NBA owners and union representatives broke off talks after a three hour negotiating session this afternoon, making the NBA's first work stoppage since 1999 appear inevitable once the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at Midnight EDT tonight. Our own Alex Laugan did an excellent job explaining some of the issues at hand here, and the New York Times explains more details around precisely what a lockout will entail. An excerpt:

Players and teams will be barred from contact with each other. Paychecks and health care will be suspended indefinitely. And all league business will cease until the owners and players find the means to overcome their philosophical and economic differences.

The last NBA work stoppage ran from July 1, 1998 - January 6, 1999. The '98-'99 regular season ran only 50 games and didn't start until February 5, 1999. No all-star game was held that season. In short, it sucked. We can only hope for a quicker settlement this time, but the sides remain far apart as the owners, led by commissioner David Stern, push for significant rollbacks in player salaries and implementation of a "hard" salary cap. Little progress has been made in negotiations so far.

Everybody loses in this, but most of all the fans who make the league viable with our support. Be frustrated, be angry, be sad, be cynical. What do you think, Bright Siders?

[Note by Seth Pollack, 06/30/11 2:45 PM MST ]

Here's a fun little read about team's "losing money".


Exclusive: How (And Why) An NBA Team Makes A $7 Million Profit Look Like A $28 Million Loss
Remember this the next time David Stern says the NBA's economic system is broken. "The bottom line about the bottom line," Fort says, "is that even if it looks like they're losing money, it doesn't mean they're losing money."

Which side do you favor in the current NBA labor dispute?

  335 votes | Results

'Notorious Windbag' Robert Sarver vs. His Highness, David Stern

I can't tell you how much pleasure the phrase "notorious windbag" gives me. But despite the many Suns' sins Sarver owns, speaking up to Stern shouldn't be one of them.

This lockout is a fight between huge-market owners and the rest of them. But instead of resolving their own issues, they decided to gang up and try and force the players to pay for their mistakes.

PHOENIX — With the lockout expected to wipe out all communication between players and coaches for quite some time starting Friday, the Suns took advantage of the hours remaining before July 1...

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The Phoenix Suns won't have the benefit of the Vegas Summer League to take a look at undrafted free agents and other guys trying to make it (or make it back to) the NBA. Like many teams this week, the Suns held private free agent mini-camp instead. 13th pick Markieff Morris participated along with a long list of other guys. Alvin Gentry explained the purpose of the camp.

"They're guys that we like, that we like a lot that didn't get drafted and we thought this was a great time to bring them in and play against each other...We'll watch them (over the next few years) and see what progress they make. It's good to have a handle on them right now and see where they are and see the progress they make. Some guys will make a big jump in the next couple of months and some guys will take a little bit longer."

The one guys that Gentry said stood out, besides Morris, was Butler forward Matt Howard. "I think he's one of those smart, smart guys who will eventually find his way into the league."

Gentry was thrilled with Markieff although he mentioned a few times how it wasn't fair to him given all the travel he's done in the last few weeks. Basically, Morris was not in basketball shape but Gentry gave him a pass on that. He's overall impressed with his competitiveness, skill, desire to be good and how smart he is as a player.

"I see nothing but good things ahead for him because he's a hard working kid and he wants to be good and to me that's three-fourths of the battle."

Markieff Morris Gets First Chance To Play For Suns; Gortat Report From Dream Camp - SB Nation Arizona
"He's a very intelligent player and I think he's a competitive guy. He understands the game and angles and rotations and things like that. It's going to take time, but he's going to be a very good player.

"It's going to be a process. I don't want anyone to think that he's going to come in and ride in on a white horse and be the savior but he's a very, very good piece to be adding to our team."

Here's a list of guys that worked out:

There's likely two other guys not listed here. This list came from John Treloar but I counted 15 players on the court. Go figure.

Gentry on Sean Williams - "I think athletically, he's really good. He played for Nancy Lieberman (in the D-league). Nancy's been a friend of mine for, shoot, 35 years.  She speaks highly of him. I think you can see he's real athletic and does some good things as far as shot blocking and things like that...She said he was easy for her to coach. That's all I can judge (his maturity) by. He seems to be working hard here and seems to be focused on what he's trying to do as far as getting back in the league."

When combing through some of the advanced metrics in advance of the draft, I was surprised to see Markieff Morris grade out as a steal when using Wins Produced-related metrics but a bust on John...

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