CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports from New York City that the NBA owners have informed representatives of the National Basketball Players Association that they will be instituting a lockout, as no deal was reached on a new collective bargaining agreement.
This decision was expected, given the lack of progress during recent negotiating sessions. The two sides had until midnight Thursday to negotiate a deal that would have avoided a lockout. The lockout will officially begin at 12:01 AM eastern time. Berger reports that the two sides have not yet scheduled any future bargaining sessions.
Berger also reports that the players union "has no plans to decertify as of now and will continue to negotiate, according to a source." That decision will allow the two sides to continue negotiating.
Berger quotes Derek Fisher, president of the NBPA, regarding a "last-ditch proposal" presented to the owners on Thursday: ""It was met with the reality that we'll probably be locked out tonight."
He also quotes Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBPA: "I've been anticipating this lockout for the last two or three years, and now it's here."
The Associated Press adds these additional details.
Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the NBA and its players could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. The CBA was due to expire at midnight.NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters in a televised press conference that the players suggested that the two sides should "start from scratch" in their forthcoming negotiations.
All league business is officially on hold, starting with the free agency period that would have opened Friday, and games eventually could be lost, too. The last lockout reduced the 1998-99 season to just a 50-game schedule, the only time the NBA missed games for a work stoppage.
The sides remained far apart on just about every major issue, from salaries to the salary cap, revenues to revenue sharing.
Players, who previously offered to reduce their salaries by $500 million over five years, considered the owners' proposal for a "flex" cap, where each team would be targeted to spend $62 million, a hard cap. Although the league said total player compensation would never dip below $2 billion over the life of its proposed 10-year deal, that would amount to a pay cut for the players, who were paid more than $2.1 billion this season in salaries and benefits.
Owners also wanted a reduction in the players' guarantee of 57 percent of basketball revenues.
"The players on the way out suggested to us that when we reconvene maybe that we should start from scratch. Maybe there are things that we should think about that we haven't thought about before. I don't mean to suggest [the league's current offer] is 'off the table' in any threatening way, it just hasn't done the job. The question is what does it take on both sides to get the job done."
Stern also said: "I'm not scared, I'm resigned to the potential damage it could cause to our league."
Here are live updates as they come in from New York City regarding the labor negotiations.
Yahoo! Sports quotes NBPA representative Matt Bonner: "We tried to avoid a lockout. Unfortunately we could not reach a deal."
CNBC.com reports that Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the NBPA, said: "Their position was that we're too far away... the gap is too great." The site also quoted Hunter on the decision not to decertify the union: "I just don't think it's necessary."
The New York Post reports that Hunter expects the two sides to meet "in two weeks" to continue their negotiations. The paper also notes that the players association has requested "documentation" from the owners.
The Salt Lake Tribune quotes Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell on the union's resolve: "We're not going to crack."
This post will continue to update throughout the day as news breaks.