LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- After nearly four hours of negotiations, talks between NBA owners and players broke down without progress on Tuesday.

As a result, the league canceled all preseason games.

If a deal isn't reached by Monday, the first two weeks of regular season games will see the same fate, and concerns are growing that the lockout could stretch even further.

'Well, I think it hurts the Hornets and it hurts the sport of basketball completely,' said Gabe Feldman, who heads up Tulane's Sports Law program.

Feldman said canceled games can lead to waning interest from fans.

That's a troubling thought, he said, especially for a franchise that has faced so much uncertainty and instability recently.

'This is the worst possible time for that to happen with the Hornets, with the attendance benchmark, with the need for a new owner, I think there's a risk that the lockout could really hurt the Hornets, long term,' Feldman said.

However, Hornets fans have shown commitment the last few months, in snapping up more than 9,000 season tickets -- a big increase from the previous year.

In the time since though, the stalemate between players and owners has dragged on.

Local attorney and major Hornets supporter Morris Bart is following the situation closely.

'Whenever there's something like this, I think people get frustrated, aggravated in the short term,' he said. 'My main issue is, at the end of the day, when the lockout is over, when they do get back to playing basketball, I want them to play basketball right here.'

Bart, who has expressed interest in becoming a minority owner of the Hornets, said he's confident the team will stay in New Orleans.

As for the lockout, Feldman believes the potential financial sting brought by canceled games should ease fears over an extended lockout.

Simply put, he said there's too much to lose.

'Once that starts to happen, then I think the sides will be pushed closer together. Then, I think we get the deal. I don't think either side is willing to risk the entire regular season,' Feldman said.

Despite some layoffs already elsewhere around the league, Hornets officials say they have no plans for job cuts.

However, New Orleans Arena officials point out, many workers like vendors and security guards count on each game financially.

It's another reason damage from the lockout could be far-reaching.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.wwltv.com/story/news/2014/08/29/14407212/