SPORTS

NBA locks out players after no new deal

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Owners want to reduce the players' guarantee of 57 percent of basketball revenue and weren't moved by the players' offer to drop it to 54.3 percent — though players said that would have cut their salaries by $500 million over five years.

They sparred over the league's characterization of its "flex" salary cap proposal — players considered it a hard cap, which they oppose — and any chance of a last-minute deal was quickly lost Thursday when league officials said the union's move was in the wrong direction financially.

"I don't think we're closer; in fact it worries me that we're not closer. We have a huge philosophical divide," Stern said.

Hunter said he hopes the two sides will meet again in the next two weeks, after the union has looked at some additional documents it requested.

The players' association seems unlikely, at least for now, to follow the NFL Players' Association's model by decertifying and taking the battle into the court system, instead choosing to continue negotiations.

"We'll just continue to ask our fans to stick with us and remain patient with us. As players we want to play. That's who we are; we're basketball players," Lakers guard and union president Derek Fisher said. "Right now we're faced with dealing with the business aspect of our game. We're going to do it the same way we play basketball. We're going to work hard. We're going to be focused. We're going to be dedicated to getting the results that we want."

About 90 percent of NBA players get paid from Nov. 15 through April 30, so they won't be missing checks for a while. But Stern has warned that the offers only get worse once a lockout starts, so the league could try to push through elements of its original proposal when bargaining resumes.

"The fortunate thing about this situation is it didn't just come up over the past couple of weeks," Hornets guard and players' executive committee member Chris Paul said at an event in Louisiana. "We've known this could be a possibility the past couple of years. I've been telling my teammates the past couple of years, and even the young guys that come in the league, to just be ready for it."

Like with the NFL lockout, NBA players won't be the only ones affected. Employees of teams and the league also face a very uncertain future. Stern admitted all options would be considered, including furloughs for his employees.

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