Heading into Tuesday's labor negotiation meetings between the NBA owners and players union, there were actually some glimmers of hope that even if a deal didn't get done there would be some progress made. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, and instead the NBA announced that they have cancelled the remaining preseason games and now the beginning of the regular season could be in jeopardy.
Commissioner David Stern said that the two sides have until Monday to reach a deal otherwise he would be forced to call off the first two weeks of the regular season as well. Said Stern:
"We'd like to not miss the first two weeks of the season, but it doesn't look good. There's an extraordinary hit coming to the owners and the players. We're ready to meet and discuss anything anyone wants to talk about."
What I don't understand is why are there no further meetings scheduled with so much at stake in such a short period of time. However, even with nothing concrete on the books, news popped up late Tuesday night that a Thursday meeting was possible. That's probably a good idea since many of the main people involved in the negotiations wont be available from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday due Yom Kippur, an extremely important day on the Jewish calendar.
When asked about the fact that there were no meetings scheduled after the events that transpired on Tuesday, the answer that came from players union chief Billy Hunter was more then a little troubling.
"There has been no discussion about next meetings. Maybe a month. Two months. Your guess is as good as mine. Our guys have indicated a willingness to lose games."
Some reports are saying that the two sides are around $80 million per year apart on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. One constant for several months has been the distance between the owners and players in several aspects of the CBA negotiations and despite the time that has passed it appears not much progress has been made.
Right now we'll just have to continue to wait for more information and hope that something positive is on the horizon. I feel like I'm being repetitive because when the league announced that the first bunch of preseason games were called off I had to have said something very similar.
The stakes are even higher now yet we're standing in front of the same problems, and the window of opportunity to fix things is shrinking by the minute. Over the next couple days we'll find out if anyone tries to climb through that window or if it slams shut in our basketball loving faces.