Talks have broken off and with hardly any time left before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, the 2011 NBA season appears jeopardized.
A work stoppage in the National Basketball Association appears immiment as NBA.com reported on Thursday afternoon that communication between the two sides, the players and the owners, has stopped:
"Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players broke off on Thursday afternoon...players...told reporters that the owners said that they will lock out the players when the current agreement expires at midnight (on June 30th). The lockout would effectively shutter the league and could end up jeopardizing parts or all of the 2011-12 season."
The NBA has not seen a work stoppage since the 1998/99 season when the schedule was reduced to fifty games.
A pending lockout would threaten to curb the momentum that the NBA currently enjoys: "This expected lockout comes as the league completes one of its most successful seasons ever, with attendance, broadcast ratings and revenue up virtually across the board."
The NHL was the last major league level sports league in North America to lockout as the entire 2004/05 NHL season was canceled. Besides the NBA locking out in 1998/99 Major League Baseball also canceled a portion of its regular season in 1994, with no World Series played that year.
The fan blow-back could be immense but in a zero-sum world there will be beneficiaries of an NBA lockout. College basketball might increase in demand along with NHL hockey as they both run schedules that overlay with the NBA season.
But however far apart the two sides appear to be right now there is always a chance that they will come together in time to restore the season.
The NFL is currently locked-out but there is more optimism regarding that situation resolving. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers stated recently: "Everybody has a sense it will end soon. It's just matter of how soon is soon."