NBA expected to announce cancellation of the season's first month

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NBA expected to announce cancellation of the season's first month

Sometime today, the NBA is expected to announce the remaining games in November to be canceled, moving the league one step closer toward having the entire season wiped out, which would be a first in NBA history.

This latest round of canceled games will have a much, much greater impact than the first wave of cancellations.

Missing games the first two weeks of the season (Nov. 1-14) is one thing.

But losing the remaining games in November, beginning on Nov. 15, is a huge, huge deal.

Players usually get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month during the season, beginning in November and ending in May. Some have their payments spread out over the course of a year, from Nov. 1 through October 31.

And while there's still plenty of time left to get a deal done and salvage the remainder of the season, talks have taken a more drastic, negative tone following the most recent set of meetings.

Having spent more than 30 hours negotiating over a three-day period of time, talks broke off Friday evening with both sides claiming it was the other who ended discussions.

It doesn't matter who shut down the talks.

The end result is that there is no CBA in place, and there's little hope that one will get done anytime soon.

"Both sides hopefully won't harden," said Spurs owner Peter Holt, who is also chair of the league's labor relations committee. "Right now, it could be tougher to meet again and resume talks than it has been in the past to get back together."

The two biggest issues remain how to divide up the Basketball-Related Income, and the system under which the league will operate moving forward.

NBA owners want at least 50 percent of the BRI, after having had just 43 percent of the BRI in the last CBA.

Meanwhile, the players were initially offering to go down to 53 percent, and later proposed a band in which they would make at least 50 percent but no more than 53 percent.

The league rejected both, but did express some interest in a band that starts at 49 percent but goes no higher than 51 percent.

NBA commissioner David Stern's ownership group has a long list of desires for a new deal with the players, including the shortening of contracts, a harsher luxury tax, and the flexibility of having more non-guaranteed contracts all moves essentially designed to protect themselves from themselves.

Throughout this lockout, there has been a sharp contrast between the owners and players.

This was quite evident when talks broke off last week.

Holt, who addressed the media in place of Stern while the commissioner was home with the flu, had a different take on where things stood compared to the union's perspective.

"Both sides, for lack of a better term, felt stuck," Holt said. "We kind of wore each other out. We are where we are. They are where they are. We need some fresh air, and maybe some fresh thoughts and maybe try to get together."

Moments after Holt's words, the union said that they were prepared to negotiate with the owners throughout the weekend.

According to Billy Hunter, talks broke down when the owners gave the union a "take-it-or-leave it" offer on the BRI being split 50-50.

Hunter said the union wasn't going to make that kind of decision unless they knew what type of systematic changes the league was planning to do.

"If you're pushing the 50-50, there's no way in the world, even if it's feasible, for a 50-50 deal, if we don't know what the system is," said Hunter, who added that the owners didn't want to talk about the system changes unless they could get a commitment on a 50-50 split.

Regardless of which story you believe, it's clear that the NBA came into these negotiations with a very clear-cut agenda, and so far at least will do whatever it takes to get their way even it means losing an entire season.

"We don't take anything we do lightly at all," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. "But we have certain core beliefs that we have to address that we think are absolutely necessary to achieve before we continue to play NBA basketball."

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, yet there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions.

Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches this season and there is little time to fix it.

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a much-anticipated showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland.

"The way we've been struggling, (the Spurs are) the last team that you want to play," said LeBron James, who was fine after taking an elbow to the neck. "A well-oiled machine like this, they exploit everything that you're not doing well at that point in time of the season and right now we're not playing good basketball."

James, who finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes, said he will play Thursday at Chicago.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers have nine games remaining, all against teams in the East, including a visit to Boston on April 5.

James said the standings "always matter," but playing more consistently is far more important and he refused to blame injuries or an arduous schedule for the team's troubles.

"It matters more that we're playing better basketball than where we're at," he said. "If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That's what it comes down to."

What Cleveland is seeking, the Spurs have already found.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home game against the Warriors on Wednesday.

The Spurs have won five straight and 8 of 10 after sweeping the season series with the Cavaliers.

"It was a big game, but in the end, it's just one game, and one win," San Antonio guard Tony Parker said. "We're trying to be consistent. We're trying to play the same way every game. It was definitely surprising. Coming off a loss, I thought they would play with a lot more energy, but it can happen. It's a long season. It's just one game and I'm sure they're going to bounce back and use this game as motivation."

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs.

San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd, and the Spurs' bench outscored the Cavaliers' reserves 49-24.

"We did a good job coming out early and then keeping our foot on the pedal," Leonard said.

Cleveland, which was already without injured Iman Shumpert, received more bad news Monday morning when it was announced that Kyle Korver will miss at least two more games with a sore left foot.

"You lose Korver and Shumpert off your bench and things tend to change," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "With those two guys out, we tried some different things and it didn't work. It was not on the bench. It was on me."

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than rest them, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cav's second lopsided loss in the past two weeks.

Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the team's final nine games, which James is not in favor of.

"Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play," he said.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt. He remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench.

James left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout, but said afterward he is fine.

EXTRA SHOOTING

Irving returned to the court for about 15 minutes following the loss to work on his jump shot. The star guard had eight points and two assists in 26 minutes. He finished 4 for 13 from the field and missed his two 3-point attempts.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers . . . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points . . . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding opponents under 100 points per game for the 22nd straight season . . . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots . . . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Mike Felger and Marc Bertrand talk about the Celtics clinching the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference and other potential threats for the C's.