Lost amid the excitement of the J.J. Hickson trade today is the fact it will be the last of its kind for a while. Perhaps a long while.
The NBA's owners are prepared to lock out the players at the stroke of midnight on Friday. That means a lot of golfing for players and team executives while the union and the owners dare each other to blink.
"We've known for some time that there is a strong possibility that the owners would lock the players out," Anthony Parker wrote in an e-mail to the Beacon Journal today. Even though he is a free agent, Parker is still serving as the Cavs' player rep. "At a time when the NBA is as successful as its ever been, I'm hopeful that a deal gets done before games are missed."
Hopeful, but perhaps not confident. The signs are more and more ominous that this could be a long, grueling lockout with no end in sight. In talking to people around the league on both sides of the bargaining table, I get the feeling no one would be too surprised if the league missed all of next season.
Will you care if the NBA goes away next season? Will you even miss it?