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Monday’s probably it for the 2011-2012 NBA season

Nov 12, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

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This isn’t scare-journalism. I’m not being sensationalist, over-dramatic, or jumping to conclusions. I have ducked and dodged this scenario for as long as possible, believing there was always another chance, always another bargaining session, always another scenario that could happen to avoid it. But I can’t get around it any longer. They’ve broken me, and I’ve come to the conclusion based on everything in the past two days that it is inescapable.

The 2011-2012 NBA season is really, actually going to be cancelled. You may be saying “I knew this for months!” or something similarly cynical, but no one knew. They were talking. Not as early as they should have, but they were talking. No one knew how it would end. But here we are. We’re not going to have a season.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute, for all of us, before I continue.

The players’ union is set to pursue decertification after rejecting the league’s latest offer. I’m not going to rehash the issues or break down the MLE. I’m not going to point out how the players are just seeing what’s directly in front of them instead of the whole board and how, regardless of their consideration of threat, the offer must get worse from here on out to recoup the owners’ losses. I’m not going to rail on the owners for their continued program of bullying, intransigence, obtuseness and outright disdain for the lives, jobs, and joy of millions of people.

Let’s instead start here:

What I know for sure: David Stern didnt arbitrarily arrive at 72-game offer. To have a season, Im told, Stern insists on at least 70 games. League VERY unhappy w/50-game sked in ’99. Sources say Stern has conveyed to union deal must come soon so 2011-12 game count can start w/a 70-game season.

via Twitter / @ESPNSteinLine: What I know for sure: Davi ….

You may be one that responds with “Of course the league is leaking such thing to the media! He wants to put pressure on them to take the deal!” And that’s fine. That’s what this has come to. It’s down to whether you believe the league is bluffing or not. The players either think Stern’s bluffing, or don’t care. But to step back and look at it, it’s hard to believe the league has come this far down the path of playing “chicken” with any intention of swerving. This whole thing has been lead by forces which are irrational. They’re squabbling over a sign-and-trade for tax teams which has been used three times in ten years, for crying out loud. They’re arguing over table scraps, after they’ve taken half of the players’ food to begin with.

And for the players, there’s no one to say “step back and see the whole board.” The union’s entire plan has been predicated on living day-to-day, moment-to-moment, game-to-game. They’re taking it one game at a time, and it’s killing them.

“How about this deal?”

“No, we don’t like that. Rejected.”

“How about his deal?”

“No, we don’t like that. Rejected.”

“OK, this is our last offer before things get monumentally worse for everyone because we can’t control the forces on our side.”

“No, we don’t like that. Rejected.”

There’s no sense of what comes after they reject this, because the players are reacting emotionally to what’s right in front of their faces. The people who usually are looking out for them long-term? Those are the agents, who are looking at this long term, they’re just looking at it long-term for all players and all agents, ever, not for this group. Based on an infinite time-table, nuking the entire thing and risking everything on a decertification and lawsuit ploy that according to experts has a snowball’s chance in hell of working, and even less of a chance of being sustainable through the appeals process for the players who won’t have the funds to fight this thing to the need, that ploy is still preferable to the agents that swallowing this deal. Fighting is better than not-fighting and coming back in seven years. For the players, they don’t see that. They just see a group of owners who don’t care about their injuries, their wives and kids, their livelihoods, their game, and have bullied, pushed, prodded, and insulted them for two years. They’re reacting emotionally.

“You want a fight? Fine. Let’s fight.”

No one’s thinking rationally, no one’s thinking clear-headed, no one’s thinking big picture. It’s the Cold War, only without the economic and geographic realities to keep the two sides separated. The owners think the players will buckle, the players think the owners are bluffing. Each side’s going to die in this, everyone’s going to lose.

Except hockey. Hockey should make out pretty well.

In July I thought it would be settled by early November. In October I thought maybe Christmas. Now I can’t see it. The optimists are out of hope. Hope is stupid. The only thing being driven here is power and money and ego, and there’s nothing to derail the train. The only way to prove to the other side that they’re not afraid to kill the season is for both sides to kill the season.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe cooler heads will prevail at the players’ meeting Monday. Maybe the threat of decert will magically scare an organization almost entirely lead by lawyers into continuing negotiations on their offer. Maybe … maybe… maybe…

I’m out of maybes. The league’s out of maybes. The players are out of maybes. All that’s left is the press of a button, a mushroom cloud, and a nuclear winter for professional basketball. I’m not even angry anymore. I’m out of energy to be livid at the owners, frustrated with the players, disappointed in leadership. I’m just sorry for every parking lot attendant, concession worker, six-year old fan who would have seen his or her first game, every lifelong fan with season tickets, every writer looking forward to doing what they do best, every player whose career gets irreparably damaged, every community who gets a chunk of their economy removed, every blog writer and every fan, everywhere.

