As a habitual antagonist, when people tell me I have to do something immediately, I usually get to it when I feel like it. Just to show 'em.
Of course when it means money, perhaps I put aside my pride and do what it takes to fill my pockets.
This weekend the old boys and the younger boys plan to get back together in what David Stern says are vital meetings, with "enormous consequences at play here on the basis of the weekend." And perhaps it's true. Stern also recently stated, "the calendar is not our friend." Derek Fisher adds a more believable slant on the situation:
"It points to the realities that we face with our calendar and that if we can't find a way to get some common ground really, really soon, then the time of starting the regular season at its scheduled date is going to be in jeopardy big-time."
Perhaps it was a foregone conclusion that the NBA would lose a chunk of the season, and perhaps if they are united with such reality, that this weekend is more important to Stern and the owners than it is for the players.
Nah, I don't really believe that either.
Said an anonymous owner:
"Stern's going to make a real hard push to get a deal this weekend. If the union makes a slight move, David will move....But the players have to blink first."
What does this spell for union chief Billy Hunter? Perhaps a small victory, a season, his players paid. The agents will be pissed, but who really gives a crap about what they think? They've been pining to de-certify the union all Summer.
Will the players "blink?" I don't see why not. Hunter has nowhere to go, no power in this situation. He resembles a tired, graying man, a politician whose suffered the slings and arrows of two sets of ravenous vultures. My guess is he's cashed in his 401k and purchased a small cabin in the woods where he can write poetry and swig moonshine on a porch. Any kind of peace is better than being stuck in the middle of a bunch of angry millionaires who WANT THEIR FREAKIN' MONEY.
The threats of marquee players going abroad to play didn't work. The angry discourse did little. As much as we all dislike Stern and ownership, they've won. The question is how much are they willing to give Hunter and the players so they can walk away with a modicum of success.