NBA postpones training camps; cancels 43 preseason games
New York, NY – The first casualties of the NBA lockout came, as expected, Friday when the league announced its decision to postpone training camps and cancel 43 preseason games.
Representatives of the league's owners and players met Thursday for nearly 5 1/2 hours, but neither side had any positive comments following the session and reports began surfacing that camps would be delayed and games would soon be lost.
Camps were slated to open October 3 and preseason games were scheduled to begin six days later. The league said all exhibition games from October 9 through October 15 have been canceled.
"We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games," said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. "We will make further decisions as warranted."
The regular season is set to open November 1.
As for Thursday's discussions, optimism was not among the prevailing thoughts of the league or union.
"My demeanor is flat because I don't have anything to say," NBA commissioner David Stern said following Thursday's meeting. "We're getting on fine as a personal matter. We're each saying and believe we're doing the best for our clients and we're trying to make a fair deal. But both sides have work to do."
The union appeared just as sullen.
"We'll get back at it next week, hopefully earlier in the week, with respect to personal calendars, etc.," stated players association president Derek Fisher. "Right now there isn't anything to report or say. We'll keep working until we find some solutions."
The NBA locked out its players on July 1 after the most recent labor deal between the two sides expired. Unlike the labor strife that caused NFL lockout, which long appeared to be solvable, the problems facing the NBA have led observers to warn about a prolonged dispute like the one that canceled the 2004-05 NHL season.