SPRINGFIELD — Commissioner David Stern, despite NBA owners and players being far apart in reaching a labor accord, told the Globe tonight that he “expects” an eventual agreement that would prevent cancellation of the season.
â€œI would say that we have very smart players who recognize that this system is very good to them,” he said. “You’ve got 13 players on a roster averaging $5 million apiece, thatâ€™s $65 million and what the owners have said is, â€™weâ€™re going to try very hard as we reset this thing to keep you as close to that number as we can.â€™
Though he may be going on vacation for the next two weeks, David Stern still holds the belief that an 2011-2012 NBA season will occur in some form. I suppose this is good news and indicates that Stern may want to earnestly work out a deal with the players, but it’s hard to draw much positivity from a statement like this, mostly because it’s just a statement. Until even the slightest action exists to back up Stern’s words, they hold little weight.
We’re more than a month into the lockout now, and virtually nothing has happened between the NBA and NBPA in terms of viable discussion. There’s been little to no negotiations between two sides that are significantly far apart (according to Billy Hunter,Â $800 million per yearÂ apart), and this is the first positive note I’ve seen come from the NBA/owners’ side of thing in seemingly forever (though every time a player is asked about the lockout during an interview, their first response always seems to be “Well, it doesn’t look good…”).
But whether or not I think he’s going about the right course to solving the differences currently dividing the league, Stern knows more about the inner workings of the situation than I do. Maybe he actually believes the owners are willing to make a genuine, concerted effort to give the players a fair deal, though what’s a “fair deal” in the owners’ minds is usually significantly different than what seems fair to the players’ union. The main positivity that I can glean from Stern’s statement is that it’s always a good thing for the main figure in a set of negotiations to believe that the negotiations at least have a chance of being resolved.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait for something to actually happen. Maybe one of these days Billy Hunter will call up Stern and the following (completely fictional) discussion will take place:
Hunter: IT’S TIME.
Stern: Time for what? Time to make more comments to the press about the sincerity our sides truly hold?
Hunter: No, I think we should just end this lockout. Kobe’s been calling and yelling at me about how he has no interest in sandwiches (something about Turkey?) and I’m scared that Scalabrine might be the next player to leave.
Stern: You should hear what Donald Sterling’s been saying lately.
Hunter: What’s he been saying?
Stern: Well, it has absolutely nothing to do with the lockout, but I still don’t get it.
Hunter: Let’s all meet tomorrow and try to figure something out.
Stern: Sounds good.
Hunter: This is going to be the best shortened season ever!*
*You better believe this would be playing in the background.
But it probably won’t happen anytime soon. For now, let’s just hope each day to read more and more vaguely positive comments in the news.