Barkley weighs in on NBA lockout

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

CALGARY - With last week’s announcement that the NBA has officially postponed training camps and cancelled all pre-season games up to Oct. 15, many around the league are out of jobs.

That includes TV analyst and 11-time league all-star Charles Barkley.

On the eve of a trip to Calgary for Catriona Le May Doan’s Olympic Oval Casino Royale fundraiser Thursday night, he weighed in on the saga that is jeopardizing the upcoming hoops season.

“Well, it’s unfortunate that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs,” Barkley said. “It sucks. I think it’s going to be a long, drawn out process, to be honest with you.”

The NBA collective bargaining agreement expired June 30, and the league announced it would lock out the players.

Last Friday, the league announced it was cancelling 43 pre-season games from Oct. 9 through Oct. 15 and indefinitely postponing training camps that were slated to open Oct. 3. More cancellations could follow if a new CBA is not reached soon.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 1, but Barkley said it’s now about minimizing the damage.

“They should have a deal done by now,” said the basketball hall-of-famer. “They’ve already announced that there’s no training camp and no pre-season, so that automatically means the season isn’t going to start on time. It’s already done harm, to be honest with you.

“You’ve just got to try to found a way to hold the damage to as little as possible.”

The two sides are expected to meet Wednesday, after meeting Tuesday for two hours in New York.

Sir Charles isn’t optimistic and likened it to the National Hockey League lockout in 2004-05, which laid waste to the entire season.

“If they miss the whole season, it’s going to do harm,” Barkley said. “We’re actually in the same boat hockey was a few years ago. It’ll come back, but it’s going to take a while.”

But he’s not taking sides.

“They’re both at fault,” Barkley added. “There’s going to be a lot of collateral damage for the people who work for the arenas and for the teams.”

The NBA played an abbreviated schedule of 50 games in 1998-99. It is the only time the league has lost games to a work stoppage.

scott.mitchell@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMitchell


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