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.
The invaluable Ken Berger of CBS.com has the story:
While the basketball world was obsessed Tuesday with the release of an NBA schedule that may never happen, CBSSports.com has learned that the owners and players may not convene for another full-blown collective bargaining session until August.
It is up for interpretation, however, whether that would put the two sides behind the negotiating pace set during the 1998-99 lockout. Back then, it was 37 days between the imposition of the lockout on July 1 and the next bargaining session on Aug. 6…
…It is possible that the two staffs could negotiate again next week, but sources said it does not appear likely that a full session — including Stern, Hunter, Kessler, owners and players — could occur until sometime in August. Though this technically would put the two sides behind the pace from 1998-99, when the lockout resulted in a shortened 50-game schedule, it is possible that the smaller meetings could create some much-needed momentum before the heavy hitters become involved in the process again.
Sigh. There are still a lot of big issues that have to be resolved before basketball actually starts up again. All we can do as fans is hope that all of this gets worked out by the time the newly released schedule says that the season will begin.
Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz had an interesting article on a potential ancillary effect of the upcoming lockout — you won’t be able to see current NBA players on team websites:
Does it really matter if there’s an extension of the CBA in July or a lockout? After all, there aren’t any games nor do players get paid during this summer.
But for the guys who are in charge of those team websites and NBA.com, the pending deadline is a huge deal.
That’s because the moment the clock strikes midnight on the current CBA, all those images and videos of NBA players have to disappear off NBA-owned digital properties. Depending on how you interpret “fair use,” the prohibition could include the mere mention of a player’s name on an NBA-owned site, though different teams have different interpretations of this particular stipulation.
Over the past few weeks, NBA website administrators and support staff have endured two-hour conference calls and countless planning sessions to figure out how to eliminate all these photos, highlights, articles and promotional features from the sites.
There are additional gray areas that are still up for discussion: What about a photo of a Lakers fan wearing a No. 24 Kobe Bryant jersey? What about a retrospective feature on the John Stockton-Karl Malone Jazz teams? Do tweets from the team’s official Twitter feed that mention a player and/or link to an image need to be deleted? How about Facebook posts?
Nobody seems to know for certain the definitive answers to these questions and the criteria seem to be arbitrary.
If there is a lockout, team website editors will have to remove all mentions of current players from their websites, which puts all the men and women who work on those websites in a major bind. As the article mentions, about the only thing team websites will be able to feature during a lockout are mascots, cheerleaders, and charity events — but not charity events that mention current players. Just one more reason for fans to hope for a quick resolution to the NBA’s current labor situation.
Paul Pierce was the 10th overall pick in 1998, which was the last year that the NBA went through a lockout. Recently, he told CNNSE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely about what that experience was like, and some of the disadvantages that the rookies of the class of 1998 had to face:
“Me, I had no knowledge of it (potential lockout),” Pierce said. “So I got drafted, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s a lockout.'”
Not only did it put young players like Pierce at a disadvantage in terms of adjusting to the speed of the NBA, but it also impacted their conditioning.
The conditioning program that most NBA teams put incoming rookies through began later than usual because of the lockout, which only added to the struggles that a number of first-year players endured as rookies.
The lockout wiped out summer league that year as well.
Today’s players often spend time after the draft, but before training camp, working out with a private trainer along with other players represented by the same agent.
It wasn’t like that when Pierce was coming into the league.
“I was pretty much on my own,” Pierce said. “I didn’t have a trainer or nothing. It was just, stay ready.”
Blakely makes a good point about how much more common private workouts are now, but it could still potentially hinder the development of the 2011 rookie class if they don’t get to go through a proper Summer League or join their teams as early as rookies would in other years. Just one more thing to keep in mind as the CBA discussions continue.
With the regular season winding down, the threat of an impending lockout becomes more and more real. The current CBA is set to expire on June 30th, and Maurice Evans, a vice president of the NBA Players association, told HoopsHype’s Chris Thomasson that he doesn’t think a new agreement will be reached by then:
Could you provide an update on collective bargaining following the meeting between the sides in February during All-Star Weekend?
Maurice Evans: We’re just waiting until the season is pretty much over because we won’t have a chance to all meet again until the NBA Finals are over with (in mid-June). I’m sure we won’t get a deal done by July 1. Therefore, it technically will be a lockout. Hopefully, we’re going to solve those issues before the season starts again.
So it’s pretty much understood that no way will a deal get done by July 1?
ME: Because we’ve had a number of meetings starting over a year ago, almost two years out, and we still haven’t been able to really come to any significant negotiations. Therefore, I know it’s going to go into the summer.
Evans went on to say that he an agreement will be reached before any games are missed and checks aren’t cashed, which would create what he calls a “true” lockout. Evans also said that the league has a lot of momentum going right now. He also hopes David Stern and the owners back off of their “hard-line” negotiating stance, and says that they should start by taking their proposed $700 million salary rollback off the table. Click the link for the full interview — hopefully the owners and players can find some way to work out their disagreements before any games are missed.