Wizards forward Andray Blatche considered himself to be one of the more optimistic players when it came to the lockout, believing that the league and the players’ union would soon reach a solution to the work stoppage without missing games.
But after David Stern announced on Monday in New York that the NBA would cancel the first two weeks of the regular season because the two sides remain “very part apart,” Blatche wrote in a text message that he was “starting to lose hope” and may have to consider going overseas.
Stern had set a deadline of Monday for the league and the National Basketball Players Association to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, but added that “further reductions” on the season would likely soon follow. The NBA has already postponed training camp, scrapped the preseason and will now lose regular season games because of a work stoppage for the first time since the 50-game season in 1998-99. The league and players will both lose hundreds of millions of dollars as result of the cancelations.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” union vice president and Wizards free agent forward Maurice Evans, who attended the past two negotiating sessions in New York, wrote in a text message.
If the league and union can reach an agreement without the loss of more games, the Wizards would start the season on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles against the Lakers. They have already lost the first five games of the season – three at home against New Jersey (Nov. 2), Orlando (Nov. 5) and Chicago (Nov. 13) and two on the road in Miami (Nov. 6) and Orlando (Nov. 11). The Wizards already released their reimbursement plan to season-ticket holders last week.
“I wanna play ball,” Blatche wrote. “I need basketball to keep me focused. I’m gonna give it a month and then I’m looking to play ball somewhere. Don’t really care where.”
When asked about the latest move, Wizards guard John Wall replied in a text message, “It’s tough.”