NBA Lockout: Deadlines, PR Battles, and Mo Evans

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Maurice Evans of the Washington Wizards arrives at Omni Hotel for negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement between player representatives and owners June 30, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

The next round of negotiations in the ongoing labor strife between the NBA owners and its players is scheduled to take place on Wednesday and will be limited to each side's top negotiators according to a CBS Sports report

The session is expected to include only the highest-level people from both sides, likely limited to commisioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, union chief Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher, the person said. Also possibly in attendance could be Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the owners' labor relations committee.

On the eve of that meeting, word has leaked that the NBA has set September 15 as the last possible day to reach a deal before training camps and preseason games are likely to be canceled. In a lot of respects it is likely a ploy by the owners in an effort to put pressure on the Player's Association as the realization that actual games and paychecks will be missed comes slowly more into focus. From my point of view I am ready for either side to show a little sense of urgency. 

In what I consider a pretty interesting article, Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie writes that while the owners caused this mess, it is the players that are obligated to straighten it out. 

And though the players are under no obligation to settle for anything, they're sort of obligated to understand what came before them, how things were perverted, how they (and players that will never sniff the NBA again) took advantage, and what they should do from here on out.

Dwyer takes a pretty radical approach from most of the lockout opinion pieces I have read but there is something genuine in there. He sites that the players have essentially won every time the two parties have gotten together to hammer out deals and now it may in fact be time to pay back. But why? Why should the players concede anything? I don't have a good answer other that at some point all of these people have to start thinking about the greater good of the game. 

I am not optimistic that the players are going to take Dwyer's advice. Especially not when Players' Association Vice President Maurice Evans calls the negotiations "generic" on a Fox Sports Radio show

"The best word I can use is generic. We’ve just been going through the motions. We’ve been meeting really often with the exception of this month. For the past two years we’ve been meeting and the owners are kind of disingenuous right now with their offers. Hopefully, at some point, they firm up a little bit and give us something to work with.

Evans provides the money shot when asked how long the lockout could drag on. 

"We’re prepared, as players, to sit out as long as we need to. It’s not fair to the players, it’s not fair to, more importantly, the players that are coming after us, if we accept this type of deal. It’d be really disrespectful to all the great players … that came before us and fought for these rights. I tell the guys to hold tight."

Not hardly reassuring and certainly no indication that the players will be taking Dwyer's advice anytime soon. 

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