Lockout Reading: Seeking A Compromise

Darius Soriano —  September 19, 2011

Like any of you that visit this site to read up on the Lakers and the NBA in general, I’m tired of the lockout. Tired of the back and forth from both sides, from the divisive rhetoric, from the threat that games will be missed. Every additional day that passess without a resolution leads me to feeling more and more like a that balloon you got for your birthday that’s sitting in the corner of your bedroom – slowly sinking lower and lower.

However, as I’m losing steam, others are coming up with even smarter ideas on how to get a deal done. One such person is Tim Donahue of the Pacers blog 8 Points, 9 Seconds. Today, he’s put forth a great read on how to resolve resolve the NBA lockout via a template for a CBA agreement. The key to it all is that he’s finding a middle ground on the so called “blood issue” of a hard salary cap. As he explains:

The system will include both a soft cap – more accurately described as a “threshold” – and a hard cap. Structurally, it is similar to the “flex” cap system previously proposed by the owners, but it is not the same. The mechanics would be:

  • The “soft cap” or “threshold” would be set by reducing BRI by $100 million to cover benefits, then taking 47% of the remainder and dividing by 30 (or total number of teams). Teams may spend above the threshold using an exception system that will be largely the same as the previous system – with changes to be outlined below.
  • A hard cap – which no team will be allowed to exceed at any point during the season – will be established by reducing the BRI by $100 million, then taking 65% of the remainder and dividing by 30 (or total number of teams).
  • A salary “floor” will be established at 75% of the soft cap. Any team who fails to meet or exceed this baseline in payroll will be ineligible for participation in the supplemental revenue sharing program.*  (* This is assumed to be the new program, which is expected deal with currently unshared revenue streams. The team will still receive their share of the national revenues – including television – as they do now.)
  • The luxury tax will be abolished. It will be unnecessary with the hard cap, and it’s revenue sharing function will be replaced in any new revenue sharing program the league implements.

You should read the entire piece for background on why he chose the thresholds he did and for great charts that map out what the system would look like over the course of the agreement. It’s truly a well thought out solution that calls for both sides to compromise some of their core beliefs for the greater good of the league.

And really, that’s what all sides should be seeking here. After last Thursday’s ownership meetings, it was reported that optimism turned to frustration after a couple of the more hawkish owners made pleas to continue with their hardline bargaining. For me, at least, reports like this are most frustrating because they can be viewed as obstacles to progress and in opposition to compromise. And as we get closer to when training camps should be starting, the time to get a deal done dissapates away.

Darius Soriano

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