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New setback could mean delay of NBA season

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 5:27 AM EDT, Sat October 8, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The owners said they will not budge on their revenue-sharing offer
  • The owners say the players have refused to meet with them
  • The NBA says if a deal is not reached by Monday, the season will be delayed

(CNN) -- It is almost a certainty that the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season as fragile labor talks between the players and owners took a negative turn Friday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has said if a deal to end the lockout cannot be struck by Monday, he will cancel the first two weeks of the season.

On Friday, the owners informed the basketball players' union that they would not budge on their latest offer on how the two sides would share revenues.

"We told the union today that we were willing to meet as early as Sunday. We also advised them that we were unwilling to move above the 50-50 split of revenues that was discussed between the parties on Tuesday but that we wanted to meet with them to discuss the many remaining open issues. The union declined," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.

If this impasse continues over the weekend, it is almost assured that the NBA season will be delayed.

The labor struggle and lockout has stretched to three months and the NBA has canceled all 114 preseason games.

The season is scheduled to start on Nov. 1.

Stern has said that last season was not profitable for most of the league's 30 owners, who want cost-cutting help from players.

The league lost as much as $300 million in the 2010-11 season, Stern has said.

One of the battles has focused on the owners' rejection of the union call for an average $7 million player salary in the sixth year of a new labor deal.

The current average salary is about $5 million.

Other big issues include a fight over whether the NBA will strengthen its salary cap and a move by owners to get a bigger share of revenues.

The last work stoppage occurred in 1998.

CNN's Michael Doyle contributed to this report.

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