Out of Time: NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

Out of Time: NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

Say goodbye to the first two weeks of the NBA regular season.

On the 102nd day of the lockout, owners and players failed to reach any sort of solution that would allow the season to start on time. The news comes less than one week after the cancellation of the league's preseason schedule. This is the first time the NBA has had to cancel any portion of its season since 1998, when a similar work stoppage ultimately resulted in a 50-game schedule.

Though the two sides indeed participated in a last-ditch effort on Sunday and Monday to possibly avoid this scenario, the Association will nonetheless be absent from our usual sporting lives come November 1, the season's previously scheduled starting date.

The dispute largely revolves around the sharing of Basketball Related Income (BRI) and the potential overhauling of the players' salary structure.

Starting with BRI, the players currently receive 57% of all basketball related income, leaving the owners, of course, with the remaining 43%. While the players appear willing to come down to a 53-47 share, the owners are now reportedly working toward a 50-50 split, even if they were publicly denying it earlier in the week.

If the gap between the sides appears relatively small—just 3%—remember that, much like in the case of the NFL lockout, each one of those individual percentage points is actually worth a huge sum of money. That 3% by itself is reportedly valued at a total of $120 million, with the entire BRI estimated at a staggering $4 billion per season. Though it's not quite the NFL's $9 billion annual haul, it's not too bad either.

On top of the struggle over BRI, the players are potentially staring at a complete overhaul of their salary structure, specifically the implementation of a "hard cap" and a mandatory shortening of guaranteed contracts. It remains unclear as to exactly how and when the new system would actually be implemented, and what effect, in any, it would have on the players' current deals.

While the BRI has been the point of focus over the past few months, it has taken a back seat over the last two days to the subject of the new salary cap and its related complications—specific exceptions, the luxury tax, etc. As for the first of those examples, David Aldridge reported Monday that the league is nearing an agreement on a new, but reduced version of the mid-level exception—a salary cap evading instrument that allows teams already, or nearly, over the cap to sign free agents at a number tied to the league's average salary, a figure of $5.8 million per season in 2010.

If there is good news for the union, it's that commissioner David Stern and the owners have appeared possibly willing to soften their stance on just how "hard" the cap would be in relation to the current system, a fact already evidenced by the probable inclusion of the mid-level exception in the new CBA. The 50-50 split, on the other hand, is being advertised as considerably less negotiable.

The bad news for both parties is that every month the league goes without a new agreement, both sides—the players and the owners—stand to lose a whole lot of cash. From NBA.com:

The cost of cancellations would be staggering. Silver said the league would lose hundreds of millions of dollars, while Hunter estimated players' losses at $350 million for each month they were locked out.

As for the lockout's immediate impact on your Philadelphia 76ers, the team was scheduled for eight games over the now-cancelled span of time. Five of those eight contests would have seen the team on the road, including a three-game trip to the west coast. The team will now miss its 11/2-16 dates at Toronto, versus Minnesota, at Orlando, versus Houston, versus Milwaukee, at Los Angeles (Clippers), at Portland and at Golden State.

A timetable for further talks has yet to be announced, though as Stern was quoted following the completion of Monday night's meetings, "With every day that goes by, there will be further reductions on what's left of the season."

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).