Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NFL lockout ends, but NBA’s is just beginning

The NBA is divided and now it stands alone.

When the NFL's 4½-month lockout ended Monday, the NBA became the lone major professional sport whose game is burdened by a work stoppage.

The resolution of the NFL's labor stalemate should provide a template for the NBA: Owners and players traded proposals until an unavoidable deadline approached, then compromised at the last minute on a new collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that is expected to strengthen the league while preventing the cancellation of games and lost revenue.

The NBA's path toward continued success is clear. But few believe that the league will follow it, and signs continue to point toward a debilitating extended lockout that could erase the entire 2011-12 season.

NBA commissioner David Stern and NBA Players Association (NBPA) executive director Billy Hunter have yet to gather for an official CBA discussion since owners locked out players July 1. A formal meeting is not scheduled, either, and one will not occur until momentum picks up. Meanwhile, the lockout's four-week anniversary tips off Friday.

"I don't think it is unexpected," said Gabe Feldman, Tulane law professor and director of the school's sports law program. "And I don't think we'll see much movement until both sides feel some pressure — either through legal action or because the regular season is approaching."

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