Throughout the last week, a deal on the NBA side has seemed unreachable. Both sides have been deeply embeded in their positions as far as the bargaining agreement goes and neither side is willing to budge anymore.
Last week, the meetings with mediator George Cohen ended abruptly after over 24 hours of sitting down together and meeting in an attempt to get a deal done. David Stern had to sit out of the final meeting in the 3 straight days because he was ill. It seemed like since the moment that was announced the talks just fell apart.
They had been negotiating the system and not the revenue for most of the time that they were in the meeting rooms. Both parties figured that if they could come up with that part of the agreement the BRI split would be easy to come upon. It turns out that they couldn’t agree on either really.
The owners of the NBA had a position that they refused to move from. They were negotiating with the preconditions of having a 50/50 split in the BRI. After that 50/50 split was insisted upon Billy Hunter told his players about what was said. Hunter went back to their meeting room and told his party and they came up with a solution. That solution was a 50-53 percent band for the players. The band would allow for the owners to get their 50 split if the NBA’s income wasn’t going up as it is projected to be and the players would get that 53 that they want if the income for the NBA does increase. Basically, the more money the NBA brings in the more money that the players get.
They offered that to the owners and they refused. A name that you will hear is Paul Allen. He was the head of the horse that refused that offer by the players. The owners were sturdy on their position. They told the players that there was no reason to meet if they were not taking the precondition. That is then when the meetings ended.
There were comments by owner Peter Holt that got many people agitated. Holt said that the point of this lockout, basically, was to provide a competive balance between the teams in the NBA. There is no way that putting a strain on money could possibly give a more competitve balance to this league. The competitive balance comes natrually from the lottery system, a combination of the way teams spend, and coaching.
There is so much evidence that proves that this isn’t true at all. The NBA will say that you’ve got a team like the Miami Heat that’ll spend over 300 million to put together a superstar team, and a team like the Sac-Town Kings who have a 41 million dollar payroll and have been at the bottom of the food chain for years now. A fairweather fan won’t know the difference and will say that’s true, but its completley false. Look at a team like the Chicago Bulls. They made it to the Conference Finals with one of the cheapest payrolls in the NBA. How about the Oklahoma City Thunder? The Bulls and the Thunder only used 113 Million dollars combined and made it all the way to the conference finals. Tom Haberstroh made had a must read article on competitive balance earlier today.
You notice that Stern did not sell the unfairness of payroll disparity by pitting the Orlando Magic against the Chicago Bulls. The Magic spent $110 million last season (the same as the Lakers) and the Bulls shelled out a lowly $55 million, or half as much as its Eastern conference foe. And the result? The poor Bulls won more games than any other team and reached the Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic? The nine-figure payroll bought them an embarrassing first-round exit.
This is a prime example of what it takes to be good in not only the NBA, but in any sport. You need coaching, you need great managing, you need drafting. I don’t see the Yankees or the Phillies in the World series right now. My Eagles are 2-4 at the bottom of the NFC East after spending a boat load of money on a lot of talent. Sports takes togetherness and chemistry into play more than money does often times; that is a point that the owners aren’t making.
Billy Hunter stated, on the BS Report, that the owners were ready to break the Union. They want to make a salary cap structure that was similar to the way that Hockey is now. Hockey has the hardest cap in all of sports. Hunter also stated that some of the owners showed a willingness to get a deal done. This was stated in his post meeting press conference after last weeks talks broke apart. He said that Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss, James Dolan, and Micky Arison were ready to get the deal done. Notice, those are some of the larger market teams in the league.
He even stated that Cuban pitched an idea of a structure with no salary cap. The NBA later refuted this claim, however I believe it. It makes sense for Cuban and a few others to want that type of deal.
I talked to Adam Mcginnis of Truehoop Network blog Truth About It. He told me that the owners have been planning this for years and following the NHL’s blueprint. I have to say I totally agree with him. The players have been making concession after concession even though they are the main producers of the league. Without them there is no basketball, and because of that they deserve more than a down the middle split. The owners have been asking for more and more each time they meet. That’s not how a negotiation is supposed to be.
Both sides are meeting today in an effort to get a deal done. Sources say that the owners have dropped the precondition of the 50/50 split and are willing to talk to the NBPA. There has been reported progress from out of the meeting rooms by many NBA writers on twitter as they inch closer and closer to an agreement. NBA writer Brian Mahoney of Yahoo.com has something on it here. As progress is made it will be updated I’m sure.
I will also keep everyone up to date via my twitter feed. Follow me @Mike_Nasty11.