The NBA finished its final meeting today in New York City. The owners representation, commissioner David Stern, and deputy Adam Silver met with player's union chief Billy Hunter and rep Derek Fisher, among others. The two sides met for a few hours in what will be the final bargaining session before the league locks out beginning at 12:01 on Friday morning. There was a slight possibility that the two sides would extend the current collective bargining agreement for a short time in an attempt to avoid a lockout, but neither side is close to an agreement.
The lockout will begin at 12:01 a.m. Players have been informed.
What does this mean for the 76ers? Well, first of all, a variety of factors have conspired to delay a potential trade of Andre Iguodala. The overarching one was the uncertainty of what the next CBA will bring. We've outlined the potential changes to the CBA and how teams are hesitant to make moves without knowing the details of the next CBA. Another factor was the shift in team ownership, which in its own way handcuffed the current front office from making a franchise-changing trade before the new ownership assumed control. Now, in a few hours, there will be a moratorium on all player moves, which will serve to freeze frame the Sixers' roster as it is right now.
Regardless of the lockout, the question will still be asked: Do the Sixers still want to move Iguodala? The answer to that is still yes. Sixers coach Doug Collins did meet with Iguodala in Philly and everything is fine between the two. But question marks remain about Iguodala's desire to play in Philly and in certain, irrevocable ways, the wheels have been set in motion to find Iguodala a trade out of here. And these wheels have been set in motion from both sides: the Sixers' front office and Iguodala's camp, as well. He's already felt, for the past two years, that he's consistently been dangled as trade bait and in the past two months it hasn't been a secret that the team is trying to move him. For a guy like Iguodala, quite proud and stubborn in his own ways, these past two months have laid the foundation for his belief that next season he will not be a Sixer. Once your best player starts accepting that he's moving on, it's that much more difficult to slam on the brakes and reel him back in. That said, until we know the guidelines of the next CBA, we won't have a clear understanding of how the Sixers will move forward with the Iguodala situation.
Another concern as the league locks out will be the focus and work ethic of each player on this roster. We've already reported that the coaching staff, specifically Collins, Michael Curry, and Brian James, are traveling around the country meeting with players to make sure they have what they need before the lockout begins. Collins and Curry are in Los Angeles today to meet first with Elton Brand and then with Jrue Holiday. It's important to understand the nature of the lockout once it goes into effect tonight. The team side, the GM and coaches, will not be communicating with the players. As reported earlier today on various outlets including Yahoo!Sports, the GMs have received a list of people around the players they shouldn't be calling (this list, of course, includes the players themselves). The players won't be working out in team facilities. They won't have contact with anyone involved with the team. They will be completely on their own with their workouts, which for some players (Holiday, Iguodala, Brand come to mind) won't change much, but for others (Marreese Speights comes to mind), could spell bad news. There's something called the "Shawn Kemp" effect ... or current players that might "Shawn Kemp" it during this lockout. During the 1998-99 lockout, Kemp, to put it kindly, did not keep himself in shape. Speights is probably the Sixer most likely to suffer from this affliction.
The good news about the team's roster is that it's filled with guys who have consistently proven themselves reliable during the summer, with most of them working out away from the team's facility on City Line Ave. -- even before a lockout. If you look at the veterans, Brand, Iguodala, Battie (if he re-signs), they will all keep themselves in shape during a work stoppage. The "young nucleus" as we've come to call them, of Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Evan Turner, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes seem to be accountable to one another and we'd be really surprised if any of them took long chunks of time off and kicked their feet up. And then there's the young, unproven guys in Craig Brackins and draft picks Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen. You better believe Brackins is cranking away and will continue to do so and both draft picks are hard working, high character guys. When it comes to NBA rosters, Collins' roster is pretty much filled with guys who stay in shape year-round. We won't go too much into Andres Nocioni and Darius Songaila because they aren't part of the future plans -- plus, they're proven veterans.
Collins and Curry will meet tonight with Jrue Holiday in L.A. and it's probably a fitting final meeting between coaches and player. As we've conveyed previously, Holiday is the budding leader of this team and starting at 12:01 a.m., this roster will be without concrete direction. The players can communicate with one another, obviously, and so Holiday will be at the forefront of making sure this young nucleus continues to improve even without a certain season to point towards.
We'll be Live Chatting tomorrow (Friday) at noon on Philly.com. Talking about the lockout, the draft, the future, anything related to the Sixers. Also, if you want to follow on Twitter, you can do that here: Deep Sixer. Social media will make this a much busier lockout than the last time it happened, in 1998-99.
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.