Thanks to the NBA lockout, there are two things that fans can now know for sure. One, players are more than willing to go overseas to play ball. Two, NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter is a bit of a prophet.
That's right, the man who knew that the NBA owners and players were headed straight for a stalemate before the lockout became official has another prediction: The entire 2011-12 NBA season will be canceled.
A bold prediction, yes, but Hunter fancies himself a betting man, and according to the Baltimore Sun, he said that if he "had to bet on it," then he'd place his money on there being no professional basketball in the United States come the winter (apologies to the WNBA — but to be fair, they don't actually play in the winter).
Hunter, naturally, blames this predicted cancellation of the season on the owners.
"The circumstances have changed among [NBA commissioner David Stern's] constituency," Hunter said at a conference of the National Bar Association in Baltimore on Wednesday. "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."
At the moment, the gap between the amount the players are willing to give back to the owners and what the owners are asking for from the players is at a whopping $800 million per year, according to Hunter.
"The gap is far between us," he said.
Far indeed. So far, in fact, that players are traveling thousands of miles just to avoid ever bridging that large financial canyon.
If Hunter's current prediction is to be trusted — all signs (that astronomical $800 million difference just mentioned, for starters) indicate that it is — then the NBA will not be having a 2011-12 season.
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