ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst has some news that really shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody:
If it were up to Heat owner Micky Arison, his team would be preparing for its final three preseason games right now and he’d be spending the majority of his time running his cruise lines and not at labor meetings in New York.
Even as the talks suffered their latest breakdown Thursday, two league sources said that Arison has been the most active owner in trying to push through a deal even as his peers balk at the players’ demands.
In his frustration Thursday night NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter said he felt there was a divide between big market and small market owners. He said that some big-market owners were ready end the lockout.
According to Windhorst, there have been some reports that Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Knicks owner Jim Dolan have been “aggressively pushing” for reform, but almost everyone seems to agree that Arison is not pleased about having a super-team sitting around and not playing basketball with three stars missing a year of their prime and a year of their contracts with the Heat.
Arison’s frustration with the lack of a deal is understandable, but it’s unlikely that the rest of the league’s owners are going to back off of their demands out of sympathy for the Heat.
Just when things were starting to look up — federal mediators! Marathon bargaining sessions! Small concessions from both sides! — it’s starting to look very, very grim for NBA fans once again. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, talks between the owners and the players have stopped, and the lockout has suffered what Wojnarowski calls a “huge setback”:
Talks on a 50-50 BRI split broke down, and labor talks have ended, source tells Y! No new meetings scheduled. Huge setback in this lockout.
We’ll keep you posted on any new updates as they come in, but things are not looking good at all right now.
Things are looking grim. The first two weeks of the season have been cancelled, and cancellation of games through Christmas Day may be coming soon. However, one league source gave the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson a sliver of hope for NBA fans:
Another league source said that, despite Stern’s cancellation, there still is a possibility an 82-game schedule can be salvaged in a lengthened season that would stretch into July. That is, if progress continues to the point a deal is made this week.
It’s actually a bit remarkable that so few people have been talking about this — if the season starts later, have it end a bit later and keep all the games. The chances of an 82-game season are slim, and hopes for more than 60 games this year may be slim, but it appears there is a small glimmer of hope for fans hoping to see a full 2011-12 season. That is, if a deal gets done this week.