Monday afternoon's meeting in New York dashed whatever hope remained that the NBA and the NBA Players Association could come to an agreement and save the start of the regular season.
Immediately after the end of today's meeting, which ended around 9:30 p.m, the NBA officially cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season. NBA commissioner David Stern said that those games were officially cancelled, not postponed, meaning the NBA would not try to cram all 82 games into a shortened season. Regular season games through Nov. 14 have been cancelled.
The two sides parted ways in New York without scheduling the next bargaining session and Stern said that the owners' proposals will get worse from this moment forward as the owners will have to account for money lost because of game cancellation.
We knew this lockout had the potential to be bad, but tonight we saw how bad it could be: the two sides seem far apart on virtually every issue on the table. The split of basketball related income, the system issues regarding the luxury tax/salary cap, guaranteed contracts, mid-level exception, etc, etc.
Bad day for the NBA. And the worst part is, every single fan is being alienated in the process. Most people's reaction to this news? "Oh well, no big deal, move on." Whatever popularity the league gained in the last year -- because of the Miami Heat, because of the stellar playoffs, because of Doug Collins here in Philly -- has been given back ... and then some. And for the fans whose reactions are more passionate, because they truly care about their team, they feel a sense of frustration that they will be expected to just cough up their money and jump back on board as soon as the two sides come to terms. If you don't care, you don't care. If you do care, you're expected to plop right back down into your seat.
Something we haven't talked about in a while is how much this lockout will specifically affect the 76ers. It's impossible to quantify which teams will be affected most, but I think it's safe to say that the Sixers are in the top half of teams that really couldn't afford this hurdle in their maturity process as a franchise. Take Marreese Speights going over to play in Greece, as an example. Do you think that in Greece he'll be learning the defensive system Doug Collins requires? Do you think he'll be focused on staying in shape like he does here (with the assistant coaches looking over his shoulder)? Sure, it was likely that Speights would be traded anyway, but the example still remains. Collins needed time with these guys, needed to communicate with them all summer, have them in the gym all of October. Instead, the Sixers have been scattered throughout the country, working out as best as possible. But none of it is on par with the work that needed to be done, that would have been done without a lockout.
And when the NBA does get back on the court -- if they do get back on the court this season -- it'll be to play an abbreviated season. Can you think of one team in whose favor that doesn't work? Yes. That's right. The Sixers. Not the San Antonio Spurs. Not the Dallas Mavericks. Teams like the Sixers, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks. Those kinds of teams.
We'll have more on this tomorrow; we'll try to hash out the possible regular season scenarios and how this news affects the Sixers.
Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at email@example.com.