NBA headed for lockout after talks collapse

Photograph by: Lucas Jackson, REUTERS
National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern answers questions from the media regarding failed contract negotiations between the NBA and the players association in New York June 30, 2011.

NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) - The NBA was on the verge of its first work stoppage in 13 years after negotiations over a new labor deal collapsed hours before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, the union representing players said on Thursday.

Following a last-ditch negotiating session between the league and union, the two sides walked away from the bargaining table after a three-hour meeting far apart on several financial issues and the players opposed to a new salary cap system.

According to the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) the lockout will take effect at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) Friday when the current agreement expires.

“I’ve been waiting for a lockout for two, three years,” union chief Billy Hunter told reporters. “Now it’s here. Our guys are anxious to get a deal ... 12:01 tonight it will go into effect.”

The NBA, which has said 22 of the league’s 30 clubs are losing money, is now facing its first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced by 32 games to 50.

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