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Owners wanted to keep more of the league’s nearly $4 billion in basketball revenues. And they sought a system where even the smallest-market clubs could compete, believing the current system would always favor the teams who could spend the most.

The NBA’s last work stoppage reduced the 1998-99 season to 50 games. Monday marked the 137th day of the lockout; the NFL lockout lasted 136 days.

In its labor battle, NFL players tried to get the courts to overturn the lockout and let players return to work. Although a Minnesota judge initially ruled in favor of the players, that ruling was put on hold by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Given the rulings that came down in the NFL case, which are not binding in the 2nd circuit but would be influential, right now the owners are not in a bad spot,” said antitrust attorney David Scupp of Constantine Cannon in New York City. “It could very well be that the players have an uphill battle toward getting that lockout enjoined. If they can do that, then it might swing things in their favor.”

But time is not on anyone’s side.

“If you look at what happened with the NFL case, that whole legal battle surrounding the temporary injunction was resolved relatively quickly, and it still took a few months,” Scupp said. “There’s not a few months to spare this time around.”


AP Sports Writers Rachel Cohen in New York and Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.


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