I hope you guys are enjoying the series of exhibition games that have been going on recently because it's starting to look like that's all the high-quality basketball we're going to get for a while. Things had been looking seemingly positive of late, with labor negotiations taking place more during this past week then they had in any previous week since the lockout began.
Talks between the Players Union and NBA team owners went on for about 30 hours over the course of 3 days in front of a federal mediator. That much consistent discussion would lead you to believe that some kind of progress was bring made towards a new collective bargaining agreement, but it's starting to seem more and more like the two sides were just dancing in circles.
That was until Thursday when the negotiations abruptly ended, and it seemed that they didn't end on good terms either. The league has already cancelled all games through November 14th (100 total games), which will cost players, or save owners depending on how you view it, approximately $170 million in salaries. That's nothing compared to how much would be lost (or saved) if the entire season is called off, which some owners are saying they are not afraid to pursue.
There are two main issues that are standing in the way of an agreement being reached; the structure of the salary cap system and the way that revenue is divided between the players and owners. The previous salary cap system had the cap changing on a yearly basis and the calculated amount would be dependent on the leagues revenue from the previous season. In the 2010-2011 season the salary cap was $58.044 million.
As for the other main issue, the old CBA had the players getting 57% of the revenue, and the owners have made it clear that they want to get that number down to a 50-50 split. From what I have read, it seems the players have taken their end down to 53% but that's not good enough for the owners. Considering how many hours have been spent negotiating, its interesting that some people directly involved in these meetings have said that one side has a specific number in mind and refuses to come off of that percentage.
Now beyond that, I don't want to get into any details of why the lockout has reached its current state because quite frankly I don't know exactly what to believe. There is enough ‘he said, she said' going on that the only thing I do believe is that nobody is being completely honest when telling their side of the story to the media. It stinks, it's frustrating...but unfortunately it's just the reality of what the NBA has been brought to.
The bottom line is that the NBA owners say that they are not afraid to cancel the season, and it looks like that is where this lockout is heading. It seems like each side is so upset with the other side that neither is willing to budge, and since it's the owners who are locking out the players, they control whether or not there will be a season. That being the case, they say that they would rather sacrifice this season in order to ensure financial security for years to come.
This has turned into an argument between a couple of very stubborn in-laws with no end in sight. Would it surprise me for things to suddenly change and have one side bend a little so that we can have a season? Of course not. Do I expect that to actually happen? Unfortunately...no. Not the way that the guys in charge have been talking, but boy oh boy do I hope I'm wrong.