The three-day mediated talks between the owners and players ended so badly last week, it was crazy to think there wasn't a legitimate shot that the NBA season was hanging by a strand of David Stern's used floss. There were no plans to reconvene and two more weeks of the regular season had just been canceled. It was bad.
But in a wild turn of events, after getting together for two days in the middle of this week, the breath of fresh air around town is that the lockout could be over within the next few days.
Determined to work out a deal and save the 2011-2012 NBA season that has already lost four weeks of regular season games, the two sides apparently made "significant progress" yesterday on system issues. After 7.5 hours of negotiations today, there are still "a couple sticking points" to hash out, but David Stern is all but expecting a deal to be in place by the end of the weekend.
When Stern was asked after Thursday's negotiations if he knew what a new deal would look like, Stern responded, "Yes," which could mean nothing, or it could mean that there is an actual frame work in place that merely has some loose ends to tie up. Although Stern added that it's not a guarantee a deal will get done, he believes that it would be a huge failure if it was not reached within the next few days.
We could be talking actual basketball by Monday, or maybe not.