David Stern, union head Billy Hunter at least talking

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Well, at least they are talking.

NBA Commissioner David Stern and his lead negotiator Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have been meeting with NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter and staff face-to-face, according to Henry Abbott at ESPN.

That’s the good news, and the fact that the two sides are sitting at a table and talking is good news.

But there will be a lockout. The two sides remain nowhere near each other. The owners recently submitted another proposal, one union president Derek Fisher has said is pretty much just the old proposal in a new wrapping.

The last week of April, the league office sent out a lengthy, detailed memo to all 30 teams explaining how operations were to go when the lockout comes, according to The Sporting News. As in no players or coaches can use the facilities. It was a memo sent during the last lockout but added to immensely after lessons the league learned from that experience.

The memo also provides hypothetical situations facing teams having contact with players, their agents, or any other of their representatives during a lockout. For example, the memo outlines the policy for when a player has a sponsorship deal with a company that also has a deal with the team. The player would be able to continue that company sponsorship as long as no team marks are used in any activation. The memo also addresses policies related to using player images on team websites.

The lockout is coming. The only hope is that it doesn’t cost games. Frankly nothing much is going to happen right now because negotiations only really get done when there is pressure on one or both sides to get a deal done. A lockout in the summer is an annoyance to the league and players, but it’s not until the threat of cancelled games and missed paychecks becomes real that there is pressure.

The only good sign is that they are at least talking.