Where Rooting Interests Meet Reality

Darius Soriano —  October 31, 2011

A deal to end the lockout is close. Really, it is. Both sides have negotiated on, and agreed to most of the key elements of the deal that will serve as the structure of a new collective bargaining agreement.

However, as Howard Beck detailed in the above link, the last hurdle is a big one. And as David Aldridge wrote this morning, don’t expect the owners to move any more than they already have to clear that hurdle. The movement will need to come from the player side. And it will either come or the season will be lost. A sample of the sobering script:

In the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league is going to get, at minimum, a 50-50 split of Basketball-Related Income with the players, and a system with severe restrictions on teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold, from not being able to use many (if any) cap exceptions to being limited in their ability to make trades. Or the new CBA will allow teams over the threshold those exceptions, but take 53 percent of BRI to the players’ 47. Those are the choices now, and they will only get worse, because now that a month of the season is officially gone, and $800 million is down the tubes, there’s no reason for the league to stay at 50-50, and it won’t.

The players aren’t going to get 52, or 51, or 50.5, or 50.000001, and if they hold out for those numbers, they’re not going to have a season. You’d have to be crazy not to see that now, so it’s this for the players: take the deal this week or next, or lose the season. If they are willing to die on principle, they wouldn’t be the first. But they will die, in the metaphorical sense.

More from Aldridge:

One very senior team official had said Thursday night that even though the outside world was hopeful, he expected owners to hold at 50-50 and go no further, even though the conventional wisdom would seem to indicate the deal would be a compromise somewhere around 51.25 percent for the players — between the owners’ 50-50 offer and the players’ current 52.5 percent stance.

“That’s not the one that has the votes,” the official said. “I think they’re going to get 50-50. That’s as far as they’ll stretch.”

And that was, indeed, as far as they stretched — and even that came with conditions that the players could not swallow. But they will have to if they want to play this season. The players say it’s unfair that they’ve moved so far, from 57 percent of BRI in the old deal to 54.5 percent, and then 53, and 52.5, that they’ve already agreed to $180 million per year in salary givebacks, $1.8 billion over 10 years if they accept the league’s terms.

But this isn’t about fair. This is about the NBA putting its house back in order — naked, real-world realpolitik. If you understand nothing else about these negotitations, understand this: this isn’t just about money, at least not totally; this is about re-establishing who’s in charge.

Truth be told, I don’t know how to feel about this.

I’ve long been on the side of the players in this ordeal. The owners’ position in these negotiations started with them locking the players out and then seeking out the types of givebacks from players that would be unprecendented in any labor dispute between owners and players. They’ve slowly crept up from those positions in the name of “concessions” but as many have stated more eloquelently than I, the types of moves the owners have made are the equivalent of moving up from initial offers of $5,000 to $10,000 when trying to buy a brand new Bentley and then claiming they’ve doubled their offer as proof of how much they’ve moved off their original stance. I simply can’t ignore that the starting point in the owners’ position was too ludicrous to even take seriously; their tactics in these negotiations reak of bad faith bargaining. All this has led me to wanting the players to get a fair deal in the face of the strong arm nature of the owners demands.

On the other hand, I want basketball back desperately. I’m die-hard fan that watches multiple games a night when I can. I feverishly scan my twitter feed looking for the next #leaguepassalert to find that night’s close game while simultaneously refreshing the comments section of this site to join the coversation. Plus, as I type away right now it’s clear to you, the reader, I run a basketball site! I love to cover the games, write about strategy, discuss what did/can/will happen on any given night, breakdown the results, and do it all again the next night. And the night after. I am a junkie.

Not to mention, I have an allegiance to the Lakers. Last year’s gut wrenching end to the season is fresh on my mind even as we near 6 months since the final whistle blew versus the Mavericks. I want a season to see if they can recover and regain their stature as the team to beat. I want to see Kobe Bryant, entering his 16th professional campaign, play at a high level while he still can. I want to see if Gasol can bounce back, if Bynum can claim a larger role, if Mike Brown can re-energize an aging group….I could go on and on, but you get the point. The storylines are infinite for this team and they matter to me. Not having an NBA season would create a hole in my life that I’m not ready to have.

