We have now entered day 106 of the NBA lockout, and things still have not been finalized. According to several sources this past week, many have said that there will be a zero percent chance of an NBA lockout going throughout the whole season, meaning there will in fact be a season. Maybe not a full, but maybe at least half a season of pro basketball.
Today, in Los Angeles, the NBA and NBPA met as the NBPA's leaders try to send a message of unity.
"There's definitely some guys in there saying that they're ready to fold," Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee said. "But the majority are ready to stand strong."
However, Milwaukee Bucks' forward, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, said there was no speaking of players "folding" and never heard such a thing like this.
"We all know where we're at. Players understand where we're at. There's no players folding," Mbah a Moute said when he exited the meeting. "We've all been together since this whole process and we're going to stay together. We've made a lot of concessions so far, so it's up to the owners now to start having a fair deal."
20 players, including McGee and Mbah a Moute, met with the NBPA's Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher at a hotel in Beverley Hills.
"I've got a group of ballplayers who are sophisticated enough and they've said to me, 'Billy hold the line. This is what we want you to do.' So I'm doing the players' bidding. I may be negotiating with a short deck, or a small deck, but we're negotiating," said Billy Hunter. "So while we're willing to make some concessions, which we've already demonstrated, we're not willing to do or make as many concessions as the NBA wants us to make. It's too disproportionate. It doesn't make sense. Particularly when our players are the product."
McGee said that the small number of players that showed up was very disappointing. Both sides are still standing strong for their own case on several issues like revenue, luxury tax system, and contracts.
Stern made a point himself on ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles.
"[The players] need to tell us we can have shorter contracts so that under-performing contracts can be replaced by high-performing contracts," Stern said. "And they need to tell us that the luxury tax can be considerably harsher than it already is."
Stern said he wants the league to be more competitive, considering the fact that there are all these big-market teams that are continuing to dominate.
"I would like the league to be more competitive, and to in some ways diminish the [Los Angeles] Lakers' advantage in having that much income in order to pay their players more when you include the luxury tax than other teams," Stern said.
With already 100 games cancelled and still nothing progressing, more cancellations into the NBA season will be coming soon.
"Right now, Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, just before my owners come into town, having brought in the labor relations committee and Billy (Hunter) having brought in his executive committee, it's time to make the deal," Stern said Thursday. "If we don't make it on Tuesday, my gut -- this is not in my official capacity of cancelling games -- but my gut is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day."
The NBA season really starts getting hot around Christmas time with the NFL regular season starting to get dimmed down with the playoffs approaching. Last season showed some good ratings when the Miami Heat beat the Lakers. But then again, like I said, nothing has been progressing with this lockout.
"If everybody begins to dig into their respective positions, then I think the league will be decimated. It took us five years to recover from the 1998 lockout and there's probability that we may never recover [from this lockout]," Hunter said. "I think there will be some teams that won't survive. Particularly if the season gets shut down, there will be teams that will not be around next year."
The NBA could go to contraction, and Hunter noted that the Sacramento Kings will most probably be the first team to go.
David Stern spoke with Darren Rovell about the lockout on CNBC Sports Biz: Game On, which was aired on VERSUS. Here are some of the quotes from the programming:
"It's of grave concern to us. Disappointing our sponsors and disappointing our television partners."
"We would like an opportunity for our teams to make a profit, but...our owners are ready to guarantee the players a percentage that at one course in these negotiations would have taken their $5.5 million average compensation up to $7.2 million by our projections by the seventh year."
"Every game we miss does some damage. We just hope that we can get this settled as fast as possible and bring our fans back."
"We've got 30 teams who want to compete. If you had no luxury tax, no flex cap, no hard cap...what would happen is that players would go to the teams with the most money."
Damn, I just hope all this just ends!