by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Despite the misguided optimism of the past few days, as reps for the players’ union and owners met for what seemed like an interminable amount of time (and even seemed to be making headway), the League made a decision last night that now appears to have been inevitable since the lockout began.

For the second time in 13 years, the NBA will miss regular season games.

According to Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, this is all part of the owners’ plan to break the players’ collective will.

They won’t relent until they get absolutely everything they want in this labor war. And they know that in order to do that, players must truly feel the financial pinch of not receiving some of their paychecks.

From CBS Sports:

“It goes back to a comment that David said to me several years ago, when he said this is what my owners have to have,” Hunter said Monday night, after the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA regular season were canceled. “And I said, ‘Well, the only way you’re going to get that is, you prepare to lock us out for a year or two.’ And he’s indicated to me that they’re willing to do it. So my belief and contention is that everything that he’s done has demonstrated that he’s following that script.”

“I’m not surprised, because as I’ve indicated to you, based upon representations that were made to me earlier in discussions that David and I had, I’m convinced that this was just all part of the plan,” Hunter said.

We’re back to square one now in this mess. No further talks are scheduled between the two sides, and there’s no telling just how many more games the NBA will have to cancel should a deal fail to materialize.

For what it’s worth, Billy Hunter doesn’t believe the League would be “foolish” enough to wipe out the entire season. But, as we’ve learned in this lockout, optimism hasn’t always been the wisest of strategies.