Said another way, I’m selfish. And this is where I’m having trouble coming to grips with what I really want, where my rooting interests meet reality. Do I want a fair deal for the players more than I want a season? Based off Aldridge’s report, that’s a question fans and players must now be asking themselves because that’s what it’s seemingly come to. I wish it were different. I wish the owners would be happy simply winning by 12 points after the players get some garbage time points to close the gap rather than running out the full court press right until the final buzzer. That’s not the case, though.

Darius Soriano

Posts

36 responses to Where Rooting Interests Meet Reality

  1. If what Aldridge says is true, the owners’ position is so Draconian that I’d want the players to break them no matter what.

    However, if they did miss the season it is likely that the owners would not be the ones to break. The players may become desperate next summer and agree to a worse deal. That’s the worst of all worlds.

    My biggest hope is that Aldridge’s piece represents a last stake “Bad Cop” representation by owners to try to get the best deal they can in the next couple weeks.

  2. BTW: Ziller wrote the article explaining everything I was asking a couple weeks ago: Owners are looking for salary concessions primarily to pass the cost the owners took on to buy the franchises to the players.

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/31/2526393/nba-lockout-2011-players-owners-debt-hook

  3. A few things a lost season would do to the NBA:

    1. Kill all momentum built up from last year.

    2. Steal a year away from some future Hall of Famers who still have some juice left like Kobe, Dirk, KG, Nash and others.

    3. Alienate the fanbase and make them hate NBA players.

    4. Force owners to pay their television partners millions for lost games.

    5. Open the door for a flurry of lawsuits from municipalities across America who have used tax payer funds to finance their arenas and need games played to meet their debt obligations.

    6. Possibly drive fans away from the league for years to come due to the bad blood being exposed between the owners and players.

    7. Permanently ruin what is left of David Stern’s legacy.

    The net effect of all this could be dramatically cutting the pie of revenue the owners and players are arguing over. I just don’t buy the thinking that the owners can eliminate a year of basketball with little to no real financial repercussions on the league as a whole. There are too many people struggling financially. It would be a public relations catastrophe for the league to cancel a season in the face of this. Plus, there are too many other entertainment options. When pressed people can and will find other things to spend their time and money on. A lost season would be devesating to the NBA business model as a whole, not just the players. The owners are not as empowered in their position as those articles imply they are.

  4. Darius… You said exactly what most of us are thinking.

  5. @3

    1-6 is like a nightmare scenario…

    7 I actually like :)

  6. If we expect the players to meet the owner’s demands, we’re approaching the “Cul de sac” lockout. The more we gripe for the lost season, the more they’re motivated to drag this on. If we let them suffer without any income in ’11-2012, perhaps both camps will learn their lessons through loss of income. Sometimes pain accelerates the rude awakening that after all the grandstanding and partying, they’re not really that indispensable to basketball fans in general.

  7. Darius,
    While most bloggers would agree with you, I think your comments about your position – as a junkie – are the reason management and labor shouldn’t be reading these blogs.

    This is not about being a junkie. Junkies die and the rest of the world continues on without them.

    If the owners get all they want – it looks increasingly like this will happen – then the only thing that will happen is that the other basketball leagues around the world will be more competitive in pealing players off from the NBA. This is the long term viewpoint, from the players perspective, that the owners will have to deal with in the future. It will probably affect franchise valuations far more than will any other point.

    Remember, our TV watching encompasses the entire world – see the soccer channels available in the U.S.

    I believe this will be the final reckoning for the ‘greedy owners’. Of course the junkie fans will see their favorite franchises lose value – yup you Laker fans, it is coming. Why??? Because the future Kobe Bryant’s will not automatically sign with the NBA.

    This may take the same 10 years as this deal will be signed for, but it will come and it won’t be pretty for current owners or fans.

