No movement on day NBA season would have started
NEW YORK – No KD vs. Kobe, no championship banner in Dallas.
The original start date to the NBA season arrived Tuesday with progress still stalled in the negotiations to end the lockout. No further talks have been scheduled, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been made public.
Players and owners made progress on a number of issues related to the salary cap system over two days last week. But the negotiations fell apart again on the third day, when the sides decided to revisit the revenue sharing split.
Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split, while players have proposed reducing their guarantee from 57 percent down to 52.5, which they say would transfer more than $1.5 billion to owners over six years.
Three games had been scheduled for Tuesday. The Mavericks would have opened the defense of their first NBA title at home against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Houston was at Utah, with Kevin Durant's Thunder at Kobe Bryant's Lakers. Most of the league would have started Wednesday.
Instead, TNT was airing a "Bones" marathon Tuesday night.
Commissioner David Stern canceled games through the end of November on Friday. The first two weeks of the season already had been lost to the lockout, which began after the old collective bargaining agreement expired June 30.
A day after union president Derek Fisher sent out a letter to players assuring them of leadership's unity, players' association executive director Billy Hunter did the same. In the letter, obtained by The Associated Press and other media outlets and first reported by ESPN.com, Hunter contended a 50-50 split "does not adequately compensate the players for our services to the NBA."
"We will not be intimidated by public threats, ultimatums and manufactured drop dead dates," he wrote.
The letters came as a response to a report on Foxsports.com on Saturday titled "Is Fisher in Stern's pocket?" Fisher released a statement Tuesday saying his lawyers were demanding a retraction.
With no NBA games to play, Durant was still finding ways to compete and challenge fellow hoops stars.
Durant tweeted Monday he was interested in playing flag football. When fans at Oklahoma State University offered an invitation, he showed up in Stillwater that night to play. He tweeted later that he threw four touchdown passes and had three interceptions in a victory.
Then on Tuesday, LeBron James sent a tweet to the Thunder star that he was interested in setting up a flag football showdown between Durant's team and his own squad in Akron, Ohio. Durant answered that his team was ready and James should set it up.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney and AP Sports Writers Jeff Latzke and Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.