"A lockout is one of many options," says deputy commissioner Russ Granik, "but we are hoping to resolve this amicably, as we have done in the past."
But the Players Association doesn't plan to come to the table until after its attempt to have the salary cap, college draft and free-agency system struck down in the courts as a violation of antitrust law has had a full hearing. A decision in the case, which went in the league's favor, is now under appeal in federal court. Several league sources suggest that the owners will probably allow the season to open on time (Nov. 4), but if there is still an impasse with the players around Thanksgiving, the rumored lockout could become a reality. Aren't you glad you asked?