  8. I see the logic of having built precedence from previous CBAs. I think it goes too far to say the players are giving anything up by going to 50, or that the owners are giving up by coming up from 47. The previous CBA is over with. There is no rule that says you need to start from the previous agreement. If the system works for all those involved then you use the previous CBA to build on the next one. The owners either think it doesn’t work, or have calculated their position is thus that they can get a bigger piece then previous agreements allowed.

    I don’t enjoy the realities of power politics but I’ve seen it from all sides. The players love your city and it’s fans until another franchise gives him an extra year and/or a few million more. Owners love the city until they need to run off to OKC or Anaheim because the citizens won’t build them a new arean. The fans love the team until a few too many seasons of losing are strung together. Politicians promise to clean up the collective mess until they get elected and the mess claims them too. Companies believe in free market, until they can get the citizens to subsidize their enterprise. Citizens love their good roads until taxes need to be raised for upkeep. We all are held up to one standard, get what you can while you can and the owners are the ones currently in a position to bend the players over to their will. I bet that it’ll work out just fine for them as we are all fiending for NBA action and anybody who is going to read this is already a sucker. The owners know it, the players know it and they have both been playing us as suckers for years. The thing is, the game has some d!$& sucking lips and they know how to curl our toes with them. We’ll be back.

  9. “In the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league is going to get, at minimum, a 50-50 split of Basketball-Related Income with the players, and a system with severe restrictions on teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold, from not being able to use many (if any) cap exceptions to being limited in their ability to make trades. Or the new CBA will allow teams over the threshold those exceptions, but take 53 percent of BRI to the players’ 47.”

    If the above is true, then the owners need to go to hell, and I don’t blame Hunter for walking out of the negotiations. Continuing to try to negotiate after you get offers like the one above isn’t being reasonable, it stinks of desperation and weakness. Players get 50-50, which amounts to a 12% drop from their current salaries, and get reduced job security and a horrible system that benefits the owners in every way, or they get 47-53 of BRI and get a system that is still more favorable to the owners than the previous one? All this after the NBA has enjoyed steady, some might say remarkable growth over the past decade despite one of the worst recessions in recent memory and they had record revenues last year with a strong expectation of even better revenues in the future with the cable tv contracts being renegotiated and the owners somehow managing to lose money under a CBA that they largely established after they kicked the players’ asses in the last CBA negotiations? Ridiculous.

    The players are incredibly well compensated, and will continue to be so whatever the next CBA looks like, but this stinks of unfairness and the owners making a huge money grab for annual profits as well as obscene profits from team valuations. The only way I would at all okay with a deal like the owners are proposing is if they had a cap on their own annual profits with the excess amount going to the communities and cities that the team plays in. Since that has no chance of happening, I would like the hardline owners to go to hell, and I will only be watching Laker games from now on. No more will I watch other teams, nor will I spend a dime on either tickets or merchandise in the future. FU NBA.

  10. P.Ami,
    As to starting over w/the CBA,that’s not what the owners have done. They’ve simply tried to tweak the existing one as much in their favor as possible.

    In fact,looking at what’s been reported as agreed upon,the Owners are incredibly keeping the worst part of the old CBA in the MLE.
    Just using last yr’s numbers and assuming a 50/50 split the owners are committing to an average team salary of @ $63mil+. That would be about where the Lux Tax threshold would be,assuming the Cap and Lux Tax thresholds are lowered equivalent to Player salary percentage going down. There are 9 teams w/on the book salaries in excess of that,some $80mil in excess on just over 100 players. If we give the 25 players needed to fill out rosters some $2mil each(again doubtful if teams in Tax can’t use MLE),and we assume NO Buy-outs,that’s about $130mil over the Lux Tax threshold(now we know where the enhanced Revenue Sharing is going to come from!).
    If a record setting yr didn’t increase the Cap(hee-hee!)from last yr,the Players under a 50/50 split would get $1.9Billion. The 9 teams over the threshold leaves over $1.2Billion to be spent by the other 21 teams. They will have to average $57mil,while a Salary Cap reflecting the Players lowered share should come in at @$52mil or so. We know there will be teams coming in below $50mil in payroll as they rebuild,so the Owners are looking at writing huge checks to the Players at the end of the yr…unless a lot of teams use the MLE. Or the Owners will have to raise the Salary Cap and shorten and/or shorten the spread between Cap and Tax threshold.
    If the Owners had been smart they should have eliminated the gap between Cap and Tax threshold and simply set the Cap at $63-64mil and anything over was Lux Taxed.

