NBA Players Association chief Billy Hunter is telling players that if there is a lockout come July 1, it will take out the entire 2011-12 season, according to a report by Wendell Maxey of Beyond the Beat.
Maxey's sources within the Sacramento Kings said Hunter spoke to the team two weeks ago, and said that if the league's latest labor impasse reaches the point of a lockout, it won't be resolved before the entire NBA season is lost. Whether that's an alarm to push players to save money or prepare for European travel, or whether it's Hunter's honest assessment remains to be seen.
Hunter had previously said he believed there was a 99 percent chance of a lockout occuring. The league and players will meet in what will surely be a well-covered event at All-Star Weekend in L.A. in mid-February. At last season's All-Star meeting, the union tore up the league's proposal. The sides are not said to be any closer on an agreement today.
The 1998 NBA lockout cost the league 32 regular season games. The 2004 NHL lockout canceled an entire season. The NFL is also careening toward a work stoppage, though it appears more likely that the NFL will avoid a lockout than is the case for the NBA.