Time the Biggest Factor in Ending Lockout?
Still, they can meet as many times as they like, but unless each side makes a concession when it comes to how revenues are split, there won’t be real progress. That was pretty much the sentiment that could be gathered from commissioner David Stern after the meeting. He would not get into his level of optimism, even as the prospect of more meetings seemed to raise some form of hope. “We’re going to sit here for as many days as we can to see if we’re going to make progress,” Stern told reporters.
Now, the possibility of a smooth ending to this lockout becomes all about time. Can this get done fast enough to keep the season on track for the scheduled November 1 tip-off? When asked whether there is time to complete a deal in time for the season to start as planned, union director Billy Hunter told reporters, “I think there clearly is, there is more than enough time.”
Well, maybe not more than enough. Stern pointed out on Wednesday that, to save the season, “We have three weeks.” Training camp is supposed to start in less than a month. When the NFL was in a lockout, there was an emphasis on saving training camp, but according to a league source, that’s not necessarily as important for the NBA. First of all, pro football is a lot more complicated to coach and requires more thorough conditioning. Second, the source said, “Financially, the NFL makes a killing off the preseason. The NBA doesn’t. We play in some pretty far-off spots. And our preseason games aren’t televised much.”