The NBA could still start on time, but would require cooperation and concession from owners and players. In short, basketball may never be played again
The NBA has been locked out since July and efforts to resolve the labor dispute and move forward with the season have been me with mixed reviews. Some have taken umbrage with the lackadaisical nature of the talks between owners and players, while others have just wept openly over the loss of their beloved basketball. Today should have been the first day of training camp, but that, along with the first week of the preseason, has already been canceled. Doing little to nothing about alleviating fans’ fears, David Stern came out last week and delivered an ultimatum to both sides: Figure it out by this weekend, or I’ll cancel the season. Well, that didn’t happen and the owners and players even took Sunday off with the Commissioner’s threat still on the table, so it’s good to know that nobody takes Stern seriously and it’s not just the fans.
The sides returned Monday in small groups after taking a day off following talks Friday and Saturday. The weekend passed without the “enormous consequences” commissioner David Stern warned of without significant progress toward a new labor deal. But they would likely come this week without an agreement.
Now Stern sounds like the parent who counts to three to try and make their child behave without having any intention of following through with the threatened punishment. Do you know what that kid does the next time the parent starts counting? They keep acting out and doing whatever it is they’re doing because they have no fear. David Stern is the ineffectual parent of the NBA and the owners and players are two squabbling siblings who hate each others’ faces. But they talked, so maybe there was some sign of progress.
Nearly all the talk on Saturday during a seven-hour meeting, the longest of the lockout, was focused on the salary-cap system. Stern indicated afterward there was a little progress on that, but the sides are still far apart on the split of revenues, with Stern saying there is a “pretty broad gap on both.”
Union executive director Billy Hunter said owners are still calling for the players’ guarantee of revenue to drop to 46 percent after they were guaranteed 57 percent in the previous deal. But he said he assumed it would be possible to start the season on time if the sides agreed to a deal by the middle of the week.
Just for a point of reference, the average American works an 8-hour work day. At 7 hours, the NBA lockout meetings are not even a full day of work, even at their longest. If that doesn’t give you a sinking feeling of despair over the fate of the NBA season, the fact that they are still arguing over the same major point and are still separated by “a pretty broad gap,” can’t do anything to make you feel better. But there is hope, as Billy Hunter said, the NBA season can still be salvaged if they come up with a plan by the middle of this week. That just means that they have to find some common ground in the next two days on the issues they have been arguing about for the last two years. Hope you NBA fans like hockey…