With reports that the NBA will cancel at least two more weeks of regular-season games Tuesday, three words come to mind in regards to the ongoing lockout: "No useful purpose."
Part of federal mediator George Cohen's farewell statement last week, that is now the collective aura surrounding the labor-negotiation process. Whether it's system issues, details of a luxury tax, competitive balance, a revenue split--between the league and the union or the amongst the owners themselves--or simply ego, the two parties involved continue to fruitlessly turn in circles. That's even according to the opinion of the presumably neutral Cohen, once hailed as a savior and now, apparently just another frustrated witness to the shenanigans after spending 30 hours (including a 16-hour marathon session into the wee hours) in the span of three consecutive days trying to solve the impasse.
A week from Tuesday, the regular season was originally scheduled to start, with the Bulls in Dallas to open the campaign against the defending champion Mavericks. Instead, Derrick Rose is in Hawaii, on a "Hoops for Troops" tour with a handful of fellow Wasserman Media Group clients. A worthy cause, indeed, but not where the reigning MVP or his increasingly growing fan base would like him to be.
Players will now seemingly miss a month's work of checks, while owners who have complained about their losses continue to lose money as NBA arenas remain dark. From the outside looking in, it seems clear that the players have given up plenty and the owners have their heels dug in, but as astronomical as the figures they debate over appear, both sides are risking losing more money with this work stoppage.
The trickle of NBA players overseas may continue, charity exhibition games will be played, quotes like Wizards center JaVale McGee's infamous "ready to fold" declaration will make the rounds and boardroom tales such as Portland owner Paul Allen's symbolic silence will inspire gloom, but no real progress will be made.
At least until pride is swallowed on one end or another, leading to a "winner" and a "loser," for the good of the game. After all, no division of money or unfailing system can compare to fans deciding they've had enough and don't return when the lockout ends.