Here's what happened -correction: what did not happen- in this boring offseason so far. I wanted you to pay attention to all of the infected sides while we are waiting for the huge Wednesday.
The NBA lockout has reached a point at which it has begun to negatively impact everyone from fans to players, and everyone in between. This is not just a problem that keeps the players off of the court. It also keeps literally thousands of people – trainers, stadium officials, management, coaches, etc., out of business. In fact, it even affects the tv networks. For example, without the Warriors playing basketball, direct TV San Francisco probably won’t bring in the same revenue, the same being true for local networks all over the country. If the NBA doesn’t resolve its issues soon, these problems will seemingly only spread to more people. Unfortunately, however, things aren’t looking good at the moment.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has already cancelled a batch of games, so we have already hit the point at which no games will be played before December 1st. There are rumors, however, that the league has built up a contingency plan that will still allow for a full, 82-game season despite this setback. If the lockout endures long enough to postpone more games, though, then the season – if, indeed, there is one – will officially have to be shortened to less than its full length. And, if this past weekend’s labor negotiations ended as bleakly as many seem to think they did, it would seem that this unfortunate situation is very likely.
The final hurdle that is keeping the NBA Players’ Association and the league from finalizing a new deal is BRI (Basketball Related Income), which essentially decides how league revenue will be split up between the owners and the players. The owners have been driving a hard line toward a 50/50 split, which would see the players giving up 7% from the last collective bargaining agreement. Now, however, David Stern has offered the players 51%, and has given them until this coming Wednesday the 9th to accept the offer – or else that number will drop dramatically.
While a 51/49 split would allow the players to save some measure of pride in not dropping all the way to 50/50, NBPA leader Derek Fisher has indicated that this offer is not acceptable to the Players’ Association. In fact, there are now strong rumors that many of the league’s most prominent players are pushing to decertify the union, which would essentially allow the players to sue the league, and would also, in effect, start the negotiating process over. Ultimately, it boils down to this: if the players can work out a deal by Wednesday, then the season may actually still be saved in its entirety. However, if not, we may lose an entire season – and everyone from players, to stadium concession workers, and everyone in the NBA business may lose a long year. At the end, the NBA will also lose some portion of its global reputation.