A few weeks back, we noted that Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, said that the players "won't cave" and are prepared for a lockout and possible work stoppage.
On Friday, NBPA vice president, Washington Wizards forward Maurice Evans, took that a step further, telling HoopsHype.com that he is "sure" there will be a lockout because an agreement will not be reached prior to July 1.
"We’re just waiting until the season is pretty much over because we won’t have a chance to all meet again until the NBA Finals are over with (in mid-June). I’m sure we won’t get a deal done by July 1. Therefore, it technically will be a lockout. Hopefully, we’re going to solve those issues before the season starts again.
We’ve had a number of meetings starting over a year ago, almost two years out, and we still haven’t been able to really come to any significant negotiations. Therefore, I know it’s going to go into the summer.Evans went on to call some of the meetings between Hunter and NBA commissioner David Stern "token" and that the serious negotiating had not yet begun.
The worst part about this situation is that Evans cannot be dismissed as a doomsday voice. He's very practically and rationally letting us know that so much work needs to be done and so little progress in dialogue has been made that it's impossible to imagine an agreement being reached in the next three months.
That's what we all suspected, but it's still tough to take when delivered so frankly.