The 2011-12 NBA season is at risk after talks on a new collective bargaining agreement between the League and its players broke down on Thursday, forcing a lockout. The news could have implications for Great Britain’s NBA stars playing at this summer’s EuroBasket.

“It’s with some sadness that we’re going to recommend this to the (labour relations) committee,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern, “because a lockout has a very large impact on a lot people, most of whom are not associated with either side.”

“The gap is too great,” between the players and the owners, said union head Billy Hunter. “Obviously, the clock is now running with regard to whether or not there will or will be a loss of games.”

The lockout, which will mark the NBA’s first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to just 50 games, will take effect at 12:01 a.m Eastern Standard Time (05:01 BST) on Friday.

The NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas already has been canceled, preseason games in Europe were never scheduled, and players might have to decide if they want to risk playing in this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournaments without the NBA’s help in securing insurance in case of injury. That could impact on Luol Deng and Ben Gordon representing Team GB at EuroBasket in Lithuania.

NBA officials say 22 of the league’s 30 clubs are losing money, and that they are seeking contract changes to offset net losses they claim run to some $300 million.

“The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams,” claimed NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.”

“We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting $2 billion annually as the players’ share — an average of approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth,” added Silver. “Elements of our proposal would also better align players’ pay with performance.”

“We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.”

During the lockout, players will not receive their salaries; teams will not negotiate, sign or trade player contracts; players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose; and teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.


Stay tuned to for more updates.

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