By Chris Sheridan
NEW YORK — Billy Hunter is scheduled to get on an airplane Sunday and fly to Los Angeles to give a briefing to several players on the state of the NBA lockout.
David Stern and Adam Silver are observing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur on Saturday, when sunset comes at 6:27 p.m. EDT local time and both men can break their fast, have a bite to eat and pick up the telephone — if they so choose.
Right now, the owners have set a precondition for reconvening collective bargaining talks — telling the union to accept the 50/50 split of revenues to clear the way for hammering out compromises on the remaining unresolved system issues.
The union says it will not accept any preconditions, and that is why the sides are not scheduled to meet. Yet.
That’s where things stand as of midday, Saturday.
Now, let’s all take a collective deep breath and remind ourselves that Stern has set Monday as the deadline for making a deal to salvage the scheduled Nov. 1 start of the regular season (and it should be noted that Stern did not specify an exact time on Monday).
And if Stern makes a phone call, removes the preconditions, sits down with Hunter and Derek Fisher and is within inches of a deal by 11:59 p.m. Monday night, he also has the power to stop the clock.
So right now, the thing to watch for is whether Hunter gets on that flight to Los Angeles on Sunday, or whether he stays in New York.
And even if Hunter gets on that flight to LAX, Stern and Silver can get climb aboard the NBA’s corporate jet, fly out of Teterboro airport in New Jersey and touch down on the West Coast five hours later. Come to think of it, if everybody is in California on Monday, that buys them an extra three hours because of the time zone difference. Hmmm.
The point here is that it is not yet Monday, and a lot can happen between sundown Saturday and 11:59 p.m. PDT Monday. So stay tuned.