According to the invaluable Sports Business Journal, we may have.
This strategy has worked to varying degrees in disputes involving Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Some also think the NBA is about to claim poverty as well in this next negotiations as well.
With the economy in its current state, it’s at least credible for the owners to claim this. It may even be true. This isn’t a huge deal, or a prelude to a stoppage unless this tactic is part of a absolutist strategy by ownership to say to the players union, “Look at all this money we’re losing. This means we cannot afford to budge on any of your demands.” So far, we have no evidence that the owners are pursuing such a Bettman-style strategy. But now we can safely say that the negotiations are underway.