The NBA's collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight on Thursday, and with the league bracing for a lockout, both sides are ready to dig in their heels. Witness the latest dispatch from Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! Sports, which centers on Billy Hunter and the players association, but begins with this scene:
After Kevin Garnett delivered an inspired sermon in the NBA players union meeting a week ago, declaring his willingness to sit out the season and forfeit $18.8 million in salary, a far more measured voice spoke up with 60 rank-and-file players in a New York hotel ballroom.
The "more measured voice" was belonged to Shane Battier, who went on to ask Billy Hunter about sacrificing his salary. But on the eve of a lockout, Garnett's "sermon" certainly strikes a more memorable chord. The gulf between the players and owners is wide, and the closer we get to the NBA's worst case scenario, the clearer it becomes that both sides are prepared to fight.
It'd be one thing for the NBA's rank-and-file to fight the owners, but a superstar like Garnett threatening to sit out the season speaks volumes. The message? This could get really, really ugly.