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Players told to start saving for the coming apocalypse

Billy Hunter is basically walking around wearing a sandwich board that says, “The end of the world is nigh.”

Maybe the message is a little subtler than that, but not much. The lockout is looming when the current CBA expires in the summer of 2011 and the players had better start preparing now. Hunter, the director of the NBA Players Association, was in Detroit this week spreading the word, according to the Detroit News.

Jason Maxiell, the Pistons’ player representative, said players are beginning to take precautions with a lockout looming.

“Mainly save your funds, knowing it could be like 1998 (the last NBA lockout),” Maxiell said. “It was tough for (the players) then, and it could be tough for us. As a player you have to be prepared for it.”

NBA players are not exactly known for having a frugal and wise fiscal strategy. A savings plan does not involve doubling your money this summer at a Vegas craps table. That’s what the owners are counting on -- if this goes to a lockout, they have to deep pockets to outlast the players.

I really am trying to find ways to be optimistic a deal can be worked out before the start of the 2011-12 season. But right now that is hard. Very hard.