NBA November games nixed

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The National Basketball Association canceled another two weeks of the season on Friday and conceded it was now too late to save the entire 82-game season even if owners and players reached an agreement to end their bitter labor dispute.

After a third straight day of talks between the feuding parties ended in New York without an agreement, NBA Commissioner David Stern, who had already scrapped the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season, announced that more games had been lost to the dispute.

"Our games are canceled through the end of the month of November," he told a news conference. "It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now.

"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."

Some progress was made by the two sides on salary cap issues over the previous two days of negotiations at a Manhattan hotel but the division of basketball-related income once again proved to be the main stumbling block.

The players had offered to reduce their share from 57 to 53 percent, and lowered that to 52.5 percent last week. On Friday, they said they could drop to 52 but that was not enough for the owners who had formally proposed a 50-50 split.

"Today wasn't the day to try and close this out," NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters in the hotel lobby.

Billy Hunter, the executive director of the players' union, said: "We made a lot of concessions but this time, unfortunately, it's not enough."

Any chance of a deal being struck appeared very distant last week after three days of marathon talks in New York with a federal mediator had ended in bitter disagreement.

However, negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement picked up steam after reports earlier this week suggested the league was ready to ax two more weeks from the schedule.

No further meetings have been scheduled between the two sides.

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