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NBA plans to cancel training camps, some exhibitions

NEW YORK – No labor deal, no training camps and no telling what else the NBA could lose.

The lockout is about to start inflicting damage on the preseason schedule – and neither players nor owners can say what will happen to the real games.

The league will cancel training camps and some exhibition games today after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with its players, a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the league had yet to announce its plans.

Training camps were expected to begin Oct. 3, and the exhibition openers were set for Oct. 9.

But the cancelations, first reported by Yahoo Sports, became unavoidable after another meeting between players and owners Thursday failed to end the lockout, which began July 1.

While providing no details of the meeting, Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that “the calendar is not our friend” when it comes to keeping the season intact. Stern said he had “no announcement to make today” regarding any postponements or cancelations, but they became a certainty with no breakthrough Thursday. Talks are not expected to resume until next week.

The league is at about the same point as when it postponed camps in 1998, the only time it lost games to a work stoppage. The decision then came on Sept. 24 for camps that were set to begin Oct. 5.

The regular season is scheduled to open Nov. 1, with the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks hosting the Chicago Bulls in the first game. Though both sides repeatedly have said there is still time for a deal that would leave the regular season unaffected, neither would say so – with union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers using nearly the same words as Stern about the coming weeks.