The NBA is on thin ice to exist in 2011. I think it's thinner than some believe, but I'm only relying on a hunch. I'd like to extend that hunch beyond plain guessing, but sadly, the NBA hasn't given us anything to work with.
Count me in the crowd that considers a half-season to be the best bet. As Kelly Dwyer noted this morning, neither side has made significant progress. Nothing has gotten done. Here we are, hoping for these reportedly "heated discussions" to take form on paper, and instead we get this saliva wad from Maurice Evans:
"The best word I can use is generic. We've just been going through the motions. We've been meeting really often with the exception of this month. For the past two years we've been meeting and the owners are kind of disingenuous right now with their offers. Hopefully, at some point, they firm up a little bit and give us something to work with."
The players don't appear phased or threatened, nor do the owners. That's bad news for the fans, the biggest losers in this situation. We're not losing money, but we're losing stability. We're losing our lifestyle and our routine. And how rotten is that?
Now, it appears we have a date, a deadline until we're pressed to consider turning to hockey for help before ultimately choosing against it because it has far too many unpronounceable Russian names.
HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler has the details:
League sources have pegged September 15th as the last possible date to reach a deal before Training Camps and Pre-season games are likely scrubbed. Sources have also said that if even one Pre-season game is lost, the economic impact would be the same as if all the preseason games are lost. It would be a trigger a point in which league advertisers and sponsors could and would start pulling back and season ticketholders would likely start asking for refunds.
September 15. That's two weeks. Good luck with that, NBA.
Is this pre-season doomsday, or regular season doomsday? Depends. The pre-season absolutely matters, however meaningless it is for the casual fan. Training camp matters, too. Each program is a necessary preparation tool, for players, coaches and just about everybody involved. You don't just skip everything.
I'm not insinuating that the entire year could be lost if September 15 comes and goes. But let's face it: if talks remain stale for the next few days, I'll put money on lost regular season games. Teams will need time to get their swag together. The regular season will require a delay, unless you're looking to watch some of the worst professional basketball in years.
Neither side appears to be worried about missing games. As Kurt Helin writes for PBT, they're more concerned with PR, which is incredibly stupid. Nobody cares who wins between the owners and players. People want basketball. And if there is no basketball for an extended period, there won't be a winner and a loser. The NBA -- made up of the owners and the players association -- will lose, period.
But if the NBA loses, we suffer. That's the crime of this lockout. It's a cruel world sometimes.