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Will regular-season games be the NBA lockout’s next casualty? Fan opinion
On Tuesday, October 4, just moments after concluding a meeting with representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the NBA announced that the 2011 NBA preseason had been canceled. The preseason is the latest casualty of the NBA lockout, and regular-season games may not be far behind.
"By Monday, we will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the season," NBA Commissioner David Stern said after Tuesday's meeting.
Since Stern made that statement, there have been no formal bargaining sessions between the two parties and no further meetings have been formally scheduled.
On Thursday, October 6, Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reported that the sides are likely to engage in some form of dialogue on Sunday and Monday in an attempt to strike a deal in time to avoid regular-season game cancellations. If this is true, that will give the NBA and NBPA just two days to do something that they have been unable to do over the past two years.
Tuesday's meeting fell apart when the players' union chose to decline an informal proposal of a 50/50 split of Basketball Related Income (BRI). Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com reports that "the players' most recent offer requested a 52.4 percent share of revenues in the first year of a six-year deal, rising gradually to 54 percent by Year 6 and averaging out to 53 percent."
Come Sunday or Monday, it is unlikely that the owners' informal offer of 50/50 would still be available. On October 6, Adrian Wojnawarski of Yahoo! Sports wrote "The NBA owners never wanted to go north of 48.5 percent for the players' share of BRI. … There hasn't been one source in ownership, in management, who believes the players will get that offer again—at least no time soon."
Even if the owners' informal offer of a 50/50 deal is still on the table, the two sides are still separated by three percentage points (on average). With the NBA being roughly a $4 billion a year industry, each percentage point represents approximately $40 million. Over the life of a six-year deal the economic gap between the NBA and NBPA is about $720 million. Figuring out how to split nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in less than two days will not be an easy task, especially when both sides have apparently drawn their proverbial "lines in the sand."
In a letter sent to all NBA players on October 5, NBPA President Derek Fisher(notes) of the Los Angeles Lakers and union Executive Director Billy Hunter updated their constituents on the events of the prior day and said, "Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused."
Even if the parties move from their respective positions and make progress on the BRI split, "there are literally 100 other issues which haven't even been addressed yet," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. "So there is a long negotiation ahead of us no matter what."
It is unlikely that dialogue on Sunday and Monday will afford the parties enough time to resolve all of the issues that need to be addressed.
As NBA fans, we all hope that the two parties can come to a deal in time for us to watch the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls tip off the 2011-2012 NBA Season on November 1. But as long as the two parties remain entrenched in their respective positions there is no possibility of that happening.
At some point, either the NBA or NBPA will have to take another step towards the other party. Unfortunately, it seems like that point will come sometime after regular-season games have already been canceled.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has more than 100 articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings on RandomNBAFan.com.
More on the NBA Lockout:
Information from ESPN.com's NBA to cancel games if no deal Monday; SI.com's With 'deadline' looming, NBA players' union must take action and No reason to think there'll be an NBA deal soon; SheridanHoops.com Lockout update: Remember this quote; and Yahoo! Sports' Garnett makes stand in NBA labor battle and Union letter: Players not backing down was used for this article.
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