Survey: Players expect to play in '11-12
The NBA is facing a lockout, but there may be reason for hope that the labor dispute will not wipe out basketball through the end of they year.
In a survey conducted by ESPNChicago.com, ESPNDallas.com and ESPNLosAngeles.com with the rosters of three teams that made the playoffs in 2010-11, only 10 out of 37 players who responded (27 percent, not counting six abstentions) believed a lockout would last six months or longer. A work stoppage lasting longer than six months would ensure Game 6 of the Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat would be the last NBA game of 2011.
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Players on the Los Angeles Lakers, Mavericks and Chicago Bulls participated in an anonymous survey over the second half of last season when they were asked: Will there be a lockout? And if they responded "Yes," a follow-up: Will the lockout last longer than six months?
Thursday's news of the lockout going into place came as no surprise to the players who participated in the survey. While the questions were posed to the players several months ago, an overwhelming majority of respondents -- 36 out of 37 (97.3 percent) -- said there would be a lockout come July 1. Of the seven players to not say "Yes," six abstained from giving an answer. Only one player questioned said "No" when asked if there would be a lockout.
Breaking it down by team, 11 of the 14 Lakers players asked said there would be a lockout and four of those players believed it would last six months or longer. Three Lakers players abstained from the survey. Thirteen of the 14 players on the NBA champion Mavericks said there would be a lockout and, like the Lakers, four of those players believed it would last six months or longer. Twelve of the 15 Bulls players questioned said there would be a lockout, but only two of those players believed it would last six months or longer. Three Bulls players abstained from the survey as well.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com and Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com contributed to this report.