David Stern says that if the NBA lockout isn't solved by Tuesday's meeting with federal mediator George Cohen in Washington D.C., it could last much, much longer. Stern gave an extended interview to Mike Francesca on New York's WFAN radio station this afternoon, and after discussing the negotiations in depth, he was asked point blank whether the NBA would be playing basketball on Christmas Day.
His answer? "It's time to make a deal. If we don't make it Tuesday, my gut ... is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day." The NBA Players Association will meet with Stern and the owners on Tuesday in Washington D.C., when federal mediator George Cohen will attempt to broker a deal between the two sides, salvaging the majority of the NBA season.
If that doesn't happen, though, here's Stern himself admitting that the NBA could miss not just weeks, but months of the regular season. It's a grim outlook, and perhaps overly dramatic--Stern's made periodic, grave proclamations throughout this process--but the words pack a punch, especially since these are his first public comments since the bargaining broke down earlier this week. For now, Christmas Day aside, it sure sounds like the NBA needs a miracle.
George Cohen, a nation of desperate basketball fans turns its lonely eyes to you.