    As an example of the Owners not thinking outside the box,why did they agree to an enhanced Amnesty? It does nothing for poor teams(think a Sac could afford to NOT pay somebody to play for them) or teams that don’t have big,bad contracts.(My Rockets logical choice would be to Amnesty Thabeet,who is in last yr anyway,and unless they think they can sign NeNe,Gasol,Jordan,does nothing for them.)
    A much better idea would have teams able each yr to declare one player’s contract Cap-free.
    If he’s traded,the exception in not tradable,and the incoming salaries do count towards Cap,Lux Tax.

    And even more basic,why did the Owners agree to a set % for the Players? If they truly wanted to start fresh,why not fight for a team having to have a min of $35mil in salaries and a Hard Cap of $70mil?(Teams get $5mil+ from League Marketing and $30mil from National Media deals,use those two as floor and twice that as Cap.) Have a rookie scale and that’s it for League mandated contract terms. Give as much as you want for as long as you want.The stars would get theirs and the rest would have either gotten smaller deals or idiot deals that teams would learn not to give.

  11. Write in haste,regret forever:)

    Think Sac can afford to pay somebody to NOT play for them?
    Among other oops.

  12. #3: As much as I root for the players, I don’t think the owners have grossly underestimated the potential impact of a lost season.

    Remember that the ’98-99 lockout occurred after Michael Jordan won his last championship and “retired.” Many of NBA fans were Jordan fans, not true basketball fans. Those fans would have probably lost interest over time anyways even without the lockout.

    Do you really think fans will “hate” the league? I highly doubt it. Maybe the owners, but what do they care? It’s not a popularity contest or election. NBA fans will continue to support their team when play resumes.

    The wave of lawsuits is extremely remote. In today’s economy, why would any public official take hostile action against a team that they hope to keep in the stadium long-term? This is also another reason why it doesn’t make economic sense for taxpayers to support stadiums.

    David Stern might be concerned about his legacy but frankly, he’s an employee (albeit an important one). He has no real role in deciding the outcome.

    Regardless of which side is “right,” the owners have the negotiating upper hand. The lockout won’t end anytime soon as long as they refuse to budge on the BRI%.

  13. I don’t know, this is a tough one. I’ll support the players, whatever they decide to do. That’s my allegiance. I don’t switch on TV to watch an owner sitting in a box. I understand that owners and the league provide the setting, the organizations and a myriad of other things. I get it. But, when I go to a movie I’m more interested in the actors and script and director than the studio. When I read a book it’s for the writer, not the publisher. Athletes make the sport and I’m pretty comfortable with the notion that the owners (as a whole) are causing an unnecessary crisis. So, if the players decide to cave, I will understand why – they’ve been put in an untenable position. But, if they continue to fight this thing, then I’m with them – no matter how long it takes. And if some of them try and start their own league, I’ll fully support it, even though the resulting game would be much different.

    Basketball has a history. We wouldn’t dream about trading those early, formative years for a modern product, would we? We seem to constantly view and compare today’s superstars through a historical perspective. Who’s the GOAT, etc.. And, much of basketball history came from 3 networks, no internet, no twitter. Players developed their union, fought for benefits, for pay consistent with what they were bringing to the table and it took a long time. Now, the owners are looking to undo a lot of that progress, real fast. And, you can bet the farm they’re wrapping the concessions up in language that’ll be tough to overcome in the future. Ultimately, I’m just not real comfortable with the idea that my jones for basketball trumps the players’ battle.

  14. #13. Well said Dave. And, ultimately, I’m inclined to agree with you.

