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NBA lockout timeline

Posted Sep 9 2011 9:25AM - Updated Dec 9 2011 8:15AM Labor Central

Here's a rundown of some key events in the NBA lockout, which began July 1, 2011:

2005 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | Latest Update


June 21, 2005:
The NBA and players union agree on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement. Some of the elements of the deal include:

• An age minimum of 19, with the stipulation that American players be one year removed from high school. International players are eligible for the draft if they are at least 19 in the calendar year of the draft. Contracts for first-round draft picks are also revamped, shifting from three years guaranteed with a team option for a fourth year to two years guaranteed with a team option on the third and fourth years.
• The luxury tax in effect every season. Previously, the luxury tax was in effect only in seasons where league-wide salaries exceed 61.111 percent of basketball-related income.
• Maximum contracts are reduced -- from seven years for free agents re-signing with their current team and six years for signing with a new team -- to six and five years, respectively.
• Formation of the NBA D-League.


February 15, 2009:
NBA commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter appear at a news conference during All-Star Weekend in Phoenix to announce that both sides are considering reopening talks on the CBA, two years ahead of the expiration of the deal.

"We all understand that we live and benefit from the success of the NBA. The last thing we want to do is see it lose its vitality," Hunter said. "We will do everything possible to reach a deal. Whether or not that means we will reopen before the expiration of the current contract's conclusion is another question. But I can say to you that we are anxious to reach a deal."

Said Stern: "Just to talk about frameworks and understandings and say when we get to the last day and then it is either one side or the other, it leads to bad things."

February 27, 2009:
The AP reports the NBA lines up $200 million to be distrubuted in loans to 12 teams that have expressed interest in the funds as they face financial hardship during tough economic times.

March 20, 2009:
After rumblings that the players and owners will reopen talks on reaching a new CBA, Stern reveals that he and Hunter have agreed to begin "substantive discussions."

"Billy and I have agreed that we will sit down after my owners' meeting [in April], with fully fledged committees on both sides, and commence a very, very intense and open dialogue about our business and its model," Stern said in an interview with

August 5, 2009:
In New York, the NBA officially notifies the players union during a 3 -hour meeting between a group of 10 owners and reps from the players union that it won't exercise an option to extend the CBA into the 2011-12 season. It is categorized as an introductory meeting. No proposals for a new CBA are made.

December 18, 2009:
Representatives from both sides agree to hold discussions during All-Star Weekend in Dallas.


January 29, 2010:
The union receives a proposal from the NBA and its owners that calls for drastic financial change, including, as Hunter said, a "hard" salary cap which would eliminate some exceptions that teams over the cap can use to sign players if they are willing to pay a luxury tax. The union also states that the proposal suggests cutting player contracts to a maximum of four years and decreasing the players' share of basketball-related income from 57 percent to under 50 percent.

February 12-14, 2010:
After a "contentious" union meeting, the NBA's proposal is rejected by the union.

"... We're going to make every effort to get an agreement done, we just want an agreement that's a lot more equitable and one that doesn't have a structure that's oppressive," Hunter told The Associated Press.

Despite the union's public stance on the proposal, Stern asserts that the NBA is projecting league-wide losses of about $400 million for the season and that a new financial model is needed.

"At our current level of revenue devoted to players' salaries, it's too high," Stern said. "I can run from that, but I can't hide from that, and I don't think the players can, either."

July 2, 2010:
The players union submits its first counter-proposal to the owners. According to reports, the proposal includes leaving the current soft cap with exceptions and the luxury tax in place in addition to pushing for a better revenue-sharing model among the teams.

August 12, 2010:
With stars such as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in attendance, the union and owners meet in New York. In a joint statement, the NBA and union said: "The NBA and NBPA held a four-hour bargaining meeting today that included constructive dialogue and a productive exchange of information. While we still have much work to do, it was encouraging how many players and owners participated in the process and all pledged to continue to work together. We all agreed to meet again before training camp."

