Thursday , Aug , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Billy Hunter: 2011-12 NBA season likely cancelled

“The circumstances have changed among his constituency,” said Hunter, the executive director since 1996. “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.” Because negotiators are dug in, Hunter said “something has to happen that both of us can use as leverage to save face.”

Asked by a conference attendee whether there would be a 2011-12 season, he replied: “If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: How can they expect fans to care when Union Boss Billy Hunter is already throwing in the towel on 2011-12 in early August?

To be fair, Hunter’s job is to get the best deal for the players. He is supposed to achieve this, though, through compromise, negotiation, and bargaining.

Instead, Hunter is offering doomsday scenarios, and laying blame at the feet of the NBA owners.

Hunter may be right. The season may be lost because of the owners, however, he should be doing everything to get a strong deal for his players to play this fall.

Commissioner David Stern hasn‘t been any better. Hunter’s counterpart has also been quick to blame, point, and posture on behalf of the owners.

Neither can afford to publicly concede that the season is done. Not now, at least. Fans have options. The NFL is bigger than ever. College sports are huge. Heck, baseball is good for an inning or two.

Then there’s the world outside of basketball. It exists, trust me. Fans will latch onto something new and never look back. Especially if they feel Hunter, Stern, and the NBA didn’t do everything they could to play hoops this year.

So Hunter should be careful about throwing in the towel. There may not be much left when he finally tries to pick it up.

–Oly Sandor.

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