Some modern-day athletes are used to getting locked up, but now they have to deal with getting locked out thanks to the NBA shutting down the league for the time being. It didn’t really come as a surprise to millions of basketball fans after billionaire owners and millionaire players had been airing their dirty laundry in public for the last several months, but nothing was actually being done about it.
The lockout became official just after the clock struck 10 on June 30 and this could be a long one as there’s not really any urgency to get things done right now. Two months could fly by and there would still be time to hold training camps and get the season underway. But until that sense of urgency strikes the owners and/or players, don’t expect much to happen in the way of a new collective bargaining agreement.
The owners are looking for a new 10-year deal as they believe the economic structure in the league has broken down and a stricter salary cap needs to be introduced to keep things in order. But this comes after signing players to years of ridiculous salaries in the past. Owners are also looking for a higher percentage of basketball-related revenue as well as shorter guaranteed contracts. However, the players association isn’t willing to take a step backwards when it comes to money. The players are getting 57 per cent of revenue at the moment.
So while the games may be off the fight’s still on as the two sides will try to work out a deal if at all possible. But the stakes probably won’t get higher until the players start missing their paychecks and the owners are stuck with empty arenas. Until then, there’s not much incentive on either side to really dig in their heels and get something done.
The free agency season, which was to open on July 1 has been put on hold and all player movement will be ceased until a deal’s reached. In addition all player photos and information has been taken off of the league’s and clubs’ websites as if they don’t exist until this thing gets settled.
The last time the league went through a work stoppage was back in the 1998-99 season and like then this matter will eventually get solved. But at who’s cost? It’s likely that when the two sides kiss and make up it’ll be the fans who end up getting the shaft as ticket prices will almost certainly rise as the league can’t get by now on its yearly revenue of about $4 billion.
It’s believed that more negotiations will be held in the next couple of weeks and it’s possible they might just start from square one again, but there’s a huge gap in financial numbers that needs to be bridged and that’s not going to happen overnight. The league is serious though as the plug has been pulled while it was on a roll.
This past season was one of the best in recent memory and television ratings were strong, especially during the six-game final series between Miami and Dallas. But despite the pros there were quite a few cons as the league claimed that 22 of its 30 franchises lost money.
The money to succeed is obviously there, it’s just that nobody knows where the scales should be positioned so there’s an equal balance for the owners and players to both make money. But it’s the fans who will have the final say when they decide if they should continue spending their hard-earned cash to line the pockets of NBA owners and players following the lockout.