October 21, 2010:
Stern reveals that the NBA wishes to drastically slash players' salaries as the league anticipates roughly $350 million in losses for the season.

"We would like to get profitable, have a return on investment," Stern said. "There's a swing of somewhere in the neighborhood of $750 [million] to $800 million that we would like to change. That's our story and we're sticking with it."

Stern also says that eliminating teams could be up for discussion as the league tries to get a hold on its financial situation.

"... I think that's a subject that will be on the table with the players as we look to see what's the optimum way to present our game, and are there cities and teams that cannot make it in the current economic environment. I'm not spending a lot of time on it," Stern said.

Hunter and Stern both acknowledge that All-Star Weekend would be an unofficial deadline to know whether a lockout is looming.

"We'll have a pretty good idea how good or not good things are by the end of February," Stern said.

October 22, 2010:
NBPA president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher reacts to Stern's talk of possible contraction:

"I can't speculate on what his intent with the comment was. It may be accurately how he feels, but for us -- myself and my players -- we're steadfast and focused on finding resolutions and continuing to create and come up with ways that we can actually get a deal done.

"We have a responsibility to protect as many jobs as we can."

November 18, 2010:
Both sides meet to discuss issues.

November 22, 2010:
Hunter says he is "99 percent sure" that there will be a lockout.

December 23, 2010:
LeBron James hints that scaling back the number of teams in the NBA would be "great."

"Hopefully the league can figure out one day how it can go back to the situation like it was in the 80s," James said. "... The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is. You had more [star] players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated ..."


January 20, 2011:
The owners and union agree to meet again during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

February 18, 2011:
Both sides take part in a two-hour meeting that includes several All-Stars. Terms such as "pretty cordial", "amicable" and "constructive" are used to describe the dialouge, but not much progress is made.

April 2011:
The league follows up with a new proposal to the union.

May 24, 2011:
The players union files a lawsuit with the National Labor Relations Board to try to prevent a lockout.

"We have urged the Board to investigate this matter quickly and to seek an injunction against the NBA's unlawful bargaining practices and its unlawful lockout threat," the union said.

"There is no merit to the charge filed today by the Players Association with the National Labor Relations Board, as we have complied -- and will continue to comply -- with all of our obligations under the federal labor laws. It will not distract us from our efforts to negotiate in good faith a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association," the league said in a statement.

June/July 2011:
Conversation continues as both sides conduct meetings during the NBA Finals. As time ticks down to the expiration of the CBA, the league relaxes a bit on its insistence on non-guaranteed contracts.

"Time is running out, but both parties seem, at least to me, intent to make a deal by June 30," Stern said.

A series of proposals and counterproposals are made as both sides try to strike a last-minute deal.

June 30, 2011, midnight:
The league announces that it will lock out the players when the CBA expires at midnight. Lockout begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

July 12, 2011: reports that, because the players were paid less than 57 percent of basketball-related income that was called for in the CBA, $160 million from escrow funds will be returned to the players. >> Read more

July 13, 2011:
The players union sends a memo to the players supporting their desires and plans to play basketball overseas. >> Read more

July 16, 2011:
Nets guard Deron Williams signs a contract with Turkey's Besiktas. The deal includes an opt-out clause that allows Williams to return to the NBA once the lockout ends. >> Read more

July 27, 2011:
Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul express interest in playing in China if the lockout is not resolved. >> Read more

July 29, 2011:
With the NBA's foreseeable future in jeopardy, FIBA grants players the option to play overseas. >> Read more

August 1, 2011:
Both sides meet for the first time since June with little to no progress and no new proposals.

"I don't feel optimistic. I don't feel optimistic about the players' willingness to engage in a serious way," Stern said.

The NBA also files unfair labor charges against the players union.

"For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith," said NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Adam Silver.

Hunter responded: "We urge the NBA to engage with us at the bargaining table and to use more productively the short time we have left before the 2011-12 season is seriously jeopardized."

