Let's hope the 2010-11 season is the greatest in the history of the NBA. Yeah, that's the hope every year, but this fall might be a little more important. Why's that? Oh, just because it might be the last professional basketball we see for a while. No biggie.
Since the league's collective bargaining agreement ends after this season, an agreement must be reached in order to play in the fall of 2011. Basically, the owners don't like spending big money on great players, but the players love getting that money from the owners and don't want that to stop. That kind of puts them at odds. From FanHouse's Sam Amick:
An unofficial FanHouse poll of owners, coaches and involved agents returned an overwhelming sentiment that a lockout is inevitable, with one owner deeming it a "100 percent" certainty. The owners want to go the way of the NHL and its hard salary cap, although their plans are believed to include first-year salary rollbacks of approximately 30 percent that are even more extreme than the 24 percent implemented by the hockey league in 2005. As for the players, it sounds as if they may as well have told Stern to photocopy the current version of the CBA and throw a new signature on the bottom.
Oh, cool. No one really liked NBA basketball anyways, right? It's not like it's the best part of October through June or anything like that. Surely it's absence will go unnoticed and we can all use the time we would have devoted to basketball to learning new skills like crochet, macro photography and screenprinting. In fact, it'll be nice to have all that extra time.
Except not really. It would be bad. It's taken four years for the NHL to become hip again, after they cancelled their 2004-05 season. Not to mention there would be no basketball here, which would be so very sad. As usual, the blame for this stupid situation falls on Minnesota Timberwolves' president of basketball operations David Kahn.
There is more recent salt in this wound, too, as the funny money being doled out to free agents this summer has somehow managed to unify both camps even further. One source described the owners' current mood as "militant," while the players have grown even less willing to hear proclamations of relative poverty (Stern now says the projected losses are $370 million for last season) when players like Darko Milicic(notes) are signed to $20 million deals.
Of course. It's all fun and games to watch David Kahn duplicate every player on the Timberwolves roster, but then he has to go and sign Darko Milicic to a ludicrous contract that angers everybody at the negotiating table. Typical Kahn. Thanks for nothing, guy. Watch him go get yet another point guard. Oh. Too late.