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From hope to despair, from 53 to 47, from BRI to age limits, two years in college, hard caps and flex caps. And that’s not all. But after so many words, after a growing sense of optimism that blew up in everyone’s faces this week when Billy Hunter turned the latest offer down, the bottom line is that we’re over four months into the NBA lockout, and the league that should have been on its way already is out of action with owners and players beginning to fight each other.

Mid Level exceptions, median level salaries, decertifying the union, small market teams fighting for a sense of equality, big name stars starting to care way way too late and eventually making a mess of things. Like Dwyane Wade’s fight with David Stern. Like the Garnett-Pierce-Bryant walk-in on one of the meetings, cancelling any decisions about to be made. No basketball, from Miami to Boston, from Sacramento to Milwaukee.

David Stern and Adam Silver, Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher, but it seems it’s way above their heads, and going on behind their backs, or right under their noses. Billions of dollars, 5 million dollars a season, 4.5 million dollars a season. Numbers that mean nothing to most fans. Will tickets cost less? Will jerseys cost less? None of us care if an owner brings home ten million dollars a year or comes up with some losses.

None of us actually care if the biggest of stars will make 20 million dollars a year over seven seasons or get a limit on the lengths of their contract.

We want a good league, exciting. Like the one we last season. Star power sells, and brings in the big ratings. Parity, complete parity, is pretty boring. Take out two-three teams out, things might be better. Change the lottery system, things might be better. About college? I’m not sure. I don’t like raising the age limit to 21, or three years out of high school. But bringing things back to free for all from 18 or 19 isn’t perfect. Maybe it’s still better.

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I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the players having the power. Owners can always offer less money. No one forced the Wizards to sign Gilbert Arenas for 110 million over six years. Stop acting like he robbed someone. He did play with guns, but that’s a different matter.

Actually, none of this matters. The negotiations are back to a point of hate, mistrust. Now within the two sides, not just at each other. So far, it looks like we won’t have any NBA games in 2011. The 1998-1999 season looks like the optimistic scenario now. A 53 game season. Some even voiced opinions of changing the NBA to a 58-60 game season starting in December.

No NBA makes you forget how much you enjoyed it last year, of the great playoffs, which were also awesome because many people had someone to hate. The owners might force the players into submission and better terms for them, but it won’t do anything good for the league or the game of basketball in the United States.