August 9, 2011:
Dwyane Wade says he will be playing basketball somewhere in 2011-12, whether the lockout is resolved or not. >> Read more

August 19, 2011:
The Chinese Basketball Association ruless that it will only welcome NBA free agents -- not those under contract under the previous CBA -- and that they must stay for the entire Chinese season. >> Read more

Ten days later, Nuggets restricted free agent Wilson Chandler signs to play for Zhejiang Guangsha.

August 21, 2011:
Kevin Durant leads a summer league team to victory in a pick-up game with several young NBA stars. Players have been using high-profile summer league Pro-Am games to stay in shape. >> Read more

August 25, 2011:
Rather than sit inactive in between talks with the NBA, the players union holds regional informational sessions in Chicago, New York and other locations with players to keep them up to date in the negotiations. >> Read more

August 31, 2011:
Sides meet for six hours in New York in the second joint meeting since the lockout began. Both the union and NBA opt for privacy rather than discussing the particulars of the meeting, making progress hard to gauge.

"We just feel that a little bit less -- or a lot less -- of talking outside of the room and more talking inside of the room is better for everyone," Fisher said. >> Read more

September 7, 2011:
Meetings continue with another six-hour session. Both sides remain cautious not to portray any optimism, but Knicks guard Roger Mason Jr., a member of the players' executive committee, wrote "Looking like a season. How u" on his Twitter page. He later deletes the Tweet, stating his account was hacked.

"Time is running down, not necessarily out, but I think we all feel in the room that if we continue to work at it we can possibly find a way to get a deal done," Fisher said.

September 8, 2011:
Sides meet for a second consecutive day, agreeing again to keep details private. Although it is another small meeting, both sides suggest that future sessions might and should have more parties in attendance.

"I don't really know that it's positive or negative, I just think it's time to bring the parties into the room who are ultimately responsible for either making a deal or deciding that there shouldn't be a deal," Stern said. >> Read more

September 11, 2011:
On the heels of Mason Jr.'s tweet, reports that Fisher text-messaged numerous players a week earlier, saying that progress had been made and implored them to be physically prepared in case the season starts on time.

The next day, Fisher refutes the report of his text message to players in an story.

September 12, 2011:
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is fined $100,000 for public comments made about the labor dispute. >> Read more

September 13, 2011:
Talks resume for the third time in two weeks with the additional attendance of the owners' labor relations committee and the union's executive committee. Despite the increase in the parties present at the meeting, the talks do not prove to be positive as both sides continue to disagree on changes to the salary cap structure.

"I think coming out of today, obviously because of the calendar, we can't come out of here feeling as though training camps and the season is going to start on time at this point," Fisher said.

"Frankly, we're having trouble understanding why the label of a hard cap is what's breaking apart these negotiations right now, and that's what we discussed for a long time as a committee and then discussed together with the players," Silver said. >> Read more

September 14, 2011:
J.R. Smith signs a one-year deal to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. Under ruling from the Chinese league, Smith will not be able to return to the NBA if there is a 2011-12 season. >> Read more

September 15, 2011:
Both sides retreat to their corners as the owners hold their Board of Governors meeting in Dallas while the union meets amongst itself in Las Vegas.

One of the themes of both meetings is that each side stresses that its party is unified.

"A lot of guys weren't here in '98," said Warriors guard Stephen Curry. "This is the first time for a lot of guys. That's where you have vets, and guys like Billy who was here, been through that experience. ... It all goes back to how each of us has to have each other's back and just wait for that fair deal."

"Virtually unanimous," Stern said, "because some [owners] might say they want a hard cap with this wrinkle and some people might say they want a hard cap with that wrinkle, but I would say there's unanimity in favoring a hard cap, period."

September 21, 2011:
Small groups from both sides meet in New York for a few hours and plan to continue talks the next day. >> Read more

September 22, 2011:
After another rather unsuccessful meeting between the heads of the NBA and players union, the threat of training camps and some exhibition games being cancelled becomes more of a reality. Both Stern and Fisher state that "the calendar is not our friend" as the sides continue to hammer at a new collective bargaining agreement.

