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NBA locks out players as labor talks fall apart

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As of midnight on Friday, the NBA has officially locked out its players.  This came after the players and owners failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, which comes as no surprise to those close to the situation.  While it's easy to blame the owners for allowing the situation to reach this point, it's also easy to side with them due to the position they now find themselves in.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association met for several hours on Thursday hoping to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement but both sides left the meeting feeling as though they were well apart on several issues.  Its all about finances with several owners saying they aren't making nearly enough to cover their expenses but the players rejected the proposed salary cap system.

One of the main problems is that mid-level players salaries are just too high and there are too many owners and teams that are losing money on a regular basis.  Owners are claiming that well over half the league is losing money and this doesn't surprise me at all.  Small market teams want to keep their star players but cant do that and afford to field a full, competitive team with so many average players making a lot more then they would deserve. 

The NBA owners have opened up their books to the Players Association and yet both sides still can't agree on how much money the teams are losing.  Some NBA officials are saying that 22 out of the 30 teams are losing money and that the collective losses are over $300 million.  The deal that just expired had players receiving 57% of basketball related income with each team on a $58 million cap system.

What the owners were asking for in a new deal is that they split the income with the players 50%-50%.  The players came back saying that they would lower their share to 54.3%, which could translate into $100 million per year of additional revenue going to the owners over a 5-year period.  Considering they were saying that the losses were over $300 million its no surprise that this deal was rejected. 

While many people are siding with the owners, its unfortunate that they seemingly put themselves in this position, signing mediocre players to big deals.  The Heat was smart and knew that 2010 summer was coming and planned accordingly.  Some teams were inpatient, made dumb decisions in signing players for way more then they are worth and making the contract length way too long.  Now the NBA is dealing with its first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season, which was shortened to 50 games.

I have some audio cuts for you that I am posting.  They are from NBA commissioner David Stern and the union president of the National Basketball Players Association, Derek Fisher

David Stern- It was a great year but only for the big markets

David Stern- Owners proposal would mean $5M for avg player

David Stern- Owners want to be able to make a profit and all be competative

David Stern- Players last proposal couldn't work for the owners

David Stern- What the lockout means for players

David Stern- When did you realize the deal wasn't going to get done

Derek Fisher- Dissapointed we couldn't get a deal done

Derek Fisher- We tried to tweak proposal to meet owners needs