Billy Hunter, NBPA Executive Director, declared that the entire NBA season would be canceled because of a group of hard-line owners. Hunter told an American Bar Association conference that if he “had to bet on it”, he would wager that there will be no NBA season.
“The circumstances have changed among [David Stern’s] constituency,” Hunter stated. “In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises, and what they’re doing is kind of holding his feet to the fire.”
“We’re $800 million apart per year,” Hunter said, “Something has to happen that both of us can use as leverage to save face.”
The NBA Owners and NBPA held a recent negotiation session but after three hour the sides emerged as far apart as they were when the day began. Commission Stern said the sides were “at the same place as they were when the lockout began July 1.”
The NBA Owners want changes to the league’s salary structure, claiming $300 million in losses last season. Players acknowledge that there have been losses but dispute the amount.
Additionally, Hunter is encouraging players to find teams overseas to play for rather than giving into the owners’ demands.