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Is there any chance a lockout can be avoided? No, not really.

Jun 29, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA Getty Images

NBA commissioner and seemingly all-powerful deity David Stern said Tuesday after the owners meeting that there was still time to avoid an NBA lockout starting Friday.

NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter said that if real progress was made during a last-ditch meeting between the owners and players Thursday, the owners might well postpone the start of a lockout.

So there is hope, right? There is a chance that the league’s leaders will back away from the precipice and a lockout can be avoided, isn’t there?


Not really. Technically it could happen, sure. Technically Minka Kelly could be such a huge fan of ProBasketballTalk that she calls me up and asks for a date. The odds are about the same.

If you think that after two full years of negotiations, one side is going to walk into the room Thursday afternoon and totally cave to the other side’s demands, then sure. In that case, a lockout can be avoided.

The two sides are hundreds of millions of dollars apart on reaching a deal. The players come in liking the system as it is right now, basically, and offering some givebacks in terms of salary. The owners — driven by hardliners that are newer and smaller market owners, many leveraged in their purchases — want a radical change in the NBA financial system. They are pushing for a hard salary cap (they proposed a “flex cap” at $62 million, but it is a kind way of phrasing a hard cap compared to the current system). Those owners also want shorter contracts and a way to get out of bad longer deals via buyouts. (Sure, they could not offer the bad contracts in the first place, but remember the CBA is always in part the owners trying to protect themselves from themselves).

The big issue will be the split of “basketball-related income” — which is money from tickets, television deals, arena concessions, luxury boxes, basically everything hoops related. Currently, the players get 57 percent of the gross. They have offered to drop that to 54.3 percent (with different percentages as the league grows its business). The owners want to calculate it differently — they want their expenses taken out. Their argument is if revenue and expenses both increase, the players get more money without having the risk of the expenditures. They want a more equal split of the net revenue (which would drop the players below 50 percent of the gross).

Right now there is no real reason for either side to compromise. The players have not lost any paychecks, the owners have not lost any revenue from games missed. Until that is threatened, we probably will not see any real movement toward a deal. (That is what has happened with the NFL — until camps and games were threatened, there didn’t seem to be much movement. Now with those pressures, there is progress and it appears a resolution is approaching.)

NBA fans, the lockout is coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Sorry. The optimistic among us just hope it will not cost the league games.

  1. ac0117 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Worst possible timing for an NBA lockout

  2. nfl25 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    can i get someone on here to give a good argument of why an nba fan wants guaranteed contracts?

    the reason i am againts this is because it can ruin a team for a few years. if you sign kobe, lebron etc, of course you are fine. its the other guys who may decide they arent all that interested in the game anymore, or just dont care and teams are stuck with them. what job do you get where they cant get rid of you for underperforming?

    you shouldnt idolize these guys so much that you want them to get paid no matter what. i dont care of they give players 500 mill a year, as long as they can cut them for not perfroming. the NFL is the best sport in america for a reason. i also think they should force every team to spend at least 90% of the cap, a team shouldnt be allowed to just not spend $ cuz they are cheap

    • passerby23 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      I get what you’re saying and I’m kind of with you, but I don’t mind guaranteed contracts as long as they’re fixed at 3 years max. If a guy loses interest, is repeatedly injured, is a bust, etc. the team isn’t anchored for any longer than a few years. That gives the players some protection, but also an incentive to perform. After that, I like the option to cut a player like the NFL has and I always like the option to buyout at any time.

      As for teams being forced to spend 90% of the cap, I don’t really see this. The market may not always be amenable to picking up good players. If all you can buy is an Eddy Curry, should a team be forced to spend a lot of money on him? It only cripples the team further. If there are good players available and they choose not to spend, then owners are only hurting the team’s success, revenue generation, and their fan base. Owners want to spend if it makes sense. It doesn’t make sense for the Toronto Raptors to offer millions of dollars to mediocre players just because they can.

      • goforthanddie - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:32 PM

        “As for teams being forced to spend 90% of the cap, I don’t really see this.”

        There will always be players chasing that top-dollar contract. If they come up with a system that allows management to pick its teams (as opposed to players forcing their way to where they want to go), top-notch players will have to choose between big money and maybe winning w/ a smaller paycheck. Trust me, money will win more often than not.

    • fouldwimmerlaik - Jun 29, 2011 at 5:20 PM

      I am with you on that one. Personally, I want a lockout. You SHOULD be able to cut over-paid, high salary players who just won’t/can’t live up to the pay. But, then again, it is the owners fault for signing these guys to these contracts. In reality, the CBA is a way for the owners to protect themselves from themselves….or at least protect themselves from the owners who will pay any ridiculous thing thing a player asks for.

