Yesterday, Commissioner David Stern reluctantly cancelled the first two weeks of the NBA season as players and owners struggled to come to an agreement over their labor dispute. Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire is optimistic that the two sides will come to terms and be able to save the season, but he has an alternate plan in case that doesn't work out: “If you don’t go to Europe, then let’s start our own league. That’s how I see it.”

Stoudemire said he has been receiving calls about playing overseas (as well as movies and sitcoms), but hasn't been seriously considering it—he'd rather focus on forming a makeshift league here if the lockout goes on for a year or more: “It’s very, very, very serious. It’s just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan and a blueprint and putting it together," he said. “We want to play N.B.A. basketball, but if it doesn’t happen, then what are we going to do? Sit around and not do anything. So we got to figure out ways to now play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it. So that’s the next step.”

Owners say that the dispute stems over them wanting to create a competitive balance for small market teams—to that end, they want to alter the salary-cap system to prevent some teams from dramatically outspending others. But players argue that there are plenty of other factors besides economics that contribute to teams fighting for a championship: “As athletes, we don’t believe that competitive balance is completely decided by an economic system or how much payroll exists on one team or another,” said Derek Fisher, the president of the players union.

But both sides are aware that their dispute affects a much wider range of people than players and owners: an entire sports tourism industrywhich includes everything from bars and parking garages around MSG to T-Shirt vendors, among others. "Both sides are to blame. It's billionaires versus millionaires," Tom Dwyer, owner of the Blarney Rock Pub on W. 33rd Street, tells the Daily News. "There are eight Irish pubs on this street. And all the neighborhood bars all over the five boroughs where people go to watch the games will be hurting, too. When you add it up, it's devastating." Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg agreed with that assessment: "Everybody loses. This doesn't help the economy here."