This whole lockout has been a bad news festival, with article after post after tweet confirming what we already know — the two sides are far apart with no plans of getting anything figured out any time soon. The longer the lockout lasts, the more desperate the situation has seemed.

So, I guess, this counts as good news. From the Boston Globe:

“I would say that we have very smart players who recognize that this system is very good to them,” he said. “You’ve got 13 players on a roster averaging $5 million apiece, that’s $65 million and what the owners have said is, ’we’re going to try very hard as we reset this thing to keep you as close to that number as we can.’ [...]

“I expect that we’ll make a deal because the alternative is very destructive,” he said. “It’s destructive of $2 billion worth of player salaries and it’s destructive most important to our fans of the game. And if it spirals badly everyone gets hurt. But in some ways I worry because the players have more to lose, especially those in the later stages of their career. So we’re going to do everything we can when the rhetoric slows down to get this thing back on track.”

You guys, David Stern expects to make a deal that will save at least part of the season. That is the least amount of encouraging that is possible, while still being technically encouraging. It’s better than Billy Hunter saying he expects the season to be canceled, that’s for sure. In a summer full of downers, this tiny, tiny bit of good news is much appreciated.

Of course, there are still some subtle zingers in here, so let’s not get too excited. The players and owners are still far apart, they’re canceling meetings and then fighting about whether or not they canceled meetings. No one’s in a hurry to end the work stoppage, but at least David Stern expects it to end eventually. If he’s anticipating something will get done, that should give us a bit of hope that we’ll have an NBA next season. Really hope he’s right.