"We’re $800 million apart per year," Hunter told about 200 people during a seminar at a conference in Baltimore of the National Bar Association, an organization of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges.
The union chief said NBA commissioner David Stern was being limited in negotiations by hard-line owners.
"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."
It's hard sometimes to remember this is a negotiation and not just a reporting of the facts. We want so badly to take what these guys say at face value, make our judgements about the situation, and then wait for the next thing.
But the doomsday scenarios these guys on each side present represent more negotiating. It's an effort to to sway public opinion one way or the other. Granted, the players' side has been doing a crappy job of that and is only still even in the PR standings because the owners and Stern are just so hate-able.
I'm not upset about the distance between both sides. I'm most upset about these guys not talking. I mean, why did they wait a freakin month to have a negotiating session? Did they really need to wait until August?
And I know… I know…. negotiations don't really get serious until there's the real threat of losing something. But that's not good enough here. These sides were so far apart… they needed to talk earlier.
I still don't think the NBA will lose a full season, but I'm much less confident that we'll get anything close to a full season either.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Nate Robinson: From PG to CB? | ESPN Boston: Wafer signs with Italian team | Celtics legends raise money for charity | Eagle Tribune: Stern Warning for Stern: You made this mess | WEEI: Delonte clears up minor legal mixup