So the six percent keeping the NBA owners and players from getting back to making that jack remains intact, and pessimism abounds.
So how is that any different than the way the NFL lockout was covered?
The answer is, it isnt. It never was. The owners played hardball, the players agents are ready for hardball, and Billy Hunter, the head of the union, stands in the middle, knowing he cant do anything but watch.
We knew all along this was not going to be an easy dance, and the fact that it hasnt been one should surprise nobody. David Stern may be taking the lead, but it the hardballers agenda for the moment, and Stern goes where the power leads him. When crisis point hits, the moderates will come in and sweep up all the undecided votes and Stern will then become a moderate.
After all, you dont get to be the commissioner by straying too far from the position of the most owners.
The problem is, Stern is about to lose control of the other half of the table, because Hunter said that decertifying the union is suddenly an appealing option. Since decertifying the union suddenly makes this the agents game and not his, he cant be thrilled, but he also cant be dull-witted. He knew this could be the end game if negotiations hit the wall, which they did on Tuesday.
But it doesnt have to be the wall. Thats the other thing we learned from the NFL lockout. Drop-dead dates arent; the move the false narratives each side puts out, because the whole idea on both sides is to paint a dire picture and blame the other guys for making it so.
So todays no good in the NBA. Posing will commence shortly, and then another meeting will be called, and people will get optimistic again, and then be let down several more times until the moderates finally weary of the whole stupid game and say, I want to make money again.
And money will be made. It may cost some games at the front end; it may cost a lot of games, and the panic from the basketball media will be as frantic as that from the football media this summer.
But nobody turns away money forever; even those who want to will be worn down by those who dont. Hardliners are usually the extremists, and governance is done from the center, especially in times of plenty. And no matter what the owners say, these are times of plenty in the NBA.
Plenty, of course, being a relative term. Today, theres plenty of posing. Tomorrow, itll be something else.