(NEW YORK) — Two weeks of NBA games are lost. Many more could be in jeopardy.
There's a "gulf" that separates owners and players, and they will have to close it quickly to avoid further damage to the schedule.
Sticking to his deadline, Commissioner David Stern wiped out the first two weeks of the season — exactly 100 games — after more than seven hours of negotiations Monday failed to produce a new labor deal and preserve the Nov. 1 season openers.(NewsFeed: "The Lasting Damage of the NBA Lockout.")
The cancellations mark the NBA's first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.
Clashing more over the salary cap system than economics — but still far apart on both — Stern said the sides are "very far apart on virtually all issues. ... We just have a gulf that separates us.
"With every day that goes by, I think we need to look at further reductions in what's left of the season," he added.
Stern said last week that he would cancel the first two weeks of the season Monday without a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout. The two sides expect to remain in contact, but no additional formal talks have been scheduled.
Stern said he was "sorry" and "sad" to report the cancellations.
"We certainly hoped it would never come to this," he said. "I think that both sides worked hard to get to a better solution. We think that we made very fair proposals. I'm sure the players think the same thing. But the gap is so significant that we just can't bridge it at this time."
Union president Derek Fisher agreed, emphasizing that missing any games puts the season in jeopardy. He also stressed this was a lockout, not a strike, and that it was the owners' decision not to be playing basketball.