During an appearance at the University of Connecticut, Celtics guard Ray Allen says he is willing to sacrifice a whole season if necessary due to the NBA lockout.

"Nobody wants to miss a year," Allen said. "But I'm prepared to do what the team needs me to do, what my players association, players union team, what they need me to do, because we want to make sure we get the right deal for us."

September 23, 2011:
The league announces that training camps are being postponed indefinitely and all preseason games scheduled for Oct. 9-15 will be cancelled.

"We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games," Silver said in a statement. "We will make further decisions as warranted." >> Read more

September 27, 2011:
Sides take part in another small-groups meeting, this one lasting for about two hours, significantly shorter than most of the previous discussions. No new developments are revealed except that they plan to meet again the following day.

"They and we have both agreed that so long as there is reason to keep discussing, we will keep discussing, undeterred by the calendar or weekends or things like that," Stern said. "We will know more after tomorrow's session."

September 28, 2011:
The NBA and players union hold another meeting and the calendar is again a looming counterpart in the labor negotiations. According to a report, if little to no progress is made during talks planned for the weekend, Stern says the 2011-12 season is in serious jeopardy.

"I'm focused on let's get the two committees in and see whether they can either have a season or not have a season, and that's what's at risk this weekend," Stern said.

The NBA later denies that Stern has threatened to cancel the entire season, but a larger meeting -- opened up to the owners' 11-member Labor Relations Committee and to the union's Executive Committee -- is scheduled for Friday.

On the players' side, the union is requesting a collective of star players including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant to attend the Friday meeting. Wade confirms that he will be there.

"I look forward to learning something that I didn't learn two years ago [during All-Star Weekend in Dallas]," Wade told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "Hopefully, it's different information, something that will move us forward. Hopefully we don't walk out of the meeting back at where we were at the All-Star Game two years ago."

September 29, 2011:
Kobe Bryant reportedly agrees to a 10-game, $3 million deal with Italian team Virtus Bologna.

"Italy is my home. It's where my dream of playing in the NBA started. This is where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to (move) without the ball," Bryant told Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian newspaper.

The deal would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends.

September 30, 2011:
With star players such as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce on hand, the union and owners resume labor discussions. Fisher labels the meeting Video "engaging" but no deal is struck.

"We feel it helps the process for our teams to hear directly from a lot of times their star players, their franchise players, the guys who mean the most to our game," Fisher said.

According to reports, a tense exchange occurred between Wade and Stern after Wade, frustrated with the proceedings, felt he was disrespected by the commissioner.

In one bit of progress, the league says it is committed to quadruple revenue sharing that would go to smaller-market teams in the third year of a new revenue sharing plan the league is working on.

Stern cleared up his previous comments about "enormous consequences" if no progress is made during the weekend.

"Both sides agreed that the consequences of not making a deal lead us to the prospect of possibly at some point in the not distant future losing regular-season games," Stern said. "And we agreed that once you start to lose them and the players lose paychecks and the owners lose money, then positions on both sides will harden and those are the enormous consequences that I referred to in terms of trying to make a deal."

October 1, 2011:
The longest meeting between both sides since the lockout began July 1 takes place as the NBA and union talk for seven hours. The majority of the session is devoted to the salary cap structure, which the players insist on keeping the same while owners push for a number of changes.

Fisher said the players voiced their wishes for the next cap, including the midlevel and Larry Bird exceptions remaining in the deal.

"The reality is we still have an extremely long way to go," Fisher said. "Even with the exchanges that we made today, there's still huge gaps in what we've proposed compared to what they've proposed, and then obviously we still have the economics that are just kind of sitting out there waiting for us to tackle. So there's a lot of work left to be done, but we'll keep at this.''

No cancellations are suggested in terms of regular-season games, but the threat is clearly there as the calendar continues to turn.

