Could we still get an 82-game NBA season?
A full 82 games of Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls?
Optimism, a rare visitor in N.B.A. circles in recent months, crept back into the room on Wednesday — slowly, cautiously and with muted fanfare. The lockout is not over, and a labor deal is not yet in reach. But it may be on the horizon by the weekend.
Negotiators for the league and the players union staged a marathon, 15-hour bargaining session that went from midday Wednesday until 3 a.m. Thursday. They emerged with bloodshot eyes and weary gazes but with a faint glimmer of hope that had not been seen in many months.
There was even talk of restoring a full, 82-game season — a possibility that had been all but ruled out earlier this month, after the league canceled the first two weeks of the season.
Well…maybe that’s getting a little ahead of things.
Said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver: “I think it’s too early, not just in the morning, but still in the negotiations, to express confidence that we’re at a deal. There’s no question, though, that we did make progress on some significant issues. But there are still some very significant issues left.”
Silver has a point. But at least things appear to be moving forward instead of remaining deadlocked.
This presumably positive news came in the wake of D-Rose pulling out of the upcoming USO tour due to scheduling conflicts and blasting both the rookie salary scale and the greed of NBA team owners.
Said Rose: “I wish it was back like where it was in the old days where there wasn’t a [rookie salary scale]. Back in the day, they were giving guys coming out of college with multimillion-dollar contracts, so why stop it now? The game is growing. There’s no need to stop it.”
Rose added: “Greed is not on our side. We’re not greedy. … What [the owners are] trying to do to us is dead wrong.”
Much as I love D-Rose, it’s hard to argue that there isn’t greed at work on both sides. The lockout is, in essence, a fight over how to divide up billions of dollars during a dismal economic period in which 14 million Americans are unemployed.
That said, let’s hope the latest signs are accurate and the lockout is really and truly near an end.