With the NBA now less than 36 hours from a potential lockout, it's important to understand how the 76ers are preparing for such a work stoppage. On Wednesday in Dallas, league owners voted to give their Labor Relations Committee the authority to do whatever it deems necessary in the pursuit of successfully negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. While that doesn't mean with 100 percent certainty that the league will lock out its 450 players beginning immediately at 12:01 on Friday morning, it does mean that it has the authority to do so. The two sides -- the owners and the NBA player's union -- will meet on Thursday in New York City for another bargaining session.
It's possible the lockout could begin at 12:01 on Friday morning and it's possible that the two sides could agree to extend the current CBA for a short time (through the weekend and into next week) in an effort to continue bargaining before instituting a lockout. And it's possible the two sides could magically come to an agreement, although virtually no one believes this will happen.
The Sixers coaching staff is, for lack of a better term, getting their ducks in a row. Once the lockout begins, players will not have contact with anyone within the organization. We've obviously seen some of this recently with the NFL's current lockout. Since there are national sports business writers out there who do a wonderful job of explaining the ins and outs of the labor dispute, we'll stick to the Sixers stuff on this blog. Sixers head coach Doug Collins and assistant Michael Curry have been traveling around this week meeting with players. They met with Craig Brackins, who has been working out at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. They had dinner with Andre Iguodala in Philly (everything is fine between Iguodala and the coaching staff). They flew to Atlanta to meet first with Thaddeus Young and then Lou Williams. Collins and Curry are flying to Los Angeles today to meet tomorrow with Elton Brand and then with Jrue Holiday. Assistant coach Brian James spent some time with Evan Turner at OSU (Turner is taking summer classes). The purpose of these meetings is to make sure the guys are doing well and that they have all the tools to continue working out this summer. For example, the coaches still want Thad working on his outside shot and they want Lou to add some strength through weight training.
Unlike every other summer, there will likely be no rookie league. There will also be a moratorium on player movement if and when a lockout is imposed. That means that on July 1, which is typically the first day of free agency, things in the NBA will be silent. Also, for those of you asking, that also means a halt to potential trades. Things have been made much tougher on all NBA teams because no team is sure what rules will be in place with the next CBA. Will there be a hard salary cap? Will the mid-level exception exist? Will trade exemptions exist?
Right now, what we do know is that the coaching staff is making an effort to ensure their guys are prepared, or as prepared as you can be for something like this.
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