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NBA players frustrated by game cancellations

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports
NBA players frustrated by game cancellations
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Stephen Curry doesn't plan to play overseas while waiting for the lockout to end

Stephen Curry(notes) kept looking at his Twitter account on his cell phone Monday night, hoping someone would tweet him the good news. Instead, he received the opposite.

David Stern has canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season.

The discouraging reports buzzed into Curry's phone, leaving the Golden State Warriors guard with the same frustrating reality every other NBA player now faces: They're not going back to work anytime soon.

And with NBA owners and the players union unable to make much progress toward a new labor agreement, Stern warned more cancellations could soon follow.

“I‘m kind of shocked,” Curry said. “We’ve been on the right track, and I’ve been hopeful. But to see this is even more frustrating.

“I know what’s at stake when they cancel games. I’m prepared for what’s to come. When you get to this point, the best thing to do is reconvene, not waste time, and figure out a way to get back on the floor.”

Even before Monday's news, a handful of NBA players, including New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams(notes) (Turkey), Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson(notes) (Lithuania) and San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker(notes) (France), had signed contracts to play overseas with "out" clauses which allow them to return once the lockout ends. Some free agents, like J.R. Smith(notes) and Wilson Chandler(notes), have signed to play in China for the entire season, regardless of the lockout’s final outcome.

[Related: Have NBA owners already given players their best offer?]

Curry doesn't plan to play overseas; instead, he'll return to Davidson College to continue his education. His next basketball game could be a charity contest between current Warriors and those who played on the franchise's 2007 Warriors playoff team.

"It looks like I'll have time to play in it," Curry said.

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) will take a closer look at his options abroad. Aldridge said he is attracted to possibly playing in Spain, Turkey or Australia. He isn't optimistic the lockout will end soon.

“It could get bad,” Aldridge said. “We thought it was going to be a good negotiation this time. We didn’t actually think this was going to happen. But we prepared for the worst. It’s a little more dramatic for me now that two weeks of the season are canceled.

“If this is what it takes, then I guess we have to do it. I definitely want to play. I don’t think fans really understand it. We didn’t want this lockout; the owners wanted it. I’m reading that the fans are attacking the players because they think we are not working with the owners, but we are. The owners are not working with us.”

[Related: Workers, local businesses hit hardest by NBA game cancellations]

Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand(notes), who entered the league a year after the 1998-99 season was shortened to 50 games by the previous work stoppage, has attended three labor meetings in recent weeks in New York. He didn’t feel optimistic after leaving them.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Brand said. “I was at the meetings and we talked about solidarity and sticking together. It’s what it’s come to. There wasn’t a mass vote, but this is what we agreed on and we’re sticking together.

"We are sticking with the union and what we are doing. I wish we were playing, and I hope we don’t alienate our fans but, at the end of the day, we were locked out. It’s a lockout."

Sacramento Kings rookie guard Isaiah Thomas(notes) has yet to draw his first NBA paycheck, so he doesn't have nearly as deep a savings account as some of his peers. He's made money this summer by working in basketball camps and playing in exhibitions during the lockout.

The last pick of this year’s draft, Thomas is in his native Seattle, taking online classes at the University of Washington and working out with his old teammates. He's also vowed not to cut his hair until the lockout ends. He could go overseas to play if the lockout lasts another month but says he doesn’t regret skipping his senior year at Washington to turn pro.

“The worst thing about it is you really don’t know your next move right now,” Thomas said. “You’re just going off of what you hear. To get the news that the first two weeks are canceled makes it that much worse.”

For now, the players can only hope they won't lose the entire season.

“We have to gut it out," Aldridge said. "We have to get even closer now, even more united, during these tough times.”

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