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Owners leave lockout steps in hands of committee

Jun 29, 2011, 8:11 AM EDT

NBA Labor Basketball AP

So the owners didn’t vote Tuesday to authorize a lockout exactly… but it’s basically the same thing.

Nobody from the NBA owners said much after Tuesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting in Dallas. (The Board of Governors is made up of NBA owners.) But that doesn’t mean there is a lot of room for hope. Here is what NBA Deputy Commissioner and lead negotiator Adam Silver did say, as reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Instead of a binding vote to impose a lockout Friday, Silver said that team owners gave the go-ahead to the league’s Labor Relations Committee to do “whatever that committee believes is necessary in order to ultimately get a successful new collective bargaining agreement for the teams and the players.”

“That committee has the full authority of all 30 teams to act in whatever way they deem appropriate,” Silver said.

You’d be foolish not to think that means a lockout starting at 12:01 am July 1 (Friday). If they want a full vote of the owners, that could be done via email and text message at any time.

After well over a year of meetings the two sides remain hundreds of millions of dollars apart and while they will meet on Thursday in New York there is no real pressure on either side to compromise right now. While there will be a lockout, no lost paychecks for players or lost revenue for owners takes place until games are missed. Until that threat is real (and games would not be cancelled until likely late September or early October) there is not a lot of pressure on the sides to compromise to reach a deal.

So it’s in the hands of the league’s Labor Relations Committee. But we can all guess what that really means.

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