"Our desire would be to not cancel, and we had been hopeful that this weekend would be a broader marker, but for reasons which we understand, the players suggested that we resume on Monday, and we said 'fine,''' Stern said.

October 3, 2011:
Talks resume in the smaller-group format and the focus is on preparing for, as Fisher describes, a "very huge day" of meetings with larger groups scheduled for the following day.

On the day training camps were to have officially opened, Silver stressed that compromise would be needed on both sides to get a deal done.

"We both understand that if we don't make our best offers in the next few days, we're going to be at the point where we're going to be causing damage to the game, to ourselves, and they're going to be out paychecks," Silver said.

Fisher and the union were anticipating another big showing of players for the upcoming meeting, and he contacted NBA players with a letter to update them on the negotiations as well as to discuss a joint letter drafted by NBA agents to players.

"We know that our backs are against the wall in terms of regular-season games and what those consequences will be," Fisher said, "but we still have to be respectful to the process, not rush through this, realizing that there are great deal of ramifications for years to come. So we have to be responsible in that regard." >> Read more

October 4, 2011:
The sides meet for about four hours on the "very huge day " and fail to reach agreement on the split of basketball-related revenue. The NBA announces the cancellation of the entire 114-game preseason schedule.

Stern says that if a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, at least in principle, is not reached by Oct. 10 (Monday), then the first two weeks of the season will be lost. The regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.

No further meetings are scheduled, making it even more likely the league will lose games to a work stoppage for only the second time in its history.

"Today was not the day for us to get this done," Fisher said. "We were not able to get close enough to close the gap."

Stern and Silver said owners offered players a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. That's below the 57 percent that players were guaranteed under the previous collective bargaining agreement, but more than the 47 percent union officials said was proposed to them. >> Read more

October 10, 2011:
After a five-and-a-half hour meeting that stretched into the late hours of the night, the owners and players plan to meet again the following day in a last-ditch attempt to save any regular season games from being canceled.

Stern had set a deadline for a deal to avoid cancellations for the day, as the logistics of starting a season on Nov. 1 become increasingly difficult with each passing day. >> Read more

October 10, 2011:
Both sides reconvened for a little over seven hours but were unable to come to terms, resulting in the first two weeks of the NBA season being canceled. Stern said both sides are "very, very far apart" on a new CBA and that the longer it takes to come to an agreement, the more owners will try to recoup monetary losses incurred through canceled games. >> Read more

October 12, 2011:
The players union and NBA agree to meet early next week with a federal mediator as the sides continue to try to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement. Similar mediations were successful in helping both the NFL and Major League Soccer reach deals on their own CBAs.

In an interview with NBA TV's David Aldridge, Stern reveals that if no significant progress is made during the mediator session, the rest of the season will be in jeopardy.

"Each side is going to meet with the mediator on Monday, and if there's a breakthrough, it's going to come on Tuesday," Stern said. "And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us, because we aren't making any progress."

October 17, 2011:
Federal mediator George Cohen meets individually with both sides in preparation for a joint session scheduled for the following day. >> Read more

October 18, 2011:
NBA players and owners spend 16 hours meeting with Cohen and plan to return the next day at 10 a.m. to continue the talks.

They didn't emerge with the deal Stern wanted, but things went well enough that the owners decide to alter their plans of proceeding with their Board of Governors meeting the following day after previously saying they weren't available.

Under recommendation from Cohen, both sides left the meeting without commenting.

"The federal mediator has asked both sides to refrain from making public comments," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said after the session. >> Read more

October 19, 2011:
After the 16-hour marathon meeting, the sides meet for more than eight hours and agreed to continue talks on the next day.

"The discussions have been direct and constructive, and as far as we are concerned, we are here to continue to help assist the parties to endeavor to reach an agreement," Cohen said. >> Read more

Though Cohen's inclusion in the talks has been seen as a big plus, his biggest task remains finding common ground among the players and owners.

October 20, 2011:
NBA labor talks turned nasty and broke off when three days of meetings failed to yield a deal to end a 112-day lockout, raising the likelihood that even more games will be canceled.

