New Jersey Nets Said to Tell Staff Jobs Are Safe in Event of NBA Lockout

The New Jersey Nets won’t furlough employees if the National Basketball Association locks out its players during the offseason, according to a person familiar with the team’s plans.

Brett Yormark, the team’s chief executive officer, informed employees at a meeting yesterday that their jobs and salaries are safe, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the NBA prohibits teams from commenting on matters related to collective bargaining.

Forcing employees to take a temporary unpaid leave of absence wouldn’t be necessary because there’s enough work for the staff, the person said. The Nets are preparing to move from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, to a new arena, the Barclays Center, in the Brooklyn borough of New York for the 2012-13 NBA season.

Nets spokesman Barry Baum declined to comment.

The league’s labor contract with its players expires June 30, and Billy Hunter, executive director of the union, said he expects owners to impose a lockout. National Football League owners last month locked out their players.

The Nets, who went 24-58 this season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year, were purchased by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in May.

NBA Commissioner David Stern on April 15 said the league’s 30 teams are projecting a combined loss of about $300 million this season.

Summer Cuts

The New York Daily News reported last week that the NBA canceled its annual Las Vegas summer league and summer internship program because of the labor uncertainty.

While the league won’t have any summer internships, no decision has been made about summer leagues, Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, said in an interview.

Several NFL teams have made cutbacks, though none has enacted layoffs.

The New York Jets are furloughing employees, forcing their business operations staff to take an unpaid one-week leave every month until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. The Buffalo Bills are asking employees to take pay cuts, according to chief operating officer Russ Brandon.

USA Today reported on April 15 that at least 17 of the 32 NFL teams had avoided pay cuts, furloughs or hiring freezes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net. Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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