The NBA 2010-2011
season is in the books. Dallas are the new champions and James' ‘Decision’ to take his talents to South Beach turned out to be much ado
about nothing. LeBron’s next venture will be selling T-shirts reading; The Decision. The Series. The Flop.
Now comes something
even worse than LeBron’s television show, that’s NBA.TV’s wall-to-wall,
one-sided coverage of the looming NBA lockout. Players Union Executive Director
Billy Hunter has told sources that if a new labor deal isn’t in place by June
30, then you can kiss next season good-bye. That’s okay because we’ll have the
NFL….wait a minute, hold that thought.
The first of what
will surely be many legal salvos fired by both sides in the dispute, came in
late May when the union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations
board that owners weren’t bargaining in good faith. The move was expected as
the players try to head off the lockout which at this point is a foregone
Owners are seeking
to entirely revamp the collective bargaining agreement that was hammered out in
2005, an agreement they claim has
cost them hundreds of millions of dollars league wide. Owners are looking to
get rid of the ‘soft cap’ and replace it with a ‘hard cap’ on salaries. The
league is hoping to lower player salaries by $750 million dollars
annually. The players are arguing that
increased revenue sharing between the owners would help and that players
shouldn’t be asked to protect the owners from themselves.
It’s believed the
biggest issue is the division of revenues. Currently the players get 57% and
the league says that number needs to and
will come down.
Who takes the
Matt Moore, the NBA beat writer for CBS says that one thing that won’t
fly with the players union is the idea of raising superstar salaries and paying
the middle- and lower-class players less. According to Moore: “Several player
agents citing a one-man, one-vote union says by cutting the highest salaries by
25 or 30 percent that alone would give the owners much of what they want. Once
guys figure out that 400 or so players will benefit by the top few taking a
major cut, what do you think they’re going to do?”
Moore added that “The league delivered an opening proposal to the
Players Association in which it called for a fundamental change in the salary
structure of the NBA. They don’t want to negotiate a fresh collective
bargaining agreement, as much as they want to crush the union once and for
If one NBA management figure is right then there’s little hope that an
agreement is going to be reached anytime soon. “It isn’t just a matter of the
union losing,” one Eastern Conference GM said. “It’s a matter of how badly they
The NBA Players
Union has distributed mandatory reading material for its members. It’s the 56-page
“Lockout Handbook” and on the front cover is the saying: “Hope for the Best.
Prepare for the Worst”.
The NBA guide
covers everything from how to budget your money and where to spend your
vacations (Las Vegas and Atlantic City are a no-no). It’s pretty much common
sense stuff dealing with mortgages and rents, car payments, etc.
Outside of the NBA
draft later this month, there’s not going to be much to enjoy when it comes to
the pro hardwood.
According to all
sources, the owners won’t settle for just getting what they want out of a new
deal. They want their money back, the money they spent over the past six years
and that want to start turning a profit—now. This is all about the owners and
they’ve told Stern that when this process is over, they want the players
bruised and battered.
With that type of
rhetoric dominating the talks will a deal ever get done? Eventually, but not
until the league gets everything it wants and then some. It very well could
mean the players with the big salaries (and they know who they are) might have
to give back part of their money. This could also mean contraction. Although it
would cost a few marginal players their jobs it would give fewer owners a
bigger piece of the revenue sharing pie.
Whatever betting odds
you can get on the season not
starting on time, take them. They’ll be the best and probably the only NBA
numbers you’ll be able to get for a long time.
Sources from Yahoo Sports and CBS sportsline.com
were used in this article