The good news is that the league isn’t pushing back the start of the season indefinitely, it looks like just two more weeks. Of course the point of missing two more weeks is to make sure the players miss a paycheck and feel some real pain.
Well, maybe that’s not good news.
Multiple reports (the New York Daily News was first) now have the NBA officially canceling two more weeks of the season on Tuesday. All games through Nov. 28, the games through the weekend after Thanksgiving, will be called off.
The first two weeks of NBA games — 100 games in total through Nov. 14 — had already been canceled by the league after talks had stalled out previously. The new cancellations would mean that 202 total games (about 16 percent of the season) would be called off.
This second cancellation will hit the players in the pocket books. Players get paid on the 15th and 30th of the month during the season, which means their first paycheck was to be Nov. 15. There has been a faction of owners that from the start have wanted to drag this out and make the players miss paychecks and feel pain. The players know this and some countered in recent years by requiring their payments be spread out over a year. Still, this will hurt a lot of players.
NBA Commissioner David Stern had said a couple weeks back his gut was that if a deal wasn’t worked out with a federal mediator he thought there would be no games on Christmas. Those talks blew up in an ugly fashion last Thursday, and the two sides have not met since, nor are any meetings scheduled.
It’s far too early for the league to cancel Christmas games, which are a huge showcase for the league and the first games on national broadcast television. It’s a showcase day that is scheduled to feature a finals rematch of the Heat and Mavericks, as well as the Lakers vs. Bulls.
Optimists around the league still think we will see those games, but there are fewer and fewer of those around. They are becoming an endangered species.