Over the past few months the NBA has been in a labor debacle of their own, way worse than the NFL impasse could have ever imagined being. This seems like one of the worst lockouts of our time, greater than the one that limited the 1998 season to just a 50 game stint.
I know its pretty early, but people are already talking about losing games. When you take a listen to the media around you, their take on the lockout is not an optimistic one. Kevin Love recently came out with this quote for ESPN when talking about the owners most recent proposal.
“I want to play basketball,” Love said. “I want us — the players — to sign a great deal. I want us to make a compromise with the owners but not sign what they’re proposing. We’ll play hardball if we have to. I want there to be an NBA season but it’s also apparent that we’re going to miss games.”
As you can see that’s not a very optimistic quote. With the season starting up soon and training camp and pre season activities sitting on the horizon, it doesn’t look like we’ll have much of an NBA season this year. That would be a tragedy considering how prosperous the NBA was last season. Now everyone is apparently losing money and no one is budging from their stance to compromise.
The NBA players have found their “back up” plan by saying that they’ll play overseas. They were recently approved by FIBA in late July to have the ability to go play overseas since the NBA is locked out. Only 47 days into the lockout there are 21 players who have reportedly signed contracts with teams overseas with Deron Williams being the biggest name. There are many other players, who are bigger names than Williams, who have stated that they’ve considered playing overseas.
Many people believe that those players have the upper hand and will somehow push the owners to try and get a deal done. I can assure you that the owners are not worried at all about these overseas leagues taking their players. They’ve got to come back eventually for many reasons.
The first reason is that FIBA cleared them to be able to play overseas, but they must return when the end of the ensuing lockout materializes itself. They aren’t allowed to stay overseas at any moment past that. Therefore many owners aren’t worried about these players going overseas. They have to come back anyway, so its not going to make them rush to get a deal done any faster. If anything it will vex the owners and stir up a new problem between the NBA and NBPA. At the end of the day it solves absolutley nothing.
Another reason is because the NBA is where these players bread is buttered. Deron Williams will make about 200 k a month in Turkey. His contract is not worth as much as his NBA contract is worth right now, so it can’t be about the money. Ron Artest will make about 2,500 in England where he has signed this offseason; I saw a nugget via NBC sports probasketballtalk that Ron Artest would make that every minute in the NBA. There is a lot of money that could be left on the table if some of these players don’t return. They know that, the NBA knows that, the NBPA knows that, so lets get a deal done. Stop holding the fans hostage through these little games you guys are playing. Most of you are probably making more money than I will see in my life. Can you at least play ball for it?
Most of these players aren’t even free agents this season, so its not like the NBA is risking having any stars not returning. The NBA isn’t worried about NeNe or Marc Gasol leaving. Those aren’t really marquee names for them. David West isn’t going to make much of a difference for the marketability of the league.
So how about it guys? Lets all just sit down, talk this thing through, come up with reasonable terms for each other to prosper and make some money. Then we can all get back to doing what we love to do. You guys can play, I can watch, I can write about actual basketball for once, and I won’t have to watch all of this Euro Ball either. No offense to Euro ball lovers but there is nothing like the NBA.
I miss it, and I need it back in my life. Please, don’t do me wrong NBA.