It all ends Monday.


  1. berto55 - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Hip Hip…..

  2. nelle - Nov 12, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Except the bigger picture is of billionaires trying to add to their pile by colluding to set rules for employees whilst giving themselves free passage on unlimited profit. They refuse to collude to share revenue amongst themselves, instead preferring to cut the players slice so the owners have more.

    Given this, do people content themselves with whatever owners decide to throw their way? What then stops this from happening again, next deal, when owners decide they want 67% and give players 33%. Players have given, owners refuse to consider it enough. They want to crush the union and dictate terms. It shouldn’t work this way, since players are not free to seek other employ.

    All this means if the season goes, it goes, but I stand with the players, because in the end, they are the canary in the coal mine of all employees. If they fall, no hope for the rest of us in this economy.

  3. therealhtj - Nov 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Wow Kurt, I suppose I couldn’t have said it better myself, but then again, I don’t get paid to write for a living. It’s a sad, sad day in NBA history if this all blows up Monday. Over S&T’s and a MLE that has been an unmitigated disaster for most teams foolish enough to use it. Just. Plain. Stupid.

    I had one out there idea, and obviously the players can’t out and out say this, but why not take the deal with every intention to strike and decertify the day after the finals conclude? I’m pretty sure every word of labor law would absolutely skewer the players if it were found out they intended to do this prior to signing the deal on the table, but if they’re smart (and that’s a HUGE if), they could go that route and keep it under the table for now. Any chance of getting a labor expert’s opinion on this before D-Day?

    Thanks Kurt.

    • Justin - Nov 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      It is Matt Moore, not Kurt

  4. mvpolamalu - Nov 12, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Nba popularity is forever damaged. It will never be the same. I have always been an nfl and mlb fan over nba, but i still had intrest in it. I think i am done as a hoops fan altogether now, i just cant see myself getting back into it next year

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      I lost interest when 3 of the 10 most talented players colluded to play together and, despite not understanding how to play as a team, managed to make it to the finals their first year together. We can’t have this happening again. Otherwise, it’s the two cities with tons of models and great winter weather playing each other in the finals, year after year after year after….

  5. trbowman - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    “You may be saying “I knew this for months!” or something similarly cynical, but no one knew.”

    I have expected it for over a year now.

    Go owners.

    • stevenfbrackett - Nov 12, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      We’ve all known. The owners made no secret that they were planning a lockout and would be just fine with it lasting the whole season. They did it all last season. And the players made no secret that they didn’t care all that much if they did.

      And, no, I am not going to miss them because I got fed up with the NBA long before this. I watch lower level games – where players actually play the whole game instead of taking quarters off while still on the court, play defense, play as a team and try to follow the rules. When NBA teams start doing this on a consistent basis instead of by accident, then I’ll consider going back.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      Go useful idiots for the rich and powerful.

  6. trbowman - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Don’t you have a game against the Redskins to be worried about right now, Matt?

  7. rreducla1 - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Each side’s going to die in this, everyone’s going to lose.


    Maybe, but not necessarily. I would guess that more than 1/2 of NBPA is ready to sign, and I think Hunter is just looking for a couple of tweaks, so it will in some ways be up to Stern and how he deals with the superhawks, some of whom would undoubtedly prefer to cancel the season.

    Stern knows, as many of the comments at this site show, that a lot of fans are uninformed enough to buy the “competitive balance” crap, although anyone who understands the league, the game, and the league’s history in specific terms can easily see the flaws in that argument, and they have been exposed both here and by numerous analysts of the game at other sites.

    You add that to the owners’ structural advantages, both financially and in the media, the LeBron factor and the usual silly “the players are spoiled and if they don’t like it they can work elsewhere” stuff that pollutes the discussion in any sports labor dispute, the owners have a strong hand. While Stern has overplayed it at times, he has mostly played it pretty well.

    So if I were the players, I would sign, try to get an opt-out, and then start making long-term plans for the next CBA.

    So, cheer up, Mr. Moore. You may be back to bashing Kobe sooner than you think.

