26 January 2011
The lockout game being played between the NBA Players' Association and the league's owners is back on again, but we still don't know the final score.
This much is true: it might be awhile.
Last Thursday, NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed that the two sides will hold negotiating meetings at All-Star weekend in Los Angeles between Feb. 18-20, in hopes of making progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement.
"The union requested the meeting and was always interested in having a meeting at All-Star when the players will be available," union spokesman Dan Wasserman told the Associated Press.
In the meantime, Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBAPA, remains firm in staying on message to the players about the likelihood of the lockout and the financial steps they should be practicing to save their money for the future. Apparently for Hunter, honesty is the best policy right now.According to one source within the Sacramento Kings organization, Hunter met with the team two weeks ago and warned the players,"that the lockout would last all of next season", if an agreement isn't reached by June 30.
A number of Kings' players confirmed Hunter did speak directly to the team, but would not expand on his year-long lockout stance.
"It could take a year. It could take a day. We really don't know, but I know it's a serious issue and I can see them (players' association) pushing a lockout," Carl Landry told Beyond the Beat.
"He (Hunter) forewarned us that there might be a lockout in effect, and he shared different ideas that will help prepare us for the lockout. They (players' association) are there for us and are already thinking about different contestants and things that will help the players."
Landry, who will be a free agent at the end of this season, said he is keeping his fingers crossed that Hunter's warning doesn't become reality. While Landry wasn't certain if he'd consider playing overseas if it came to that, he is already thinking ahead to a workstoppage.
"I'm not sure, but that's something I'd have to sit down and discuss with my agent because I'm in my contract year," said Landry at the idea of playing in Europe.
"That might be an option, or there might be different ways to make money during the lockout with different basketball-related things to do. I'm fine and I have investments of my own."
More and more, players around the NBA are speaking openly and appear united about the thought of a lockout. Some just say it's out of their control, while others are actively pondering what the offseason will or won't bring bring - and if they'll even be back next preseason getting ready for another long 82-game season. That's what happens when the topic hits so close to home. That goes for expecting free agents like Landry, and even first year players who are just starting to work towards finincial and job security in the league.
"It's scary," explained Kings' rookie point guard, Pooh Jeter.
"We' shall see how talks go with the owners, but right now I just don't know. We just have to be ready."
Jeter said he will be in Los Angeles for All-Star weekend and to attend any player association meetings and gatherings as the teams' player representative. And with the unknown future about the lockout, he's gone from hoping for the best to praying for a resolution.
"For me, I'd like to see the lockout resolved but at the same time, I'm going to leave it in God's hands. Whatever happens, happens and I just have to stay ready for the next stage," added Jeter.
Right now, that "next stage and forcast for next season isn't looking so pretty.
"It's going to be weird without basketball," said Landry.
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