  15. Rusty Shackleford October 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Darius –

    In the last paragraph you state that you’re a greedy fan and just want a deal to be made in order to get the season started. I’m not trying to start up debate but – how often do you think the word ‘fan’ actually is spoken during these negotiation talks?

    I feel that one area that is being overlooked during all of the side-picking (players vs. owners) in this lockout is the management the ownership employs. Qualified management, admin and staff costs money and while we speak of teams spending poortly on players and that it’s not the players should not pay for it – just as elite NBA superstars are not easy to come by; are elite NBA middle managers?

    How would the MLB do if the amount of money owners spent on players impacted how much they could spend on scouts?

    I won’t be surprised when I see propaganda blasting the other side in thsi dispute come out using the fans as a hallow excuse.

  16. Let’s try this again, as pithy as ever…the League markets and sells a luxury item that is fundamentally non-value added. We pay for it and consume it, and its “value” expires immediately thereafter. Consumers of the product have been numbed to the real significance of the numbers (what’s a few billion here or a couple hundred million over there?), but what this vast entertainment complex represents is a vast misallocation of wealth that we – Western Society – can no longer afford. Another way of putting it: if 100% of BRI went into financing a meaningful scientific research program, what kind of discoveries could be made and then exploited? By putting vast amounts of wealth into non-productive hands, we weaken ourselves for the challenges yet to come…

  17. 13,

    As long as both parties have residuals or retained earnings, they will continue fighting for their own turf whether it’s 53, 50 or 47. When the well has dried up, would you agree that they will even be amenable to 40. That’s the psychology of greed.

    With modesty aside, I had the opportunity to visit Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. There, I saw the pavilion belonging solely to the founder, Dr. James Naismith, a PE teacher. He thought of an indoor sport to keep his students busy during winter of 1890′s. I wonder whether he had glimpse of what would happen to his inventions. That man will innovate further his invention, not because of their quest for artistry and perfection but for accumulation of more wealth. Why don’t we go back to its original purpose, an indoor sport for this coming winter? Is it really asking too much to go back to Naismith formula – earn a little (which is already more than 10 million) and sweat a lot during the cold months? I pause also a question of a new born who came recently to this world – why do players need to be owned?

  18. The players’ only chance of winning these negotiations was in willing to risk it all.

    By that I mean that they should have aggressively pursued overseas options. At first it would decrease the value of the NBA by creating interest in various international leagues, but once the audience is force fed NBA level talent, their return would have strengthened the league’s marketing value.

    Also it would have given owners real worries – decrease in their franchise value, marketing deals, etc. That would have given them the bargaining power they needed, but the players are rightfully too afraid to risk their bodies in new environments so I guess that was never going to happen.

    It’s sad that the world in general is spiraling towards a rich get richer world at such an alarming rate. Even the obscenely rich players are getting robbed by even richer owners, and not many people seemed to be worried about that happening in their own workplace.

    Oh well. At least we’ll get our opium back.

  19. @Knickers 18
    Kobe loved B-Shaw…Where do you get this stuff? Shaw wasn’t named the head coach because Jerry/Jim Buss didn’t like the triangle. They both were chomping at the bit to remove all vestiges of the Phil Jackson era.

    Can anyone, without looking it up, name 10 NBA owners? How many players can you name? The players make this league what it is. I love the Lakers with a passion, but I never would have began this love affair without Magic Johnson, Kareem, Big game James, and Cooper.

    Do the owners have a right to earn money? Sure! Run your team the right way and you can. Jerry Buss bought the Lakers for 67 million and they are worth 700 million right now. (Which I think is a low estimate.) That seems like a pretty good return on his investment.

    After everything that I have read, I want the players to cancel the season and go play in Europe and China. I don’t want to lose out on Kobe’s last couple of years or the chance to see the Heattles lose one more in the finals, but I am sick and tired of seeing big business beat out labor. I don’t care if that labor is making more money than I will ever see in my lifetime! That’s not the point. The point is that the players did not start this lockout- the owners did. Now the owners want to crush the players as much as possible. They want to break them. #@#$ that. I’ll watch Euro-ball if NBA players are there!

