Lockout City, Part 2
June 30, 2011 2 Comments
By now everyone and their second cousin knows about the labor situations in both the NFL and NBA. The NFL has been mired in a lockout for 110 days now (although ESPN has made it feel like 110,000 days) and the NBA will most likely be in a lockout by this weekend. Barney is here to breakdown the talks and give you every and all update his trusted sources on the “inside” have given him. *Editor’s Note: Due to length, and the attention span of most of our readers, this post has been broken down into two parts. Part 1: NFL, Part 2: NBA*
Now on to the No Balls Association. Excuse me, NBA. National Basketball Association. Right. Well it seems as though they are headed down the same path as the NFL. Today is deadline day. I’m surprised ESPN doesn’t have a little clock on the bottom of the screen counting down the minutes, seconds, and microseconds until the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at midnight. In fact, they just might. I haven’t tuned into SportsCenter today. Anyways, the state of the NBA is almost comical. Apparently, the two sides are about as far apart on every major issue on the table as possible. We are talking Israel vs. Palestine far apart. China vs. free speech far apart. Mel Gibson vs. the Jews far apart. If someone was able to tape the negotiations that are currently taking place, it could be made into a surefire Hollywood comedy. In fact, I don’t know why the NBA thought of the idea themselves. It could easily put money into the owners pockets until the lockout ends. I mean imagine the comic value of what is taking place right now in New York.
In the starring role, David Stern, who by all means is a great commissioner but seems like such a joke at the same time. In fact it was the always poetic Stern who quipped the other day, “The one thing we don’t want is a lockout.” No shit, Dave. On the other side of the table is Billy Hunter, a former wide receiver for Syracuse University (do it, ‘Cuse!), who used to prosecute Black Panthers. Throw in a support cast that includes Adam Silver, the legendary NBA Deputy Commissioner and ten-time, uncontested winner of the prestigious “Sports Executive with Biggest Ears” award, and you have reached a ‘Very’ on the always accurate ‘1 to Very’ comedy scale. Maybe even Allen Iversen (excuse me, Iverson) will fly in from Turkey with a tatted-up entourage of Turkish “ballers” to simply add to the comedy. Anyways, on to the issues. Or at least the major ones. Because at this point the NBA has more issues than Charlie Sheen.
The owners want to impose a “flex” cap, in which team salaries cannot exceed $62 million except to sign their own players to contracts. What that essentially is is a hard cap. Why the NBA is trying to trick the Players Association by calling it a “flex” cap is beyond me. Maybe they think there players are really that dumb. Which most of them are. But that’s why they have guys like Billy Hunter negotiate and not Gilbert Arenas. Speaking of players negotiating, how funny would that scene be? It would end with the players and executives passing around blunts and laughing about topics ranging from Ron Artest’s name change to Tony Parker’s rap album, after which David Stern would emerge from a smoke-filled room and announce a deal that made absolutely no sense. Ah, the possibilities. But, once again, I digress. In short, the players are rejecting this “flex”/hard cap, and instead proposing an open-ended salary structure that would enable teams to spend more than the salary cap. Once again, the two sides are as far apart as North Korea and basic human rights.
Other contentious issues include the dividing up of league income, or the income split, a pretty important thing in any sports league. The owners want a 50-50 split of the basketball-related income, which includes ticket sales from all games, preseason included, and television rights. The players have countered by saying they want to keep the system that is in place, in which the players get a 57 percent share of all basketball revenues. Again, far apart. Staying on the topic of money, owners are proposing to reduce salaries by $8 billion over the next 10 years, although they have said that player compensation and benefits will not dip below $2 billion. The players association’s counter to that idea was a five-year proposal rather than a 10 year deal, which Stern described as “modest.” Modest? What is that supposed to mean? Ladies and gentleman, I give you David Stern.
So there you have at. As you can see, the NBA is probably headed for a lengthy lockout. Whether it will be as bad as the shortened 1998-99 season, in which 32 games were cancelled, remains to be seen. At this point though, we may be better off letting Stern and the players light up and talk it out. Because things don’t seem to be going anywhere quickly. And the most tragic thing about all of this? The Las Vegas summer league has been cancelled. Mourn my basketball friends, mourn. Until next time.
Some information used in this article was taken from http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2011/06/nba_owners_players_far_apart_o.html