  8. mikeewright7 - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM


  9. eaglessuperfan - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    This is one of the best posts I have read on the entire family of Talk sites. Very well thought out. Wow am I depressed now!

  10. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    this is gonna be painful once the nfl is in the off-season. really this sucks already but it’s gonna suck a lot worse

  11. stropcity - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    anyone happy to see the negotiation at this point, a point that threatens the season, can’t be a real hoop fan. if you’re happy the season is on the verge of cancellation, why are you even reading NBA coverage?

    • berto55 - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      I’m a fan, but ready for them to miss the season in an effort to get a better deal where every team has a chance. I live in a big market and still think it’s hilarious that these guys can’t understand that it is not 32 businesses, it is one giant business. By the way, I thought all these guys were going to play in Europe…..guess they called that bluff. All you geniuses were talking about how they would just play there, remember?

      • stropcity - Nov 12, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        I could be wrong, but I think a real fan would know there are 30 teams, not 32. LOL. But i get your point, and you’re right.

        Yeah, the Europe thing isn’t what everyone thinks it is. Racial slurs, batteris and other dangerous objects hurled onto the floor during games, food, culture…..

      • berto55 - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:26 PM

        Yeah, you got me….with all the expanding and contracting, I get confused (plus I follow three sports, so hard to keep track). Anyway, the moving and these teams basically giving away players because they can’t afford them (New Orleans) proves that this system doesn’t work. NBA has probably never been this popular and ALL of these franchises should be rolling in dough, but they’re not because of this system. Plus, no man is worth $14 Million a year. The guy that makes that should be magically curing cancer.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:21 PM

      Haters gonna hate.

      • berto55 - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:27 PM

        What does this mean? I don’t get it.

    • txnative61 - Nov 13, 2011 at 2:19 AM

      I’m not a true “hoop” fan, and this is the first coverage I’ve read since the finals, which I found exciting because of the quality of team play, and reasonably equitable officiating. I would have liked for the NBA to further cultivate my interest by arriving at some equitable compromise, as the NFL did. I am not without other interests however, and definitely no shortage of candidates for my sports dollars. Maybe I’ll get interested again, if they can show they appreciate my money.

  12. j0esixpack - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Attention – NBA players and NBA owners.

    I’m the guy you want to be listening to right now. I’m your advertising dollar.

    I’m J0esixpack and you’re about to pull the plug on the NBA season and I and an alarmingly large number of people DON’T CARE.

    The NBA is approaching NHL status in case you didn’t notice.

    Between college and pro football and the holidays coming up now on top of work,I’ve got enough sports to occupy my time now. In January we’ll have the playoffs and bowl games, by February we’ll have the Super Bowl and be beginning to focus on Baseball, and then the football offseason begins again as the baseball season heats up. And don’t worry about the younger crowd – they’re happy with their “Extreme Sports” to fill the gap you’re leaving.

    So sit back, take a year off – and be sure to keep paying your employees to serve as your penance in the eyes of the working people who effectively pay all your salaries for this idiotic move by both sides to let the NBA continue its slide to sports irrelevancy.

    Either that or come to your senses, compromise, reach an agreement and try to salvage what you can of your season and your sport.

    • derekjetersmansion - Nov 12, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      TV contracts pay their salaries, too, if it’s anything like the NFL.

      • j0esixpack - Nov 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        TV Contracts are based on ratings.

        If they lose their base of viewers, they lose revenue. And they WILL lose fans by taking a year off – the players know it, the owners know it, and the sponsors know it.

  13. briguy5 - Nov 12, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    We see these “now or never” deadlines just about every single week, why should Monday be any different? Considering it’s still November there’s absolutely no real reason to think that the ENTIRE season is lost if they don’t make a deal this Monday.

  14. gunner1970 - Nov 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    “Monday’s probably it for the 2011-2012 NBA season”

    Thank God! This will be the best winter ever!

  15. ramblingalb - Nov 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Every single post is over dramatic and sensationalized, so this one fits right in. I think I’ve read at least a few dozen times that if X does not happen, the season is a lost cause. And yet, they just keep writing it.

