Owners and players far apart in tense negotiations

For months, reports have said that hard-line NBA owners would have no qualms canceling the entire 2011-12 season, if it came to that in their collective bargaining with the players association, because many suffering teams would be better off not playing.

So it was no surprise when the league made good Monday on Commissioner David Stern's promise to call off the first two weeks of the regular season.

Stern had warned that the first two weeks - roughly one-12th of the schedule - would be canceled if the talks didn't produce fruit after the weekend. He made the cancellation official Monday evening.

'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 in a press release.

Top negotiators had resumed their meetings, but seven hours or work on Monday led to nothing new, other than the cancellation of games scheduled for Nov. 1 through Nov. 14.

Stern said the owners and players were "far apart on virtually all issues."

Billy Hunter, executive director of the players' union, said he believes the owners' intention all along was to slice some games from the schedule.

"I think everybody is waiting for the players to cave," Hunter said. "They figure that once a player misses a check or two it's all over."

Hunter added that "the players are all going to hang in."

The sides have not scheduled their next negotiating session.

The league said that refunds plus interest are available to season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.

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