David Stern holds all the power and he's now gone through with his first threat; the first two weeks of the season have been cancelled. Even die-hard NBA fans like myself won't notice the difference between 82 or 76 games, especially while we have the NFL to distract us. If it was just 6 games, we could survive, but I'm not very optimistic that the cancellations will stop there.
The owners have dug in, and with way more money, they can wait out the players. At some point, the money they've lost with cancelled games will outweigh the money they save with a new CBA; but we're not at that point yet. Darren Rovell tweeted recently that the two sides are roughly 1.6 billion dollars apart on their latest proposals; from the owners side it's worth the $200 million they lost with the first 6 games to get the deal they want.
As of now, no meetings are scheduled, both sides seem to be stubbornly dug in, and with the league willing to chop off two weeks at a time; the situation is escalating quickly and December games could start to get cancelled very soon. Reports indicate that the last day a deal could be reached to save the season is December 15th, but fans and the people who work for NBA teams will feel the pain long before then.
For me, the pain is already starting to hit with some great games getting cancelled last night. Bulls/Mavs, Thunder/Lakers, Heat/Magic, Heat/Knicks, Lakers/Hornets, and the list keeps going.
From a Rockets prospective, the cancellation of early games could doom their season before it even begins. Yes, they likely weren't a playoff team anyway, but if they had any chance, that chance is rapidly fading with the easier portion of their schedule getting cancelled.
Rockets First Six Games:
Nov. 1st - @ Utah
Nov. 2nd - @ Sacramento
Nov. 5th - Utah
Nov. 8th - @ Indiana
Nov. 9th - @ Philadelphia
Nov. 12th - Golden State
Count them up, they would have faced 0 teams with a winning record last season in their first 6 games. During the rest of November, the Rockets are also scheduled to face the Clippers, Nets, and Timberwolves twice; overall they only face 3 teams in November that had a winning record last season. Not to state the obvious, but if they were to surprise us this season, they had to take advantage of the soft spot in their schedule and get off to a hot start. After November, the difficulty picks up quickly with 10 games vs. playoff teams during December including a 7 game stretch where they face @ Bulls, Lakers, @ Spurs, Thunder, @ Heat, Bulls, @ Grizzlies in consecutive games; murderer's row.
If the NBA season doesn't start until December, the Rockets season will be over before it began.