  16. bigrele - Nov 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    GOOD! I’m so glad to hear the players/union rejected dictator Stern & his incompetent lackey owners ultimatum, excellent! Stand up for what you believe & don’t allow some jakked up pathetic imbecile owners & their 20 million puppet Stern dictate to you what you are going to accept! ESPECIALLY when its suppose to be a “collective BARGAINING agreement”, a NEGOTIATION! I truly hope this results in decertification & ends up going to court & the players end up winning or at best get whats fair in this process; bottom line is fans do not go to & fill up arenas to see some fat-ass owner sitting in a pressbox or luxury suite, they go because they love the game & to see the superstars who MADE the damn game what it is today. David Stern did NOT make the NBA the big money making machine it is today, it was done off the backs of NBA legends such as Kareem, Magic, Bird, Dr J & Michael Jordan! Yes I’ll give Stern some credit for managing the aspects a commissioner has to do to maintain good order in the league & what not but he is not overlord dictator who’s every word is law & knows whats best for the game, he’s doing only what his fool ass mismanaging jackass owners want him to do & that’s to receive a bailout from the players end of the money pot to make up for their incompetence. Also for those same STUPID ass idiotic posters on here who continue to post the same tired ass BS that I’ve read since day one about: “nowhere does an employee dictates or negotiate his salary to his employer blah blah blah BS, STFU & get a clue you dumbass idiotic imbeciles! YOU ARE SO STUPID! Stop trying to compare YOUR peon ass daily wages to that of those who make millions & billions, there is NO COMPARISON whatsoever nor does your existence at your job equal shared profit! You MAKE someone profit BUT know that you ARE expendable & can be replaced, nor does your stay or talents make a beneficial profit for you & your employer, you can be replaced easily; however in the NBA these owners are dependent on these athletes talents to fill the arenas & they are in a SHARED business venture AND are not expendable which is why these incompetent owners sign them to ridiculous amounts of money, HELLO?!!!! Furthermore if these players were/are so selfish, expendable & so on then why have the owners & the league not opened the arenas & filled them with strike players? Wanna know why? Cause they cannot be replaced nor would anyone waste their time filling arenas for Joe Schmoe offf the street NOR would anyone waste their time watching the garbage from home, in other words there would be bad ratings and no attendance. Finally if the players had no leg to stand on then why did the league file the suit to the NLRB to try & stop decertification? Hmmm…..I wonder, maybe cause they know they got a good chance to win in court, oh and one final thing as well; for those that continue to post that same tired ole BS you keep coming back about “not going to miss the NBA & let them go & who cares, it sucks & so on. If that’s the case then STFU & stop posting on here every fukkin day then! Go away! Fukk off! Get a fukkin life already! If you don’t give a sh!t about the NBA or the so-called greedy players then why do you KEEP posting that same tired ass line you useless fat-azz trolls?!

  17. rajbais - Nov 12, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks a lot NBA players!!!!

    If they’re only saying 50-50, you take it!!!!!

    Now you all blew it!!!!

    • goforthanddie - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:33 PM

      “They all” haven’t blown jack. I still want to see every NBA player vote, I bet 50/50 is very easily passed.

  18. kilo0986 - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    If it does end up being cancelled it will be very depressing. But the mavs will be champions 2 years running AND another year lebron doesnt get a ring!

    • goforthanddie - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:35 PM

      Yeah, but we’ll still get tons of stories about how great he is and how his sac sweat is the nectar of the gods.

      • jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:24 PM

        We still get idiotic posts making fun of one of the best basketball players of our time just because he has the audacity to take advantage of today’s commercial culture.

      • goforthanddie - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:35 AM

        jimeejohnson: I’ve never given baby leb sh!t for leaving CLE, nor would I. I have, and will continue to mock his increasing arrogance/stupidity and pray for continued failure on the court. And would you like a sweat refill?

  19. danielcp0303 - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    If the owners had run their teams better for the past 10 years, we wouldn’t be at this point. No matter what deal they end up making, some owners need to sell their teams. Or even take away some teams from the league. Stop giving John Salmons 39 million dollars. If they aren’t going to hold themselves responsible for the mess they’ve made, maybe they need a full calender season off to think about how they can better the league.

    • goforthanddie - Nov 12, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      The owners KNOW they fscked up last time, that’s why they’re holding firm, so they can get it right.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM

        They are holding firm, but they aren’t getting it right. They want the teams that do well to give more money to BAD owners and franchises. It’s not revenue sharing, it’s not addressing the problem. Players will still be able to hop to any team they want, and now they can do it sooner. Giving the team they leave nothing, at least the Cavs got something back no matter how little it was. You’ll probably see star players form a big three…then when that contract runs out, they’ll go somewhere else and try it. Fix the league, don’t just hold out for BRI and winning the PR battle.

