PHOENIX — As has been feared for months, NBA commissioner David Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the NBA season on Monday, citing a significant gulf “on virtually all issues,” according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
Thus it would now take a miracle for the NBA not to lose games for just the second time in its history.
That also means it will be at least another few weeks before we find out how involved Robert Sarver actually has been in the lockout proceedings.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that Sarver has “been the most difficult” owner on a local radio show last week, and according to Yahoo! Sarver “befuddled players by insisting that his wife had asked him to bring back the middle level exception in a designer bag.”
Sarver was asked to clarify his position at Monday’s press conference to announce the hiring of Brad Casper to lead the organization’s business operations, and he regretted not being able to comment on anything to do with the lockout at this moment.
“I can say that eventually when it’s over the facts of my role and my involvement will come out, and I look forward to that happening,” Sarver said. “I’m prohibited from commenting about it, but as you know don’t believe everything you read.”
In the meantime what matters is the lockout actually ending, and based on the parties quoted in Stein’s story that does not appear to be on the horizon.
“We think that we made very fair proposals,” Stern told reporters. “I’m sure the players think the same thing. But the gap is so significant that we just can’t bridge it at this time.”
Added players association executive director Billy Hunter, “I think everybody’s waiting for the players to cave. They figure that once a player misses a check or two, it’s all over. I’m saying … that would be a horrible mistake if they think that’s going to happen, because it’s not going to happen. The players are all going to hang in.”
Meanwhile, players took the battle to social media today with a bevy of “LET US PLAY” tweets and #StayUnited hashtags.
Steve Nash went on a tweeting binge and tweeted the following:
“The NBA has experienced over 60 yrs of growth with new growth projected using the current model. After a banner year the players are still willing to GIVE the owners a higher percentage in good faith. Why are the owners unwilling to negotiate in good faith? As a player I apologize to the fans that we’re in this position but we will not be taken advantage of. In our hearts we’re desperate to play, in our minds we know better and are prepared to
#standunited. Let us play. The players are negotiating to take less money & let’s be clear that’s not going to lower ticket prices, it just lines the owners pockets.”
Jared Dudley took some time to answer fan questions about the lockout on his Twitter account, which I highly recommend checking out. Perhaps his most interesting tweet said that he believes a month or two of the season will be missed.
At this point fans can only hope that it is just a month or two.