The games that you will probably not be watching on Christmas this year are Celtics-Knicks, Heat-Mavs, and Bulls-Lakers, because even though it is only mid-October, the NBA lockout has already ruined Christmas for that small group of people for whom Christmas is about watching three over-hyped NBA games. In an interview on NBA TV yesterday, David Stern said that his "gut" tells him that if the players and the owners don't reach a deal after meeting with a federal mediator on Tuesday, there won't be any games on Christmas day.
This can't be good, right? The commissioner of a professional sports league should not be basing his calculations on the future of said league on his gut. In fact, the commissioner of said league probably should not be talking about his gut at all; ideally, he'd be talking about his heart and how open it is to reaching a deal with the mediator on Tuesday. Instead, we get this:
"Right now, Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, just before my owners come into town, having brought in the labor relations committee and Billy (Hunter) having brought in his executive committee, it's time to make the deal," Stern said Thursday. "If we don't make it on Tuesday, my gut - this is not in my official capacity of canceling games - but my gut is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day."
"Because we will have lost two weeks for sure on our way to losing more games, offers will get worse, possibly on both sides, and the deal's going to slip away from us, as may the season," he added. "So this is the time to make a deal... How many times does it pay to keep meeting, and to have the same things thrown back at you?" Stern said. "We're ready to sit down and make a deal. I don't believe that the union is. Hopefully by Tuesday, aided by the mediator, they'll be ready to make a deal. Certainly, I'll bring my owners ready to make a deal."
Reading this, you'd think the man does not actually have any say in the matter. This does not read like a man who understands in his gut that he is also responsible for not reaching a deal thus far, and also responsible for ruining Christmas. As Andrew Sharp pointed out over at SB Nation earlier today, Stern is "really, really good at marketing his own version of the truth." Today, the version of the truth we're getting is that the owners are ready to make a deal, and the union isn't.
Add to this the comment that Hunter, the president of the player's union, made on Mike Francesa's show yesterday. When he was asked whether or not he'd seen the lockout coming, he replied that he'd known about it "for three years":
David Stern promised me a lockout three years ago. We had a private meeting and he told me at that time that he told the owners he would get them what they wanted as long as they agree to a lockout of at least a year.
What a joy, kids: Christmas could last a year.