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NBA lockout is official

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What could be a long, indefinite stoppage in NBA play has begun.

NBA Commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Assn. head Billy Hunter held a three-hour meeting Thursday in a last-ditch effort to avoid a lockout, but the session halted with the sides failing to reach a deal on a new collective-bargaining agreement for the 2011-12 season.

The lockout became official at 9:01 p.m. PT. All league business, including free agency, is on hold.

Union executive committee member and San Antonio Spur Matt Bonner told the Associated Press: “We tried to avoid the lockout; unfortunately we couldn’t reach a deal.”

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“I’ve been waiting for a lockout for two, three years,” Hunter told reporters. “Now it’s here.”

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-- Houston Mitchell


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