The NBA announced on Thursday that it would be laying off a little over 150 employees, accounting for about 11 percent of its total workforce.

The basketball organization claims that the layoffs are due to a slumping economy and not the recent lockout, but it's hard to separate one from the other.

(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, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

The layoffs are primarily in the New York and New Jersey offices, as well as shuttering its Secaucus television studio and Paris office. Departments that stand to lose employees include: marketing, community relations, player programs, and information technology.

The move stands to save the NBA approximately $50 million dollars. Bass claimed that the moves would have been made regardless of a lockout or not, and that there are no plans to rehire the laid off employees, even if the lockout ends.

The league had laid off 850 employees since 2008 before this cutting spree.

The league went into a lockout on July 1st when it was unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Player's Association (NBAPA). One of the main points of contention was whether 22 out of 30 NBA teams are actually losing money, as the league office steadfastly claims.

Other teams around the league have also begun to layoff employees, in part to save money during the lockout. The Charlotte Bobcats have already laid off at least seven people, according to the Associated Press, and the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers have also apparently let go of some staff.

And those small cuts could be just the very beginning. By all accounts the NBA and NBAPA remain very far apart in negotiations, meaning a lengthy lockout could be on the horizon. As more and more time passes, don't be surprised to see teams have to lay off additional employees to save money.