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NBA lockout: Lakers' five remaining exhibition games canceled

October 4, 2011 |  4:59 pm

David Stern

If Laker fans are lamenting lost exhibition games in Anaheim, Bakersfield, San Diego, Las Vegas and at Staples Center, come back next week. It'll be a lot worse.

Forget just scratching off these games: Utah Jazz (Oct. 16 at Staples Center and Oct. 19 at Anaheim's Honda Center), Sacramento Kings (Oct. 21 at Las Vegas' Thomas and Mack Center), Clippers (Oct. 25 at Valley View Casino Center, Oct. 27 at Bakerfield's Rabobank Arena).

Should the NBA owners and players union fail to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by Monday, league commissioner David Stern told reporters they plan to scrap the first two weeks of the regular season.

That's when fans can forget about seeing whether the veteran-laden Lakers can hold up with the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder (Nov. 1). They can forget about day dreaming that Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak somehow acquires Chris Paul during next year's free agency while the Lakers host the New Orleans Hornets (Nov. 6). They can forget about wondering what the Mike Brown era will look like through the first eight regular-season games.

Former Lakers standout and USC women's basketball coach Michael Cooper made an excellent point to me Monday night that more focus should center on the team and arena employees who have either lost or will lose their jobs because of the work stoppage. But fans are right to feel upset over a possibly delayed season. I was as devout as an NBA fan as they came growing up, scouring the newspapers, watching every televised game and reading as many NBA-related books as I could.

But I'm sure plenty of other fans felt the same way when I lost interest in the league for two to three years following the 1998-99 lockout. Even if some of these fans will immediately return once the dust settles, there's nothing remotely positive about these ongoing developments.

--Mark Medina

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Photo: NBA Commissioner David Stern. Credit: Michael Cohen / Getty Images.