank-and-file union members.

The owners’ plan “would decimate the middle class, with teams using the bulk of their hard cap room on star players,” Hunter wrote to players in an email obtained by Yahoo! Sports.

Hunter stayed on his theme of disparaging the league’s offer of a flex cap, promising doomsday scenarios over the course of the 10-year deal the NBA has proposed to players.

The letter was sent to the players as a prelude to Thursday’s bargaining session in New York that could be the final one before the league possibly imposes a lockout at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Barkley Cites Superstar Movement As A Main Cause Of Lockout

Charles Barkley blames the movement of several of the game's best players to the NBA's biggest markets as part of the reason why the owners are so committed to overhauling the current CBA.

“Well I think, and I’m not saying this because I’m in the NBA, if you go back and look, David Stern has been the best commissioner in sports the last 25 years. It would take a miracle on his part not to have a lockout and I truly believe that. I think there’s going to be a lockout, I think the owners are dug in, I think they want to send a message to these players.

“I think they’re really upset by this LeBron James-Chris Bosh situation, because their teams don’t have to be really good, but I feel like if they have a star in their market they can make some money. And if all the stars want to play together . . . we’re almost becoming like baseball where you’ve got a few good teams and the rest of them stink.”

Via Sun-Sentinel

Source: Owners Will Push For $45 Million Hard Cap Once Lockout Begins

According to NBA executives familiar with the league’s strategies, once the lockout is in place, the owners will push for a hard salary cap of $45 million, the elimination of guaranteed contracts and ask that the players swallow a 33 percent salary cut.

The concessions made in recent weeks, including the “flex cap” of $62 million and a guarantee of $2 billion in annual player payroll, will be off the table.

If this seems certain to guarantee the loss of the entire 2011-12 season, it is because there are owners who think it is necessary for the long-term viability of the league.

Via Mike Monroe/San Antonio Express-News

Kings Ticket Sales Surging, Could Be Undone By Lockout

The Sacramento Kings' season ticket sales have already surpassed last year's total, team officials said this week, thanks to NBA marketing assistance and a newfound ardor among fans after the team nearly left town this spring.

But that bonanza could slow, starting Friday.

The NBA's collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight Thursday. If the league and players don't come to a new agreement by then, a lockout may ensue, and with it the possibility that the upcoming season will be shortened or canceled entirely.

"In the unfortunate event that games are missed next season, all NBA season ticket holders have the opportunity to receive a refund of the purchase price, plus interest, for all missed games," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

Via Tony Bizjak/Sacramento Bee

Leonsis Says Wizards Lost Money Last Year

In Ted Leonsis’s first season as owner of the Wizards, the team didn’t have much success on the court, as it finished with just 23 wins.

And in an interview on Monday with Chris Miller of Comcast SportsNet, Leonsis admitted that the Wizards weren’t very successful at the box office, either.

“We lost money last year,” Leonsis said, matter-of-factly, when asked about NBA Commissioner David Stern’s claims that 22 of the league’s 30 teams lost money last year.

Stern has stated that his goal is to make the league profitable for his owners, and the union estimates that the league is looking to make cuts of more than $8 billion over 10 years.

Via Michael Lee/Washington Post

Hawks Hold Pre-Lockout Minicamp

The Hawks are holding a three-day minicamp for free agents.

Owners Could Authorize Lockout Before Thursday Deadline

NBA owners could vote to approve a lockout when they meet Tuesday in Dallas.

Wasserman Media Group Pitches Basketball Tournament In China In Event Of Lockout

Sports marketing and management agency Wasserman Media Group, which represents 45 NBA players, is proposing a basketball exhibition tournament in China.

Collins To Visit Players Before Lockout Including Iguodala

Doug Collins claims the 76ers are not actively shopping Andre Iguodala.

Hunter: Owners Could Vote To Extend CBA Talks

Owners could vote to extend talks on a new collective bargaining agreement beyond the June 30 cutoff date.

Players Unite With STAND T-Shirts

On Friday, 50 NBA players arrived at collective bargaining agreement discussions wearing matching t-shirts with the word 'STAND' across the front.

Players Vow Unity After Union Meeting

Derek Fisher is helping lead the players union as a lockout approaches.

Stern: Players Have Received 'Much Better Partnership' Than Owners

Commissioner David Stern responded to comments made by NBPA President Derek Fisher about the latest proposal from the owners on Wednesday evening.

Players Displeased With Offer From Owners

Derek Fisher believes the owners' are actually proposing a 'hard cap' even though it has been labeled as a 'soft cap'.

Owners Offer 'Flex Cap' In CBA Meeting

Owners and players met for four hours in Manhattan on Tuesday to discuss parameters of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Union Submitting New CBA Proposal

The players union will submit a new CBA proposal Tuesday.

NBA Cancels Vegas Summer League

The NBA has officially canceled its annual Las Vegas Summer League, an apparent signal that the league is bracing for a lockout.

Owners Soften Stance On Non-Guaranteed Contracts

NBA owners relaxed their insistence on non-guaranteed contracts in a new collective bargaining agreement.

Source: League, Union Hundreds Of Millions Apart On New CBA

Little progress has been made on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Union President Fisher: Owners' Proposal Remains Unchanged

Derek Fisher said there has been “no change” in the owners’ proposal.

Hunter, Stern Express Optimism On Avoiding Lockout

Billy Hunter and David Stern expressed hope Wednesday that the NBA could avoid a lockout by reaching a compromise on a new collective bargaining agreement.
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