  20. Darius,

    Just as reality was slowly making it’s way into your basketball junkaholic consciousness, the Aldridge virus derailed your recovery. dave m (13) may already have stopped that virus, and the Andrew Sharp rehab may get you back on track:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/31/2524266/nba-lockout-news-update-david-stern

    “The NBA lockout continues for another week, and with a prospects for a deal looking dire as ever, the pessimists are playing right into David Stern’s hands, imploring players to take a deal. But here’s why the players should stay strong.”

  21. What is the median career length for an NBA player?

    This is from 2007-8:
    “The first thing that is striking about the table is that almost half (46.6%) of NBA players are rookies or have 1, 2, or 3 years of NBA experience. Are you convinced that you will have a long, productive NBA career? This is very unlikely because only 44 players (10.0%) on 2007-08 NBA opening-day rosters have more than 10 years of NBA experience, and only 3 have 15 or more years of NBA experience!”

    Assuming that those stats are typical, that means that almost half the players have an NBA career of 3 years or less.
    From a practical standpoint, they can’t affort to lose this season; they will never make it up. And they have the same vote as the stars. Then throw in the unfortunately way-too-high percentage of players who completely mismanage their money – they are very close to living paycheck-to-paycheck. They can’t afford to lose the season, either.

    I don’t see the players (whether you think they are more or less to blame than the owners) letting the entire season go away.

  22. I definitely feel that I am in the minority on this one. Perhaps because I come from a different background.

    50/50 is fair, its what it should be. It is what is required to strike a deal and the players are losing money by the minute. So are the owners, business partners, everyone down to the last casual fan who couldn’t care less.

    Let me explain a certain perspective that the “underdogs” (players) have overplayed all this time – the CBA doesn’t have to be 7 years long, or 6 or 8 or 10. So while D-Fish rants about a billions worth of “concession” he is actually speaking out of reference from the last CBA. The owners, speak for what makes the league A GOING CONCERN (accounting term referring to the intent to survive and go on) which was 47%… and have inched closer to the players’ beck which is now on 52.5 it seems.

    Money is to be made or lost. Right now we’re on the losing end. Players often overplay the role of “the world owes us coz we are the stars and not Peter Holt or Glenn Taylor or Mickey Arison and certainly not Cuban or Buss” … but seriously, a business has to go on first before employment can follow.

    I have a corporate mindset, even though I own and manage my own business and its a single-proprietorship structure and nowhere close to a corporation. But the reason its become a bloody issue (52 to 50) is because it tackles on the principles of owner/player, white/black, employer/employee … and not really about the basic needs of a league.

    So I say cut the BS, take 50 and lets play some ball!

  23. 23- It’s not really 50-50 though. The owners get something in the neighborhood of $300 to 400 million off the top. The BRI split takes place after that payment is made to the owners. There is nothing equal about the whole “50-50″ line being thrown out there.

  24. Warren,

    Did you read the article that drrayeye posted just prior to you? If the 76′ers lost 1.2 million dollars a year for 10 years and then the owner sells the team for 150 million more than he bought it for- How much money did the owner lose? The players see NONE of that money when a team is sold. Zero. The only BS I see is that the owners are trying to crush the players instead of playing a season. Btw- a 50/50 split really isn’t a 50/50 split for the players because (And someone correct me if I am wrong.) the owners take operating costs out before they split the BRI.

    If the players fold, then I will be happy to watch basketball once again, but a little part of me will be angry that labor got crushed by business again. If they decide to stand up for themselves and lose the season….I’ll stand with them. I would love to see the owners faces if the players were all in Euro-leagues and China playing ball for a year!

  25. Warren,
    On this one you are missing the boat.

    1) 50/50 is not 50/50 – the owners take out cash before the calculation is made. This point is conveniently forgotten by the owners and the press when bringing up this demand.

    2) The owners started from an absolutely ridiculous place and now claim to have made concessions.

