NBA Players Association chief, Billy Hunter, said chances of a agreement in the NBA labor talks look bleak and, that NBA owners and players are so far apart in the talks, the entire 2011-12 NBA season will be cancelled.
According to "The Sporting News," that prediction is from Hunter, who said the entire season will be shut down due to the lockout "if he had to bet on it."
Hunter said at an American Bar Association in Baltimore yesterday-- two days after the players and owners met for three hours and failed to make any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Hunter thinks that a new group of hard-line owners is making it difficult for David Stern to make a deal. This group of newer owners wants to get a bigger return for their investments.
"In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises," claims Hunter. "And what they're doing is kind of holding his [Stern's] feet to the fire."
"If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no," said Hunter after he was asked if fans can count on the 2011-12 season.
The two sides will meet again this month, but they have not scheduled a date.
The league had no comment to Hunter's remarks.
Hunter has been the Executive Director of NBPA since 1996. He served as chief negotiator during the 1999 collective bargaining agreement between the NBA owners and the players.
During the 1998-99 lockout, the NBA played 50 games and the league did not start to cancel games until the middle of October.
The countdown starts now-- with ten weeks to go.