After 30 hours of negotiations before a federal mediator, the sides remained divided over two main issues -- the division of revenues and the structure of the salary cap system.

"We've spent the last few days making our best effort to try and find a resolution here. Not one that was necessarily a win-win. It wouldn't be a win for us. It wouldn't be a win for them. But one that we felt like would get our game back ... and get our guys back on the court, get our vendors back to work, get the arenas open, get these communities revitalized," Derek Fisher said. >> Read more

After the talks broke off, Video Fisher spoke with David Aldridge about his frustrations with the negotiations and what may be the next step in the process.

October 26, 2011:
The sides agree to talk again the following day after the latest discussions got heated. According to reports, they will return to the small group format and Stern, who was forced to miss a previous session because of illness, will be in attendance. >> Read more

October 26-27, 2011:
Sides negotiate for more than 15 hours, making incremental progress on the "system" issues.

"We were able to work through a number of different issues today regarding our system," union president Derek Fisher said. "We can't say that major progress was made in any way, but some progress was made on system issues."

The owners and players agree to resume talks at 2 p.m. ET in hopes of a new deal and possibly playing an 82-game season. >> Read more

October 27, 2011:
After negotiating for more than seven hours, sides agree to reconvene the next day. In their news conferences after the day's talks, both sides conveyed optimism in getting a deal done in the next few days.

"I think we're within striking distance of getting a deal," Hunter said.

Stern told TNT's David Aldridge he finally has an "idea" of what a deal might look like. And then Stern, in direct response to a question, said that it would be a failure not to get a deal in the next few days considering the momentum that has been gained over the last two days.

"There are no guarantees that we'll get it done, but we're going to give it one heck of a shot," Stern said. >> Read more

October 28, 2011:
After seemingly making progress the day before, talks crashed, with BRI the main culprit. With talks stalled, Stern canceled all games through Nov. 30.

"We held out that joint hope together, but in light of the breakdown of talks, there will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances," Stern said.

As close as things seemed ... they seem as far apart now as they've ever been. Now, we have to wonder again about Christmas Day games and, indeed, whether there will be a 2011-12 season at all. >> Read more

November 3, 2011:
NBA players and owners plan to start negotiating during the weekend, and the union's leaders say they're unified as they seek to resolve the lockout. Fisher, Hunter and executive committee members said after meeting for about three hours that there was no truth to reports of a rift among them. >> Read more

TNT's David Aldridge, meanwhile, reported that a high-ranking official felt Stern would be "hard-pressed" to find a majority of the legaue's owners that would stick with the 50-50 proposal.

November 5, 2011:
After meeting separately during the morning, the two sides met for 8.5 hours, with federal mediator George Cohen returning to help find a compromise. The NBA proposed a new offer to the players, and set a deadline of Nov. 9 at the close of business for the players to accept. The players declared the offer an "ultimatum" and gave no indication that they would accept the league's latest proposal. >> Read more

November 8, 2011:
Some 43 players, including representatives from 29 teams and superstars Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin, met for about three hours Tuesday afternoon to discuss the owners' latest proposal. In a post-meeting news conference, they rejected the proposal and said the union wanted more negotiations before the 5 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 9) deadline imposed by Stern. The union indicated there were system issues that needed to be modified if players were going to accept a split in a so-called "band" of from 49 to 51 percent of basketball-related revenue (BRI), which is the "50-50" deal offered by owners. >> Read more

In a later interview with TNT's David Aldridge on NBA TV, Video Stern reiterated that at the close of business Wednesday, a new offer would be on the table -- one that would provide only 47 percent of BRI for players. He said whether he agreed to meet before then "would be guided by the [owners] labor relations committee."

November 9, 2011:
After another marathon meeting, this one lasting nearly 12 hours, no 'significant progress' was made toward a new deal. But both sides agree to talk again, while NBA commissioner agreed to stop the clock on the deadline.

