The executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, Billy Hunter, isn’t what one would call an optimistic fella. At least, not when it comes to the current work stoppage.
Having already gone through a lockout in 1998-’99, Hunter doesn’t see too many differences in this fight compared to the last one.
In the Grantland profile of Billy Hunter and his fascinating life and career, the man once again tasked with staring down David Stern claims that he knew the owners were ready for a lockout since 2007, and that their motives are simple and clear: pure greed.
If each side maintains their current stance, Hunter said he believes the league’s owners will lock out players for at least an entire season. Some originally applauded the civility of both sides for agreeing to meet long before the labor agreement expired. In retrospect, the meetings only hinted at the deep fracture that existed back then.
“They are trying to do the same thing here that they did in the case of the NHL and they’re following the same blueprint. I know it, and I preached it time and again to our players from the inception. I’ve said the same thing: They’re not negotiating in good faith; they have no desire or intentions of getting a deal without a lockout because if they think they can threaten us or lock us out for a year or whatever, that the players will cave and they’ll get everything they want. … In this instance, as far as I’m concerned, it’s calculated. It’s all about greed,” Hunter said. “It ain’t about nothing else.”
So, yeah, not exactly a rosy outlook for the immediate future of the NBA.
Even with both sides agreeing to resume negotiations next week, there’s no reason to believe that a peaceful resolution is forthcoming anytime soon.