NBA lays off 114 employees

NEW YORK -- The NBA laid off 114 people the past two days, planned cost-cutting moves that a league spokesman said Thursday are "not a direct result of the lockout."

The laid-off employees represent about 11 percent of the league office workforce in New York, New Jersey and internationally.

Spokesman Mike Bass told The Associated Press the layoffs are "not a direct result of the lockout but rather a response to the same underlying issue; that is, the league's expenses far outpace our revenues."

"The roughly 11 percent reduction in headcount from the league office is part of larger cost-cutting measures to reduce our costs by $50 million across all areas of our business," Bass said.

The league said it lost $300 million this season after losing hundreds of millions in each previous year of the collective bargaining agreement that expired at the end of the day June 30.

Owners locked out the players after the sides remained far apart in their final proposals. Commissioner David Stern said at the time it was too early to think about how it could affect staff, but acknowledged that the league would "have to go back and look at everything now with our operations."

But the reductions already had begun. The NBA and teams had trimmed staff by about 275 since October 2008, either through layoffs or by leaving positions vacant when employees departed.

The league also has cut administrative costs, travel and new technology. It consolidated offices in Europe and Asia, closing offices in Paris and Tokyo, and is shutting down the studio in Secaucus, N.J., where it annually holds the draft lottery. The NBA store on Fifth Avenue in New York has been closed, though the league has said it will reopen in another location.

Already at least two teams, Detroit and Charlotte, have cut staff since the work stoppage was announced two weeks ago. Stern said that day that a lockout "has a very large impact on a lot of people, many of whom or most of whom are not associated with either side."