Billy Hunter said Wednesday that if he "had to bet on it," he would wager that the entire 2011-12 season would be wiped out by the lockout.
"We're $800 million apart per year," Hunter told about 200 people during a seminar at a conference in Baltimore of the National Bar Association, an organization of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges.
Hunter believes hard-line owners have limited David Stern's ability to negotiate.
"The circumstances have changed among his constituency," said Hunter, the executive director since 1996. "In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises, and what they're doing is kind of holding his feet to the fire."
Asked by a conference attendee whether there would be a 2011-12 season, he replied: "If I had to bet on it at this moment, I would probably say no."
The NBA had no immediate response after being apprised of Hunter's comments, spokesman Tim Frank said.