      I don’t know if I agree with the forcing a team to spend 90% of the cap. Why should a small market team be forced to spend themselves into bankruptcy. I understand your point that a team shouldn’t just pay minimums to a whole roster and then pocket all of the profit, but a team that does that is likely to loss both money and value. I just don’t believe it is a good idea, however, to tell a team it MUST spend more money than it makes.

      Anyways, for these and many other reasons, I say: LOCKOUT! LOCKOUT!! LOCKOUT!!!

      • nfl25 - Jun 29, 2011 at 5:36 PM

        i see what ur saying on the spening 90% of the cap, if the owners would do rev sharing that would be the best for the game, i doubt they will though

      • fouldwimmerlaik - Jun 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        If they want the small market teams to survive, they really need to do some sort of revenue sharing. If not, the large markets have such a huge advantage that you will just see the large market teams succeeding and the small market teams moving, drying up, moving again, drying up, moving again, etc.

        It has already begun in some ways. I can’t keep track of the NBA team movements sometimes. Charlotte, New Orleans, Seattle, where are they now, who are they now? It is like a shell game trying to keep your eye on them.

        The best thing in the long run for the NBA: LOCKOUT. Let the players get a taste of not being able to pay their entourages. Let them see what it is like when they kill the golden goose. One thing players have never realized….they are replaceable.

        There is no player, who if they quit today, would bring the NBA to its knees. If you took the entire crop of players today and replaced them, within two years, there would be new “superstars. There would be new super-egos. There would be new holdouts. And fans would cheer for them. Today’s players would not be missed.

        That goes for any sport. I have very little sympathy for a player, who risks nothing if his team loses money, says that $10 million a year isn’t enough money to support his family.

        It is obviously more complicated than just that as there is a huge pay disparity between the top players and the bottom players and these strikes (both NBA and NFL) are mostly about enriching the top players.

        So, if you can’t make it on 10 million a year, let’s see how you make it on $0 per year.


      • icu84bs - Jun 29, 2011 at 9:47 PM

        Why are you here? No true NBA fan wants a lockout, we want basketball games. Sheesh.

      • fouldwimmerlaik - Jun 30, 2011 at 10:17 AM

        I’m sorry, icu84bs. How stupid of me not to know that YOU are the gatekeeper of what all “true NBA fans” should think. I am sure everyone on this board will check with you from now on to see what they should think before they post their comment here. Because, according to you, all true NBA fans should think the exact same thing.

        Could you please post your email address so we can all check in with you in case we happen to get into a discussion somewhere else and we need to know what it is you expect us all to think?

        Gosh, thank you so much for your generosity and wisdom. Without you, we would all be lost!!!!!

  3. palakerfan - Jun 29, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    That would mean no more trades involving a star being traded for “the expiring contract of…”. Blasphemy!!!

    • nfl25 - Jun 29, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      haha. the trades that are made in the nba are sad. if ur an nfl fan and you start following basketball, its like ur in hell. in the nfl you can cut bad players with huge contracts, sometimes u dont want to becasue u handed them big upfront money, but at least u have the opportunity to do it. that way you can try to fix a bad roster and go from bad to good quickly. nba u get stuck for years in a bad situation. the ony way to fix that is getting rid of guaranteed contracts. move the salary cap to 10trillion for all i care, just NO guaranteed contracts

  4. cserisey - Jun 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    What’s to stop the players from pulling the “de-certify” crap and going down the same road as the NFL?

    • nfl25 - Jun 29, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      im sure they will do something like that. i feel like they kind of have to do something to gain some leverage or the owners will just destroy them. i think the players need to give in to some changes but i think they will get murdered if they dont gave a little leverage aginst the owners. that way they both negotiate in good faith

    • almzor - Jun 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      There’s nothing stopping them explicitly from doing it. Logistics is another matter.

      What player in the NBA has the standing of a Brady or Manning? They can sue the NFL and pull it off without making people hate them. What happens if LeBron tries to do that? He would be ripped to shreds (yet again) in the media. Other than him, who do you have with the name recognition to do it, Howard? Kobe? Durant? Rose? Dirk? I can’t see some of them (Dirk, Rose, possibly Durant) doing it, and the others couldn’t pull it off.

      The decertification process also ignores the elephant in the room when you compare the NBA and NFL lockouts: profitability. The NFL brings in a huge profit, most of the NBA teams are losing money. So while the NFL lockout may come down to greed, the NBA lockout actually has fundamental sustainability issues that it needs to address.

  5. nfl25 - Jun 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    i agree w u that teams shouldnt be forced to spend if there is nothing out there. i am not an expert on this, i was just following what they are gonna do in the nfl. by doing that the players know teams will spend $$. it also makes teams that are cheap spend $$. but i do agree that teams shouldnt b forced to spend if there is nothing to spend on.

  6. grinder12000 - Jun 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Seriously – who cares, is there anything we can do? This is non-news.

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