Sometime today, the NBA is expected to officially announce the cancelation of two more weeks of regular season games. After last week's bargaining-session meltdown (you can read that info here: NBA Lockout), additional cancelations were only a matter of time, with most nationwide NBA writers pointing toward early this week for the announcement. The NY Daily News wrote on Monday that the cancelation announcement would come today. On Oct. 10, NBA commissioner David Stern announced the cancelation of the first two weeks of the regular season, which amounted to 100 games canceled from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14. This second announcement will cancel an additional 102 games, from Nov. 14 to Nov. 28. Each week of cancelation is costing the league approximately $100 million in revenue.
For the 76ers, these four weeks of games means the following games will be canceled: at the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 2; vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 4; at the Orlando Magic on Nov. 6; vs. the Houston Rockets on Nov. 9; vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 11; at the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 13; at the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 14; at the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 16; vs. the Charlotte Bobcats on Nov. 18; at the Miami Heat on Nov. 20; at the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 22; at the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 24; and vs. the New York Knicks on Nov. 26. That's 13 regular season games gone. Although it's unlikely, there is still the possibility -- if a resolution is reached soon -- that the NBA could rejigger the schedule and pack in an 82-game season. To do that, the schedule would include more back-to-backs. It's getting late in the game for a full 82-game season to be crammed into the league's timeframe, but it's still possible. Very soon, that possibility will disappear. And the NBA has not confirmed it would even attempt to do such a thing even if the two sides came to an agreement in a timely fashion.
The way it stands right now, the NBA owners and the union have no meetings scheduled. The two sides seem to have stepped away from one another, perhaps cooling down after last week's frustrations, perhaps taking a breath of fresh air in hopes of producing a fresh approach. On Monday, union chief Billy Hunter spoke with ESPN's Bill Simmons in an hour-long podcast. Hunter said the following:
"I will call them to see if they want to get back together," Hunter said. "But if they still say they'll only meet if I accept their 50-50 (proposal), to me that's a non-starter. I can't agree to meet if I don't know what is going to happen on the other issues. That is intolerable."
As the union explained after last week's meeting, the NBA owners have apparently issued a pre-condition for any further meetings: accept the 50-50 split in basketball related income and trust that the system issues will fall into place. Hunter and the union, as of right now, find this pre-condition an impossible hurdle to jump. Officially, the union is demanding a 52.5-47.5 split in revenue and even if the union was willing to accept the 50-50, it would likely be dependent on a favorable agreement on some of the other system issues. For an diehard NBA-ers, you can find the full podcast with Billy Hunter here: NBA Podcast.
All of this is affecting the Sixers on the homefront, too. Without games, there are a number of positions that are extraneous. In an economy that is weak to begin with, coupled with canceled games, the team's front office has let go of NBA scouts John Nash and Chris Ford. The move makes sense given Nash's gig was to travel the country, scouting teams ahead of the Sixers' schedule. If the Sixers were to play the Houston Rockets on a Friday, Nash would attend Rockets' games ahead of time and scout their offenses, out of bounds plays, etc. The team only needs a bare bones operation during this extended labor stoppage. A couple of other key front office members are Tony DiLeo (assistant GM) and Courtney Witte (director of player personnel). With college scouting and overseas scouting still being a crucial part of operations, it remains to be seen if the Sixers -- and their new ownership -- will make any additional moves in the front office. Of course, these "front office" type of lockout cuts are worth noting, but they're only a couple of the thousands of jobs affected by the prolonged work stoppage. Canceled games means loss of wages for hundreds of ushers, security officers, concessions workers, Wells Fargo Center game-day employees, and even some of the team's support staff. Not to mention the loss of revenue to surrounding establishments like hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Before last week's labor meltdown, Stern had said on New York radio that if a deal wasn't reached soon (by last week), the NBA would almost certainly have to cancel its showcase Christmas Day games. Although it seems the league is going to hold off on any such moves, believing that if a deal is reached soon it can save those marquee events, additional cancelations are not far away. The union has made it clear it wants to return to the bargaining table, but says it will only do so if the NBA removes the pre-condition of accepting a 50-50 split in revenue.
If you want to really capture the vibe around the impasse, this column pretty much sums it up: Find Someone Who Cares. If you want to read Monday's post about the potential amnesty clause in the next CBA and whether the Sixers should/would use it on Elton Brand, you can find that here: Amnesty on Brand?
Follow on Twitter for instant updates on the labor issue and the Sixers: Deep Sixer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.