After team owners and players remained far apart on negotiations for the past three months, the National Basketball Association cancelled the first two weeks of the season. Commissioner David Stern said, "I'm sorry to report -- particularly for the thousands of people who depend on our industry for their livelihood -- that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled. We remain, really, very, very far apart on virtually all issues."
However, players association executive director Billy Hunter suggested that the cancelled games and missed paychecks for players were just part of the script, "I'm convinced that this is all just part of the plan. I think everybody's waiting for the players to cave. They figure that once a player misses a check or two, it's all over. I'm saying ... that would be a horrible mistake if they think that's going to happen, because it's not going to happen. The players are all going to hang in."
Twenty-two of the NBA's 30 teams lost money last season (total losses across the league—$300 million). According to NBA.com, "In addition to salary givebacks from the players—the owners are trying to cut total player compensation from 57 percent of basketball-related income to 47 percent in their latest proposal—they want to alter the salary-cap system to prevent some teams from dramatically outspending others as a way of warping competitive balance. Their proposed solutions: a hard salary cap (compared to the long-established "soft" cap) or tougher luxury-tax penalties to further penalize the free-spending teams." Players would like a 53-47 split, and a soft-cap system. The owners and players are also arguing about length of contracts.
The two-week cancellation means $700-800 million in losses. It's unlikely the NBA would reschedule games if the season starts up again, which means they would play less than 82 games for the season (the league has prepped 75-, 70-, and 65-game schedules).