With the prospect of building off of an incredible regular season and post-season, Commissioner David Stern must devise a plan to bring owners and players closer together. The stubbornness of the two sides remains of foremost concern because the entire 2011-2012 season, as well as the NBA’s long-term well-being, hangs in the balance.
The issue has been the division of the league’s sizeable profits. Last year, players collected 57 percent of league revenues and they have offered to give up $500 million over the next five years, bringing their share down to 54.3 percent.
Unfortunately, that is a far cry from the 50-50 split the league proposes, and even further from the 55-45 division the owners want – with the players on the short end of the stick, of course. (Ironically, during the last lockout thirteen years ago, it was the owners who proposed the deal that had been in place until just days ago.)
Basketball analysts have long suggested that the NBA is a league that has more than enough money to go around, making the distribution of it the only obstacle in the way of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The players essentially agree, but the league has stated that 22 of the 30 teams in the NBA lost money last year. Yet these same owners have been throwing around lucrative contracts to every player who will listen, even mediocre players who can never live up to the inflated expectations placed on them.
Put simply, the players have every right to be upset with the current owners’ proposal. The players offer to give up a half-billion dollars, owners want players to forego nearly twice that amount, even though the existing deal was the owners’ own proposal in the last negotiations.
The upcoming season could potentially be one of the most productive years for the NBA in some time. But neither this nor the prospect of depriving fans of a season seems motivation enough to get a deal done. With both sides so committed to the sport that they have decided to go on vacation, basketball fans should do the same.
It seems like a slam-dunk to me.