By Jeff Lenchiner

NBA

The NBA announced late Monday night that it has canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA regular season because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

This cancellation includes all games originally scheduled to be played from November 1 through November 14.

“Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players’ union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Refunds plus interest are available for all NBA season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.

After an unexpected meeting Sunday night in New York City, key representatives of the NBA owners and the players union stayed in town and got together again Monday afternoon. They got started around 2:15 or 2:30 p.m. ET or so and didn’t finish until around 9:45 p.m. at night.Earlier in the day, progress was reported on a near agreement in regard to changing the mid-level exception in free agency, but that’s a minor issue in the labor disputes that caused and prolonged the ongoing NBA lockout.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, after the meeting the first person to speak to the media was David Stern, who said: “I’m sorry to report … that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled.”

More from Berger: Stern says owners’ proposal would’ve raised average player salary from $5-$7m/year. … Issues on the “competition side” have “separated us greatly.” …  Stern says players requested raised of 10.5 pct. And 9 pct… Stern: “we depart on good terms with negotiators. We just have a gulf that separates us.” … Stern: Yes, cancellation means no chance of an 82-game season… Stern: we couldn’t close the gap. … underpinning was union was at 53 and we were at 47… Stern: we remain very, very far apart on virtually all issues.

Still more from Berger: Adam Silver: What’s separated us over the past two days are not economic issues, but the system… Stern says further negotiations have to “account for the losses we are incurring” by canceling games… Stern on whether season itself is in jeopardy: “I’d like to think not.” … tern to fans: “I say that we tried awfully hard. We made, in our view, concession after concession.”

That’s from the owners side. As for the players union, here is president Derek Fisher, as tweeted by Berger:

Fisher: “I continue to believe that we’ve been more than fair and reasonable in our approach.” … Fisher: “This is what we anticipated would happen, and here we are.” … Fisher: “This is not just about dollars and cents for players. It’s about a system for our guys to operate under.” … Fisher says owners’ proposal of punitive luxury tax is “still as close as you can get, if not a hard cap.” … Hunter: “I don’t know that the season is in jeopardy. I think it would be foolish.”

Will the first two regular season weeks be all we lose? Or could another two weeks soon be taken? No one knows.

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