It’s Friday September 23, 2011 and the NBA has announced that training camp has been postponed and 43 preseason games will be cancelled. What’s next….Regular season games? I thought that “Black Friday” was 63 days away?!?! No labor deal, no training camp, cancelled preseason games… “Black Friday” came early my friends!
NBA camps were to open on October 3. After failing to reach a collective bargaining agreement with its players, the league was force to begin the cancellations. Is this a surprise to anyone? Did you think that the owners would give in to the players? What about the players? Were you naive to think that the players were going to blink prematurely?
How did we get here?
First of all, team owners want players to relinquish the 57-43 percent revenue sharing split that favors the players. Both parties claimed that they scaled down the difference of the split yet, they are still 500 million dollars away from an agreement. What’s that all about? Owners of small markets want some assurance that they can keep their franchise players and not lose them to teams in bigger markets through free agency… a la LeBron James and “The Decision” of 2010. The NBA also wants to change the length of guaranteed contracts from 5-6 years to 3-4 years.
NBA players have some leverage by having the option to play overseas as foreign leagues are eager to sign them. These options could potentially cost each NBA team millions of dollars in ticket revenue and refund promises if regular season games are cancelled.
The NFL took care of business ending the lockout before it’s season began. This has put a tremendous amount of pressure on NBA Commissioner David Stern and Players Union leader Billy Hunter to get this lockout resolved as soon as possible. At this rate, we might be looking at 1998 all over again when the league was forced to play a shortened, 50 game season season. Hopefully history won’t repeat itself. Rest assured, the sequel will be a box office flop!
By Keith Madyun