    3) The owners went into this negotiation with the stated intention of bringing the player’s union to its knees.

    Most of us now feel it will happen. However, I – and apparently I am not the only one – actually hope the players hold on and we actually lose this season. I also hope the stars – and as many others as can – sign overseas and the NBA is left with the fact that if they play this year they will be a second tier league to overseas basketball.

    Why do I hope this?
    1) The owners either have proven they are incapable of running the NBA as a profitable league or they are flat out lying about their profits.

    2) I am not a union man, but I also don’t believe in union busting.

    3) Look at the communities who have helped build stadiums with public money under the threat of the club leaving if they didn’t. These are the same people who want a captive group of employees and claim their right to a profit – the players and the public be dam*ed.

    Our country was built on both individual accomplishment and a social compact. These owners remind me of our Wall Street leaders who took it all for themselves and then asked, “What went wrong? I was just doing my job.”

  26. 23,
    The nba is not a normal business where the owner comes up with an idea or product and sells it. In the NBA, the players are the product. In the NBA the players are the typical owner of other businesses. They invent the product… They are the product.

  27. It is worth it to repeat the link drrayeye listed at #21

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/31/2524266/nba-lockout-news-update-david-stern

    This is an outstanding article outlining the financial side of the argument for the players.

  28. 28)
    Great article

  29. Edwin – visiting the Hall of Fame must have been an awesome experience. I used to live in MA but never made it to the HOF. Someday.

    General (and hypothetical) question to all. If the players were to decertify, what would be the owners’ commitment to the league? Are they bound in perpetuity, what are their outs? Does the league have any rights to teams’ names, etc.?

  30. The employer/employee model works great for business owners who have invented or patented a product that is sold. Dan Gilbert, M. Cuban, nor Jerry Buss invented basketball, therefore the employees are not selling something that was created by their boss. They are selling their individual talent which 99% of human beings cannot do on a court or even in their dreams. You cant quote apple prices based on what the price of an orange is.

    The entertainment industry is a business model in its own entity that should be compared to a select few in its field. I am glad the players have decided to take a stand with power tripping deep pocket owners who only want to belittle the ones that are actually suppling and responsible for the profits.

  31. Next time a great player decides to leave your team, after telling you how much he loves the city and the fans, how much the fans deserve that championship the player earned, the next time he smiles at you while raking in millions pushing suger water and Big Macs to your kids, the next time one of them sits out for a bigger contract… F#$* the players, and the owners, and all the rest of the BS. Get back on my TV and do that thing you’ll be one of the best at for the next couple of years, until your body breaks down and I could care less about you again.

  32. Craig, + 100000

    I really wish the players showed the owners who ‘owns’ the league.

  33. #33 – I don’t know if that was supposed to make me laugh… but it did, totally. “pushing sugar water and Big Macs”. Awesome.

    #22 – so there’s a large voting bloc made up of a rolling 3-year class of kids that probably won’t last in the league. Except this year’s rookie class doesn’t get to vote because they never had the chance to sign their contracts… swinging a larger percentage of votes to guys like Theo and Joe Smith who’ll probably never play again. Kinda murky.

  34. The owners taking the hardest line are the ones who made the worst deals to buy their clubs including price and loan terms. Their cities might also be doing badly because of the recession, lowering all forms of revenue,a double wamy. They now want the players to take the major $ hits for their own poor choices combined with a poor economy,instead of sharing the pain.

  35. From the initial action of locking out the players, the owners sent a clear message that they were going to force the players into submission. What I did not get then, and I am still not getting now, is why is the tail wagging the dog?

    Over the years, the players have increasing shown that they were gaining in the understanding of what they bring to the table. The decisions of Wade, James, and Bosh last summer I guess exhibited too much player power.

    With the present impasse, where the owners feel they are in the driver’s seat, the players should seriously consider eliminating the middle men and take their product directly to the fans. This would give the players the 52% they now seek, plus the middle men’s share which would put them well above the 57% they had before, and set the conditions for lowers ticket prices to the fans.