"I would not read into this optimism or pessimism," Stern said. "We're not failing. We're not succeeding. We're just there."

At this point, the union and NBA have used 22 sessions and 148 hours worth of meetings trying to come to a new collective bargaining agreement. >> Read more

November 10, 2011:
A 72-game season starting Dec. 15 is there for NBA players. All they have to do is say `yes' to a revised proposal, which was presented to the union following nearly 11 hours of negotiations.

"I would not presume to project or predict what the union would do," Stern said. "I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule starting on Dec. 15."

The union stated it will regroup and review the offer early next week. >> Read more

November 14, 2011:
After spending the weekend mulling the NBA's offer, players arrived in New York City and delivered a resounding but risky response to one more ultimatum from NBA Commissioner David Stern: See you in court.

The players' association rejected the league's latest proposal for a new labor deal and began disbanding, paving the way for a lawsuit that throws the season in jeopardy.

By filing a disclaimer of interest, the union ended its role as a collective-bargaining agent and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter became the executive director of a "trade association". Outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and attorney David Boies -- who, ironically, represented NFL owners when they thwarted the football players' decertification push last spring -- will become the key figures from the players' side, taking over for Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher. >> Read more

November 15, 2011:
The locked-out players, including Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, file class-action antitrust lawsuits against the league in northern California and in Minneapolis. Boies said the NBA lockout violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow players to work. >> Read more

November 17, 2011:
Stern and the team owners conduct a conference call to discuss and update each other on the failed negotiations and resulting upcoming litigation being pursued now by the players. >> Read more

November 21, 2011:
Boies and the players withdraw the California lawsuit to focus on the complaint filed in Minnesota.

"Talking it through ... we thought things probably would move faster in Minnesota. The docket is less congested there," Boies said.

"This is consistent with Mr. Boies' inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims," Rick Buchanan, NBA executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

The NBA must submit its response by Dec. 5. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz. >> Read more

November 23, 2011:
Talks aimed at ending the NBA lockout have resumed, two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday, with a quick settlement necessary to start the season by Christmas.

The discussions began quietly Tuesday and are expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, the people told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential. >> Read more

As Steve Aschburner points out, getting the season under way by Christmas would be a great gift for fans and would likely be a positive for all sides.

NBA commissioner David Stern has said repeatedly that the league would need 30 days from a handshake deal to tipoff of a regular season, not only to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement but to prepare for the business of basketball (free agency, training camps, a possible "preseason" game or two). That would suggest a deadline of Friday, Nov. 25, for Christmas to remain in play.

November 25-26, 2011:
NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout. After a secret meeting earlier this week, the sides met for more than 15 hours Friday, working to try to save the season. This handshake deal, however, still must be ratified by both owners and players.

"We've reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we're optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25," Commissioner David Stern said.

Stern has repeatedly said that 30 days will be needed from a handshake agreement to tipoff, and before players can vote to approve a deal, they must drop their lawsuit against the league and recertify as a union. A simple majority vote of the 430-plus union membership is needed to approve -- or disapprove -- the settlement.

At least 15 of 29 owners are needed to ratify. Details about the agreement has yet to be revealed. The league plans a 66-game season and aims to open camps Dec. 9. The season is proposed to start with a marquee triple-header: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas. >> Read more

December 8, 2011:
Both the owners and players ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, enabling training camps and the free agency period for the 2011-12 season to begin on Fri., Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. ET.

"I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the collective bargaining process and have reached an agreement that addresses many significant issues that were challenges to our league," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "This collective bargaining agreement will help us move toward a better business model, a more competitive league and better alignment between compensation and performance."

The agreement includes a 50-50 split of basketball-related income, a higher luxury tax with progressive tax rates and the retention of a soft salary cap system. The maximum length of player contracts will be five years (previously six) and maximum annual increases in salaries will be 7.5% for teams re-signing their own players and 4.5% for teams signing other teams' free agents.

This agreement officially ends the 161-day lockout. >> Read More

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