Found November 03, 2011 on
Jeff Van Gundy is urging NBA commissioner David Stern to learn from the lockout mistakes of 1999 and not shorten training camp or cram too many regular-season games into a shortened space.
Van Gundy warned that reducing team camps for an overstuffed schedule will hurt the product, and the fans.
Van Gundy, an ESPN/ABC broadcaster, is an authority on the '99 lockout, at which point he was coaching the Knicks. His team emerged from a spotty 50-game regular season to rampage to the finals. Van Gundy, however, said the basketball quality was substandard.
By having a normal camp and less-congested schedule, Stern will show he does care about the fans, Van Gundy said.
"The fans deserve what they're accustomed to seeing -- the best basketball in the world even if it costs the players and owners money," Van Gundy said from his Houston home Wednesday.
"I'm hopeful the league learned from 1999 and doesn't rush it and realize one more week of patience, one more week of camp would be beneficial to the fans," he added. "I'm hoping the league doesn't rush teams into action. We have history to show some people reported in horrible shape."
The '99 season, which began in early February, featured a two-week training camp and two preseason games. The Knicks, who staged camp at Hempstead's Island Garden, played only a home-and-home with the Nets.
"Reduced training camp, few practice days, basketball was very poor for much of the regular season," Van Gundy said. "Once the playoffs began, it was more a normal schedule and a good product. But the regular season, fans paid top dollar for a very poor product."
The 2011 dispute remains in gridlock though. The latest development will see the players' union hold an internal meeting Thursday in New York to assess their next move and likely address the FOXSports.com report that union prez Derek Fisher and union director Billy Hunter are at odds over the revenue split.
The report suggested Fisher is in favor of a 50-50 split proposed by the NBA. Fisher has vehemently denied it. No meetings are scheduled with the NBA.
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