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NBA lockout continues, jeopardizes NBA season: A fan’s take
With time running out, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) met on Thursday, Sept. 22,in an effort to strike a deal in time for the NBA season to begin as scheduled. After negotiating for approximately five hours, the two sides failed to strike a deal or even make any appreciable progress.
After the meeting, there were no indications from either party that a deal would be forthcoming anytime soon. Both NBA Commissioner David Stern and union president Derek Fisher(notes) of the Los Angeles Lakers expressed the sentiment that "the calendar is not our friend."
Stern, who celebrated his 69th birthday on Thursday, represented the league along with NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, head of the labor relations committee; San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt; and NBA Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dan Rube. The union was represented by Fisher, NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter, union Deputy General Counsel Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy.
Neither side revealed details of the meeting, but both sides did say that they hope to meet again next week. But next week may prove to be too late.
With training camps scheduled to open Oct. 3, any chances of the 2011-2012 NBA season (preseason included) being played as scheduled were placed in serious jeopardy when the NBA and NBPA failed to strike a deal Thursday. By the time the parties meet next week, there will basically be no chance of the preseason beginning on Oct. 9 as scheduled.
The NBA lockout has gotten to the point where NBA fans are counting down the days before they are likely to hear the dreaded announcement that games will be canceled instead of counting down the days until opening night. Unfortunately, NBA fans may get that dreaded announcement as early as Friday, Sept. 23.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Ric Bucher of ESPN have both reported that David Stern, after a conference call with members of the NBA's labor relations committee on Friday, is expected to officially cancel training camps and the first slate of preseason games until further notice. Even after the postponement of training camps and cancellation of preseason games, there will still be a little time for the parties to try to work out a deal in time to save the regular-season opener.
The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls are scheduled to open the regular season on Nov. 1. From the time that a deal is made, the NBA would need at least four weeks to prepare for the regular season. Two weeks for the deal to be put in writing and ratified, one week for a free-agency period and another week for truncated training camps and a few preseason games. Based on that four-week window, the NBA and NBPA have until Oct. 4, at the absolute latest, to work out a deal that will salvage opening night.
Unfortunately, one of the principal negotiators does not seem to believe that is likely. In an interview with Chris Sheridan, Billy Hunter said, "I really don't think they are ready to do a deal. My position is that they said two years ago they were prepared to lockout for a year to get what they wanted, and I think they way they've negotiated gives every indication that that's bearing out."
The parties are scheduled to meet again sometime next week, and according to Hunter they both "agree that the only way to get a deal is to keep talking." But with just 11 days between now and Oct. 4, those talks are up against a calendar that is not a friend of the NBA, NBPA or NBA fans.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has more than 100 articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings on RandomNBAFan.com.
More on the NBA Lockout:
Information from Yahoo! Sports' NBA to delay start of preseason, ESPN's Sources: NBA to postpone training camp and Sheridan Hoops' Lockout update: Hunter: "I don't think they're ready to do a deal" was used for this article.
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