The NBA lockout's effects are felt in stages. To this point, we've had the public relations battle, the lawsuits and the false hope. Starting today, according to Ric Bucher and Adrian Wojnarowski, the pain will begin. Sources are saying the NBA will announce the cancellation of training camp and the first group of preseason games later today.
This news doesn't mean there won't be a season, it doesn't even mean any games will be missed, but the clock is ticking and from this point on, there are nothing but meaningful steps to be taken. Training camp and preseason games fall firmly on the "who cares" side of the ledger for fans. It's obviously not encouraging news, but the NFL ate into training camp for their lockout and they even cancelled the Hall of Fame game. No one cared then, and no one has cared since. They resolved their differences and had a successful start to the season.
David Stern, Billy Hunter and their constituents are quickly running out of time if they hope to follow the same path the NFL did a couple of months ago. The league will probably need a four-week window for the sides to come to an agreement, draft the new CBA, get it ratified by both sides, hold an abbreviated training camp and conduct necessary player movement before actual games can be played. Opening night of the regular season is November 1st. By my math, that gives the sides seven days to get the ball rolling. If they can't, this lockout is going to quickly go from being a nuisance fans read about once in a while to a big, big problem for the league and the players. When regular season games get cancelled, people notice.
Unfortunately, the two sides made no progress in their latest meeting and they haven't even scheduled the next. Bucher's source said the owners agreed to try to come up with a proposal that didn't include a hard cap, but that's probably a long shot. More of a good faith effort than anything.
It's looking more and more like the football season and baseball's playoffs will have to be enough to fill our sports fix through the fall, but if you're still holding out hope, the clock is ticking and it's only got a week left, give or take, until NBA games are officially canceled.