Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 11/19/11
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I remember the days of hope.

When Roger Mason texted, “Looking like a season. How u” and I wept tears of joy. When Billy Hunter said NBA negotiations were on the two-yard line, and I did jumping jacks because I thought he meant they were two yards away from scoring a touchdown, not two yards away from a vicious safety. When David Stern said both sides would be failures if a deal wasn’t struck the next day, and I failed to realize that both sides are, by nature, total failures. When Dave Checketts decided to lie during an interview on his son’s radio show, and — maybe because he’s one of David Stern’s good friends — the NBA world hesitantly pondered the possibility of real basketball.

But any hope I once had has been sucked into a vacuum, no matter how many optimistic reports I read. Try to bring my hope back, Ken Berger. Tell me the NBA season could still start by Christmas. I refuse to budge from my hopeless perch of pessimism. (CBS Sports)

Despite the grim outlook of potentially lengthy and costly lawsuits, there are strong indications that NBA officials and attorneys representing the players want to take one more shot at reaching a settlement before the possibility of having close to a full season is devoured by the legal process.

Two people who have been briefed on the league’s strategy told CBSSports.com the NBA is holding out hope a settlement can be reached in time for the season to begin no later than Christmas. One of those people said the process already is under way through what he described as “back-channeling,” although sources from both sides professed no knowledge of such conversations.

A third person said that based on how vendor contracts and other financial arrangements were put in place, starting the season by Christmas would be optimal as far as preserving those relationships, and of course, revenues. Multiple people who have spoken with top NBA officials about the matter said it is understood that starting the season after Christmas is not viewed as a viable option.

Not to be Debbie Downer or anything, but:

If the NBA wants to start by Christmas, the two sides will need to come to an agreement this week. It takes about a month from the time a preliminary agreement is reached until the season can start. So unless David Boies and David Stern are meeting in a dark room somewhere, drinking Pinot Grigio and negotiating the terms of a deal that can be agreed upon this week — which happens to be Thanksgiving week, in case the NBA needed any extra obstacles — the chances of a season starting by Christmas seem slim.

You will not rebuild my hope, Ken Berger. Not this time.

 

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