The NBA and the NBA Player's Association took the weekend off from negotiating. And why not? It's not like there should be a sense of urgency about this continuing NBA lockout, right? (This is sarcasm ... promise.) The lockout is costing millions of dollars a day. And it's not just costing the NBA owners and the NBA players, but it's also costing the thousands of employees and businesses surrounding the league.
NBA games have now been canceled through Nov. 30, with NBA commissioner David Stern making it clear that a full 82-game schedule will not be played under any circumstances. The two sides walked away from each other early on Friday evening, unable to agree on the split of basketball revenue. None of this is news. Most of the folks reading this blog and following on Twitter (Deep Sixer) received this info on Friday night.
So where are we now?
Really close to a deal, even if it doesn't seem that way. The only issue, or massive hurdle actually, is that it seems the NBA owners will not be the ones stretching to turn this "almost" deal into a "done" deal. Maybe it doesn't matter that a deal is so close, because it'll only get done if the players concede further. The owners are prepared to wait for every last concession. And now that revenue has been lost, the deal on the table on Friday is quickly going to morph into something even worse for the players. Translation? We're either very close to seeing NBA basketball again, or this is going to go downhill quickly. Please take a few minutes to read this very insightful column by NBA.com's David Aldridge: Union has one choice. Here's the key graf from Aldridge's column:
"The players aren't going to get 52, or 51, or 50.5, or 50.000001, and if they hold out for those numbers, they're not going to have a season. You'd have to be crazy not to see that now, so it's this for the players: take the deal this week or next, or lose the season. If they are willing to die on principle, they wouldn't be the first. But they will die, in the metaphorical sense."
The NBA and the union haven't yet scheduled their next bargaining session, but look for them to be back together sometime this week.
As we wrote at the end of last week, so many of the system issues have been ironed out. It looks as if there will be an amnesty clause, a one-time opportunity for teams to waive an already-contracted player and not have his contract impact the books. It looks as if the grueling details of the luxury-tax system have been (to some degree) agreed upon. Other things, like contract lengths and the mid-level exception, have also found their place. Take a look at Sam Amick's piece on SI.com for an easy-to-digest version of the framework of the league's next CBA: Details.
A deal is there, almost all of it except the split of BRI. But the problem is the probability of concession has been slashed in half. The union is at 52, the NBA is at 50. And, from everything we're hearing, the NBA's absolute highest offer is a 50-50 split, and even that offer is slipping off the table as we speak. Instead of having a situation where both sides could eventually make the groundbreaking concession, we're faced with a situation where only the union could possibly concede these final percentage points. Either the union, the only group doing the conceding, makes this final leap, or bye bye NBA basketball this season.
Also, I know, I know, let me beat everybody to the punch:
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