The NBA asked a federal court judge to declare that it does not have to pay players during the league's lockout and does not have to submit the question to arbitration.

The NBA and the owners of all 29 teams filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan late Friday, seeking rulings that would strengthen their position in stalled collective bargaining talks.Last month the league delivered on a season-long threat by declaring a lockout effective July 1, when the old contract expired. The lockout meant there could be no trades, free-agent signings, practices or summer camps.

On June 30, the player's union sent a letter to John D. Feerick, the grievance arbitrator under the old contract, contesting the legality of the lockout and saying players were entitled to be paid, the lawsuit said.

The NBA said it does not consent to Feerick resolving the dispute and has not participated in the grievance process on the issue.

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The league has sought a change in salary structure for players because the profit margin of teams has been shrinking over the past five years, with nearly half of them losing money last season.

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