      • goforthanddie - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM

        1-What’s wrong with a player fulfilling his contract and deciding he wants to play elsewhere? Aren’t you allowed to start a new job any time you wish?
        2-Owners owe players nothing but paychecks. Players owe teams nothing except earning said checks. When you quit McDs for Pizza Hut, does the Hut owe Ronald a fry cook and a cashier to be named later? leb owed Cleveland better than he gave them, but he didn’t owe it to anybody to stick around.
        3-Of course some players will want to form alleged superteams. That’s why owners want cap certainty and minimal exceptions, to prevent that as much as possible.
        4-Rev sharing: It’s not hard to understand: It takes TWO teams to play a game/generate revenue. Are Lakers fans filling their arena to watch scrimmages? No.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:58 PM


        I’ll address each number

        1.Nothing is wrong with a player wanting to leave, but a team shouldn’t be penalized if they draft a franchise player and he leaves. They need to figure out a way to keep stars on their teams. Doing that means building good teams around great players, hard to do when “small market owners” can’t/won’t spend money.

        2. I never said anything about having to owe players or owners anything. The owner made a bad deal and some of them have given up any chance of wanting to win. Like the Judge told Matt Damon, the owners should be saying “for that, I owe”.

        3. Nothing in the deal prevents it from happening, if anything they are helping it. Letting small market owners get out from under the contracts of “star” players and letting them leave. Now their contracts will be smaller and less money, so you’ll see all the well run teams snatch them up forming “big three” teams. The league needs to find a way to get more parody. I’m not against great teams, but there should be more than 4 or 5 teams that have a legit chance to win. Bad contracts will continue as well just to keep up the illusion of competing.

        4. I bet the Lakers fans aren’t filling up the Staples Center to watch the Bobcats play. Which speaks to bad ownership poorly run franchises. I don’t have all the answers of how to fix it, but the current offer doesn’t do it.

  20. jackrabbit56 - Nov 12, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I’m from Glens Falls, NY hometown of BYU standout and Sacremento King-to-be Jimmer Fredette. I guess he picked a bad year to graduate from college. I can’t help but feel for him and the other 2011 draftees who were thisclose to fulfilling their dream of playing in the NBA. I know the current players would take the tack of saying that their stand is as much for this draft class and all future NBAers as it is for themselves, but still, it’s a classic case of so close, and yet so far.

  21. denverdude7 - Nov 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    “The 2011-2012 NBA season is really, actually going to be cancelled.” – Matt Moore

    YES !!!!!!!

    As a Cavaliers fan, I am happy the owners are finally showing some backbone and taking steps to put a stop to the crap Bron-Bron pulled. It’s too late for Cleveland, but, maybe it will help some other team in the future.

    I have no problem with Bron-Bron playing out his contract and moving on to Miami. He had every right to do so. I do have a problem with Bron-Bron putting himself above the game by delaying his “Decision” until the last possible moment thereby ensuring Cleveland would have no chance to compete for free agents or fielding any semblance of a competitive team.

    Bron-Bron’s actions showed the mindset of these overpaid, classless, egomaniacal, tattooed, bling bearers. Bron-Bron may be a great basketball player but is just a little boy as far as maturity.

    Here’s to hoping that much more than just one season is cancelled.

  22. jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    The ongoing stalemate mirrors the state of politics in our declining empire. Get it done or fail. Society seems more polarized than ever, and that is insane given the social history of America. Maybe the end-of-days IS coming… yeah, right.

  23. charger383 - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    They have killed the goose that laid golden eggs.
    I think pro basketball as it was is dead.
    Wonder what the college players who thought they would be NBA stars are thinking? Hope they went to class.

  24. lgwelsh1 - Nov 13, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    The nation is in a middle of a recession and these millionaire owners and players are bitching about making more money….REALLY?

    The damage has already been done, the public is fed up with all of you.

  25. poorlittlepinkus - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Gotta feel for Orlando though. With Howard probably out the door, a canceled season means the Magic won’t even have the ability to trade him for some value. Plus, Orlando has the all-star game this year.
    So sad.

    • berto55 - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM

      Actually, this scenario might help Orlando IMO. It’s not like this year is going to count towards his contract and the longer he is in Orlando and part of the organization, the harder it will be for him to leave. I am a Bulls fan and would love to see him here (amnesty Boozer, trade Noah and/or Deng and pieces), but don’t think it’s going to happen. I also cannot for the life of me figure out why they couldn’t win more….it’s not like he had the Timberwolves around him, he had some quality players.

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