Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/9/11
MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony isn't expecting a miracle. With NBA commissioner David Stern saying the first two weeks of the regular season will be cancelled if no deal is reached by Monday to end the lockout, the New York forward fully expects that will happen. "Right now, it looks like they're going to cancel the first two weeks of the season." Anthony said after scoring 30 points as his Team Wade beat Team LeBron 141-140 Saturday night in a charity game put together by Miami stars Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. "Let's be realistic. I don't think nothing is going to happen between now and Monday. We just got to prepare for that and prepare for the lockout for the first two weeks of the regular season." Owners and players have been at a stalemate since the lockout began July 1. Owners, who claim to be losing 300 million a season, want to reduce the share of basketball-related income players get from 57 percent to 50. The players have been willing to cut it down to as low as 51 initially, with it rising slightly after that. But they won't go down to 50. "We'll let (the owners) keep doing what they've been doing," said Anthony, who said he's trying to organize a charity game for November in New York. "If they want to lock us out, lock us out. We're sticking together as a union and we'll continue putting games on It's sad all the way across. Sad for us as players. It's sad for the whole NBA. Sad for the fans of the NBA." Even though the players seemed to have plenty of fun Saturday at U.S. Century Bank Arena at Florida International University, there was a feeling of dread that regular-season NBA games are about to be lost for the second time in 14 seasons. The 1998-99 season was shortened by a lockout to 50 games. "It's been tough," New York forward Amare Stoudemire said after scoring 21 points. "I know the fans want to see us play. We want to play. We want to play as much as they want to see us play. But it's a matter of taking our time to negotiate the right way." For now, players say they're unwilling to give in to the NBA and agree to a 50-50 split. "We're used to hearing 57 (percent) and we dropped it down to a reasonable number," said forward Caron Butler, a Dallas free-agent forward who went scoreless. "We dropped it down to a reasonable number, and it's still not close. So it will be interesting to see what happens. We want to play basketball and we want the public to understand we're not on strike. We're locked out. We want to play. "First of all, you can't go from 57 to 50 (percent). It's a process. It's a give-and-take thing. We can't be the side that keeps coming to the table that is going to negotiate and (the owners are) sitting on their hands and we're negotiating They give us a great platform to play the game but at the end of the day we're still the product and we want to play basketball and do it at a high level and protect the game for the future generation." Heat forward James Jones didn't play in Saturday's game, preferring to sit in the stands and let his teammates have the spotlight. But when it comes to union negotiations Jones has been quite active. Jones is Miami's player representative and regularly has been attending union meetings. He likely will go to Los Angeles for a meeting Monday, the day he expects the first two weeks of the season to be cancelled. "You always hold out hope that things will move fast but realistically speaking we expect for Monday to come and for this thing to continue to progress slower than expected," Jones said. "It's always tough. But we understand that we're fighting for something that is bigger than just two weeks of the season. "We're fighting to make sure that we get the system we want, that the players feel is fair and the BRI split that we consider fair. And as it stands right now, the league hasn't been willing to engage and make that a viable option." Jones said the players don't plan to cave into the owners' current demand. "There is a lot of solidarity in our stance, and that will just continue," Jones said. "(Players) have been great. They understand this is a very vital time to preserve and help grow our game in a fair way We understand that's a reality (the first two weeks of the season being cancelled). But we're willing to face that." Jones has reported back to teammates throughout the offseason. But James and Wade are among NBA stars who have attended recent meetings in New York. "The only thing we can do as players is continue to make sure we find a way to bring the game of basketball to our fans in some capacity," Wade said of a key reason Saturday's game was played. "I hope our fans understand this business side of the game is very unfortunate." It sure figures to be regarded as unfortunate when Monday comes around and regular-season games are lost.
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