David Stern 'expects' an agreement will be made between the owners and players that will prevent the cancellation of the 11-12 NBA season.

“I would say that we have very smart players who recognize that this system is very good to them,'' he said. "You've got 13 players on a roster averaging $5 million apiece, that’s $65 million and what the owners have said is, ‘we’re going to try very hard as we reset this thing to keep you as close to that number as we can.’

“The NFL, which is usually profitable as opposed to the NBA, which isn’t, got the double-digit [revenue] reductions from their players. Our players will understand that when the rhetoric stops and they will understand that the owners are trying to do the right thing and our players always try to do the right thing.”

The NBA recently filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board to prevent a decertification.

Stern said he remains optimistic about reaching an agreement.

“I expect that we’ll make a deal because the alternative is very destructive,” he said. “It’s destructive of $2 billion worth of player salaries and it’s destructive most important to our fans of the game. And if it spirals badly everyone gets hurt. But in some ways I worry because the players have more to lose, especially those in the later stages of their career. So we’re going to do everything we can when the rhetoric slows down to get this thing back on track.”